Group Behavior

14 November Group Behavior Article Summary Executing work as a team is a common practice these days. Teamwork assumes immense potential for conflict development which has very deleterious effect upon the work. In this article, (Phillips) has elaborated the nature of conflict in the teams, identified the forms of conflict and the way each form develops in a team, recognized the causes of the struggle of the team members with the conflict, elaborated the way a leader should manage the conflict and made certain recommendations for intervention for conflict resolution. Conflict in a team arises from the conflict of views of the team members. Successful management of the conflict makes the team stronger. Knowing the origin of a conflict helps a leader determine whether it is functional or dysfunctional. Functional conflicts are productive while the dysfunctional conflicts are disruptive. Common sources of conflict in the team are the limitation of resources and the values, attitudes, goals, roles, personalities, interdependency and interaction of the team members. Allan C. Amazon has identified two types of conflict, namely the cognitive conflict and the affective conflict. Amazon’s research suggests that both types of conflicts are necessarily present in any kind of group, with the cognitive conflict being productive and the affective conflict being disruptive. Cognitive conflicts lead to the personal growth of the team members, identification of a workable solution, increased integration and cohesiveness of the team members whereas the affective conflicts lead to unresolved problems, waste of energy, decline in the team’s morale and team division. Training of the team members in such core competencies as knowledge of conflict resolution methods, entrustment and cooperation are fundamental to the success of a team. The Monmouth University proposes a five-stage conflict management strategy. The five stages are awareness of the conflict resolution, training of conflict resolution, mediation, reinforcement workshops and program institutionalization. Conflict resolution requires a leader to remain impartial and promote mutual understanding among the team members. To help prevent the conflict from occurring, the leader should establish ground rules at the outset, develop team agreement on the way to resolve conflict, train the team members on communication skills, and focus on the team’s objectives. There are numerous reactive strategies that a leader may adopt to resolve the conflict. The leader can either adopt an authoritative style, a splitting differences approach, a sacrificial approach, a sidestepping or delaying approach, or a step-by-step approach. One element that is common in all these approaches is the fact that the leader gains the trust and the confidence of the followers and is able to convince them to follow hi/her instructions wholeheartedly. In the step-by-step approach, the leader establishes a conflict resolution environment, establish conflict as a problem for all and gain the members’ consent to resolve it, identify the causes of conflict and the possible solutions with mutual consensus of the members, implement the solution and see whether it has worked or not. If it doesn’t work, the leader should regain the consent of the members on a different solution and follow the remaining steps as such. Finally, Phillips reflects upon her purpose of doing this research and gives personal opinions about the adequate conflict management process.
Works Cited:
Phillips, Cynthia. “Managing Team Conflict by Cynthia Phillips.” The Center for Human
Systems. 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. .