CONFLICT - Process where one party thinks another party is negatively affecting them or anything they care about Transitions in Conflict Thought - Traditional view of conflict: it must be avoided as it is harmful o Consistent with attitudes about group behavior in 1930s and 1940s o Simple approach to looking at behavior of people o Suggest conflict was a dysfunctional outcome. Results from: Poor communication Lack of trust btn people Failure of managers to be responsive to the needs/aspirations of employees o Out of favor because it was realized: some conflict is inevitable - Interactionist view of conflict: positive and necessary for a group to perform effectively o Major contribution: recognizing that a minimal level of conflict can help a group be viable, creative and self-critical o Does not propose all conflicts are good o Task conflict: relates to the content and goals of work Relates positively to creativity and innovation only when all members share the same goals and have high levels of trust o Relationship conflict: interpersonal relationships. o Process conflict: how work gets done o Functional conflict – supports goals of the group and improves performance Low to moderate levels and low levels of task & process conflict respectively are functional in specific cases Low to moderate levels of task: stimulate discussion of ideas. o Dysfunctional conflict – hinders group performance Relationship conflict almost always dysfunctional because it increases personality clashes and decreases mutual understanding thus hinders completion of tasks. - Managed view of conflict: resolve naturally occurring conflicts productively. o Longer term studies show that all kinds of conflict reduce trust, respect and cohesion in groups o Negative effects of conflicts can be reduced by focusing on preparing people for conflicts, developing resolution strategies and facilitating open discussion o This view focuses more on productive conflict resolution Conflict Process 1. Potential Opposition/Incompatibility
a. Appearance of conditions that create opportunities for conflicts b. Need not lead directly to conflict but one of these conditions is necessary for conflict to surface c. Three general categories: communication, structure and personal variables i. Communication Represent opposing forces that arise from semantic difficulties, misunderstandings and “noise” in the channels of communication Potential for conflict increases when either too little or too much communication takes place ii. Structure Includes variables such as size, degree of specialization in the tasks assigned, member-goal compatibility, jurisdictional clarity and degree of dependence between groups Size &specialization stimulate conflict. The larger the group and the more specialized its activities – the greater the chances of conflict.
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