Conflict Resolution Strategies

Essay by baseballlover21University, Bachelor'sA, January 2009

download word file, 8 pages 4.3

Conflict Resolution StrategiesWhen society hears the word conflict it usually brings to mind something destructive but when we talk about conflict in the context of team dynamics it can be constructive as well as destructive. Whenever people unite to work as a team for anything more than a brief duration, some conflict is normal, and should be expected (Engleberg, Wynn & Schutter, 2003). Because of the inevitability of conflict, being able to recognize, address, and ultimately resolve it is vitally important, since unresolved conflict may have undesirable effects, including reduced morale, or increased turnover (De Janasz, Dowd & Schneider, 2001). Just as conflicts within team environments vary, so do methods for resolving it. In this paper, conflict, its effects, and some management and resolution strategies as they relate to team dynamics will be discussed. Understanding the various conflict resolution methods, including how and when to apply them, is of utmost importance.

In teams, different types of conflict call for different solutions. Conflict resolution is certainly not an area in which one size fits all.

Conflict may be classified as Substantive, Procedural, or Affective, depending upon that to which it relates. Substantive conflict refers to disagreement related to ideas or issues, while procedural conflict relates to disagreements about tasks, processes or methods to be used in pursuit of the team's goals (Engleberg, Wynn & Schutter, 2003). Procedural conflict may be beneficial, by promoting evaluation of the best course of action, and ensuring that all points of view are considered during the decision making process (Stuart, Sims, & Manz 1999). With affective conflict however, disagreement is more emotionally charged, relating to personalities, emotions and differing communication styles, making resolution more complex (Engleberg, Wynn & Schutter, 2003). Affective conflict is often destructive for teams, because it is relationship based, and may involve incompatibility...