Strategies for Managing Conflict Among Teams in the Workplace

Topics: Conflict management, Conflict Pages: 3 (946 words) Published: March 25, 2007
Strategies for Managing Conflict Among Teams in the Workplace

Conflict is a disagreement that occurs in teams when there is a difference of opinions, values, or even perception. Conflict amongst teams is inevitable because every person is different. Each person in a team is unique and possesses a variety of intellectual, emotional, economic and social differences (DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider, 2001, Chap. 12). Conflict amongst a team can be positive or negative. Conflicts among teams in the workplace are not new. They have been around for centuries in many companies. What is new to the workplace and many companies is how they are choosing to resolve the conflicts. Conflict can be successfully faced and managed if teams recognize conflicts are normal and inevitable (Fleishman, 2000, p. 29). Team members today are using various strategies to manage the inevitable disagreements among themselves while still allowing room for individuality and creativity. When deciding how to manage a conflict we have to keep in mind the goal of the team. We also have to decide how important the disagreement is and its worth to reaching the ultimate goal. Once you remind yourself of the team's goal and have determined the disagreement's level of importance, research on conflict management has proposed five strategies to: avoiding, accommodating, compromising, competing and collaborating (Thomas, 1976, pp. 889-935). Deciding how and when to use each strategy becomes a personal preference. Based on the conflict at hand, each team member involved must decide the most appropriate strategy to managing the conflict presently "on the table". Avoiding

First strategy for managing conflict is avoiding. Avoiding can be when a team member chooses to ignore the conflict. They have decided the conflict is not of importance to them or it is not of importance to the team's goal. Avoidance can be fatal for a team. Avoiding a conflict does not necessarily mean it goes away. It...

References: DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider: "Conflict: Sources and Solutions," Interpersonal Skills in
Organizations, The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2001, Chapter 12.
Alfred Fleishman, "Going Back a Little Bit," St. Louis Business Journal, Jan. 3, 2000, p. 29.
Kenneth Thomas, "Conflict and Conflict Management," in Handbook of Industrial and
Organizational Psychology (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1976), pp.889-935.
Littlejohn, S. W., & Domenici, K. (2001). Engaging communication in conflict: Systematic
practice. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage, p. 181.
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