Of interaction short of actual conflict will reduce

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of interaction, short of actual conflict, will reduce stereotyping and combat in-group thinking. But research has shown this approach to be naive and limited. For example, a study of ethnic majority (in-group) and ethnic minority (out-group) students from Germany, Belgium, and England revealed that contact did reduce prejudice. Specifically, contact over time resulted in a lower desire for
social distance and fewer negative emotions related to the out- group. The quality of contacts mattered too, especially regarding equal status, cooperation, and closeness. It wasn’t enough simply to encounter members of the out-group (to just be introduced, for example). However, prejudice also reduced contact. Those in the out- group were more reluctant to engage with or contact the in- group. Contact had no effect on reducing prejudice of the minority out-group toward the majority in-group. 32 One interpretation of these results is that contact matters, high- quality contact matters more, but both matter the most from the in-group’s perspective. Nevertheless, intergroup friendships are still desirable, as many studies document. 33 But they are readily overpowered by negative intergroup interactions. Thus the top priority for managers faced with intergroup conflict is to identify and root out specific negative linkages between or among groups. More specifically, focusing on the perceived security and quality of the interactions matters. If you and/or your managers can make the out-group feel there is nothing at stake (they are not being evaluated), they are more likely to feel secure and satisfied with the interaction. This reassurance can also reduce both groups’ prejudices about the other. We can achieve such benefits by sharing social interests or social events where the focus is not on work, particularly the out-group’s work. 34 Conflict Reduction Considering this evidence, managers are wise to note negative interactions between members and groups and consider options for reducing conflict. Several actions are recommended: Eliminate specific negative interactions (obvious enough). Conduct team building to reduce intra -group conflict and prepare for cross-functional teamwork. Encourage and facilitate friendships via social events (happy hours, sports leagues, and book clubs). Foster positive attitudes (empathy and compassion).
Avoid or neutralize negative gossip. Practice the above—be a role model. 35 TAKE-AWAY APPLICATION Handling Intergroup Conflict 1. Think of an intergroup conflict in your own life. Your example should include a description of a group, team, or department of which you are or were a member, as well as the nature of the conflict state (task or relationship). 2. Then describe how the conflict was handled. Was it resolved?

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