Feb 15 Assignment:
1. Read sections of text and website related to conflict
2. Meet as a team (during class time or other) and discuss the results of your Conflict Mode Inventory
a. What is your style (primary, secondary, least) and implications of that style.
b. Discuss implications of your constellation of styles if you were a permanent task group
c. Discuss utility of this instrument for OD regarding understanding conflict in teams and organizations (advantages & disadvantages)
3. Go around your team using the Sentence Completion worksheet.
a. How well would it work to “break the ice” in discussing beliefs and styles regarding conflict?
b. If you were a permanent task group, would this exercise help your working with each other (advantages & disadvantages)
4. Identify a case of conflict in an organization you are familiar with, and discuss:
a. What were its causes; how did it arise?
b. How was it handled? What efforts were made to resolve it?
c. How well did the efforts wor? Why or why not were they effective?
d. What would you recommend to have improved the resolution?
Conflict often has ugly connotations to people. As a result, we tend to avoid disagreements, confrontations, conflict, and attempt to bypass situations where it might arise. The result is that team members may not discover how their differences might complement each other, nor do they overcome conflict with clearer ideas of boundaries and increased trust and cohesion.
Conflict naturally emerges in nearly all groups. Sometimes this occurs during the jostling for position and influence during the "storming" stage of development, but can occur at any stage, such as when there are disagreements over goal definitions. Conflict grows out of differences over valued beliefs, and it can be mild, moderate or severe. Mild to moderate conflict can have a beneficial catalyzing effect on a team by bringing out issues that require discussion, acknowledging real differences, and preventing hidden agendas and subgrouping. Severe conflict can handicap a team, preoccupy group functioning, damage relationships, and seriously impair an organization.
- what are the sources of conflict?
- what are the types, levels and stages of conflict?
- is conflict related to certain stages of team development?
- when is conflict good or bad?
- what are some ways of using conflict to improve team functioning?
- what should teams know about conflict?
The following are important assumptions about conflict:
Team Stages & Conflict. The "Storming" stage of group and team work is often considered a stage of conflict and even fighting, when it is really a stage of development where people become more aware of their differences and attempt to use their influence to persuade each other. Conflict only occurs when such influence does not work, and influence behavior escalates. Review what the stages of team development are, with an emphasis on Storming:
- conflict is natural
- it highlights differences between people
- at low levels it is beneficial
- teams should develop healthy ways of viewing and using conflict
- people have different styles of coping with conflict
- teams should preview and think how they want to manage conflict before it occurs.
Managing conflict. This selection of links describes some of the team- and organizational based causes of conflict, their symptoms and effects, and how they can be managed.
- Jungian type test--
- Machiavelli-- browse down the page and check links on self-monitoring and Machiavellianism
- Interpersonal influence and power in organizations-- McNamara's Library of articles
- Influence at work-- online booklet with good coverage on the topic--more on social influence and less on teams though
- What's your conflict management style?--
- Use and misuse of an avoiding style--
- Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Inventory-- online version
- Managing work team conflict--
- Kindling the hidden fire-- using conflict at work; excellent review of key ideas
- Team conflict--
- Managing conflict in work teams-- resolution strategies
Sample Training Materials
- The conflict resolution process--
- Conflict in virtual teams--
- Glossary of conflict concepts
- University of Baltimore slideshow on Conflict
- Conflict assessment: Wehr Conflict Mapping Guide and the Hocker-Wilmot Conflict Assessment Guide
- Conflict: A perspective
- The Role of Top Management Team Conflict
- Team conflict: using conflict, strategy & tactics--
- Dispute resolution handbook--
- Intercultural conflict--
- Cost Conflict Instrument (assessing the cost of conflict)