Team Dynamics - Conflict Resolution Strategies
Iesha M. Wolfe
University of Phoenix
Team Dynamics - Conflict Resolution Strategies
People work in groups or teams everyday whether in their career, education, political organization, church, or any other social setting. Conflict while working in teams or groups is inevitable. When taking people of different backgrounds, personalities, moral, and ethical beliefs and putting them together in a group conflict whether negative or positive will arise. The key to achieving your team goals is to construct and conquer your goals with keeping the greater good of the team in mind. Conflict as it arises should be combated and abated through swift and thorough resolution techniques. When dealt with properly conflict resolution can give rise to a cohesive and productive team.
What Is Conflict?
Conflict as defined by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is a competitive or opposing action of incompatibles: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interest, or persons), Mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands. Simply put conflict is the disagreement and disharmony that occurs in groups when differences are expressed regarding ideas, methods, and/ or members (Engleberg, Wynn, and Schuttler, 2003). Conflict among teams or groups develops in many ways. In developing an effective team, members will generally experience the five stages of evolution: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. The storming and norming stages deal with the process of conflict (storming) and resolution (norming). During the storming stage, exact conflict has not yet been identified and therefore chaos, disorganization, and disputes are apparent. The Norming stage is where conflict is identified and dealt with and resolution strategies are put into action and productivity can begin (DeJanasz, Dowd, Schneider, 2002). What Causes Conflict?
Conflict arises from various sources in the team setting (Capozzoli, 1995). The most common causes of conflict are values, attitudes, needs, expectations, perceptions, resources, and personalities. As we are all raised with different values, morals come into play when the team issue deals directly or indirectly with ones values, morals, or ethics. Conflicting attitudes can bring about problems as two or more team members prove to have differing goals in mind. Individual needs can cause rifts within a team when they are not satisfied. The expectations of team members are not the same on how the goal will be met. We all have different perceptions of life situation and interpret them differently. The lack of resources needed to complete a task can cause conflict. Differing personalities play a major role in team conflict.
Types of Conflict
There are many types of conflict; some are beneficial while others are detrimental. All types of conflict fall into three major categories (Engleberg, Wynn, and Schuttler, 2003; Stewart, Manz, and Sims, 1999). Relationship-oriented conflict, also known as affective conflict, is brought about when team members experience interpersonal incompatibilities. Relationship conflict is usually detrimental as team members have different perceptions of communication and social skills. Whereas Task-oriented conflict, also referred to as cognitive conflict or procedural conflict, occurs when team members disagree about the task they are to perform. Task conflict is sometimes on the beneficial side as it surrounds the task at hand. The general consensus of task- oriented conflict involves how to carry out a task as opposed to personality issues. Substantive conflict deals with the ideas of the individual team members and how it relates to the group. According to Engleberg, Wynn, and Schuttler (2003), conflict can be further classified as constructive or destructive. Destructive conflict results from behaviors that that are hostile...
References: DeJanasz, S. C., Dowd, K. O., & Schneider, B. Z. (2002). Interpersonal Skills in Organizations. New York: McGraw- Hill. pp. 309- 329.
DeJanasz, S. C., Dowd, K. O., & Schneider, B. Z. (2002). Interpersonal Skills in Organizations. New York: McGraw- Hill. pp. 371- 393, 241- 259.
Engleberg, I., Wynn, D., & Schuttler, R., (2003). Working in Groups: Communication Principles and Strategies (3rd ed.) Boston: Houghton- Mifflin. pp. 146- 170.
Kreitner, R., & Kinicki, A., (2004). Organizational Behavior (6th ed.). New York: McGraw- Hill/Irwin. pp. 406- 441.
Parker, G., (2003). Cross- Functional Teams: Working with Allies, Enemies, and Other Strangers. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. pp. 170- 194.
Stewart, G., Manz, C., & Sims, H., (1999). Teamwork and Group Dynamics. New York: Wiley. pp. 70- 125.
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