I. INTRODUCTION Conflict is when two or more people come together with an aligned goal, a team is formed. This team is comprised of members, each with his own plan of action to best achieve the task at hand. Many times one member believes that his point of view is the most correct or most efficient, while another member of the team may disagree, offering her idea as best. When one individual challenges another, conflict is born. This is a very basic example, and only one type of conflict is addressed.
In reality, there are several types of conflict; some positive, some negative. The sources of conflict are as varied as each member's own personality style. Humans differ in countless ways. These differences contribute to the strength of team members. Each personality brings with it a different interaction and different communication styles, ideas, and varying levels of creativity. With each difference the possibility of conflict increases.
Once conflict is encountered, resolution is vital so that the team can again focus on its common goal. Knowing what types of conflicts you will encounter will help you deal with issues when they arise. II. TYPES OF CONFLICT There are two types of conflicts, positive and negative: Positive conflict, although most often referred to negatively, can also positively contribute to the overall performance of the team. Conflict is positive if the team's ability to perform is improved. This can be through increased involvement and better communication.
Once resolved, the conflict may have allowed the members of the team to better understand each other, because they have had the opportunity to communicate beyond trivial pleasantries. Another positive outcome for a team that has worked through their conflicts is increased confidence and team cohesion. When an individual engages in conflict, they usually emerge stronger, no matter the outcome. The challenge alone builds confidence.
A more confident team member will inevitably be more assertive, strengthening the team even further. Negative conflict, though sometimes favorable, is antagonistic by definition, so the negative types cannot be overlooked. If unresolved, this conflict can sabotage the team's ability to function effectively. One problem arises when one member of the team feels that their opinion is not given equal weight when compared to other team members. This can discourage the individual from giving opinions in the future, which is not helpful to the team and can even lead to further conflicts and may result in low self esteem.
Negative conflict can also occur when team members cannot put aside their difference in personality and cause personality clashes. The differences in personality styles are infinite, and among them are the types that can embrace these differences. Unfortunately, other types cannot accept even the slightest inconsistency. These clashes can slow down or even halt the team's progress.
As we become aware of the types of conflicts we face, and the ability to understand how they affect our lives, there is also a need to understand where the root causes of the conflict stem from. Conflict arises from a multitude of sources that reflect our differences: personality, values, ideologies, religion, culture, race, and behavior. It also arises from simple miscommunication. III. Sources of Conflict Sources for team conflict can come from many avenues, one of the most prevalent examples that our study will show is based on different values. Our different values are beliefs or principles we consider to be very important.
Serious conflicts arise when people hold incompatible values or when values are not clear. Conflicts also arise when one party refuses to accept the fact that the other party holds something as a value rather than a preference. We must learn to understand and cope with our differences in lifestyles and choices if we are going to achieve a sense of unity a team environment. Another source of conflict that our study points out is that a great amount of our issues generate from just simple misunderstanding.
All communication has two parts: a sender and a receiver. The sender has a message he or she intends to transmit. The message is put into words, which, to her / him , best reflect what they are thinking. But many things can intervene to prevent the intended message from being received accurately. Cultural differences increase the likelihood of misunderstanding as well. If people speak different languages, the danger of bad translation is obvious.
But even if people speak the same language, they may communicate in different ways. In conflict situations, avoiding misunderstanding takes a lot of effort. Roger Fisher and William Ury list four skills that can improve communication in conflict situations. 1. Active listening - The goal of active listening, they say, is to understand your opponent as well as you understand yourself. Pay close attention to what the other side is saying.
Ask the opponent to clarify or repeat anything that is unclear or seems unreasonable (maybe it isn't, but you are interpreting it wrong). 2. Speak directly to your teammate - This is not considered appropriate in some cultures, but when permitted, it helps to increase understanding. Avoid being distracted by others, or by other things going on in the same room. Focus on what you have to say, and on saying it in a way that your opponent can understand. 3.
Speak about yourself not about your opponent - Describe your own feelings and perceptions, rather than focusing on your opponent's motives, misdeeds, or failings. By saying, 'I felt let down,' rather than 'You broke your promise,' you will convey the same information, in a way that does not provoke a defensive or hostile reaction from your opponent. This makes it easier for the other side to help solve the problem, without having to admit they were wrong. 4.
Fisher and Ury's fourth rule is "speak for a purpose" - Too much communication can be counterproductive, they warn. Before you make a significant statement, pause and consider what you want to communicate, why you want to communicate that, and how you can do it in the clearest possible way. Identifying where the sources of conflict generate from is paramount to dealing with the issue, however once the knowledge has been gained of there must be a plan of action to try to eliminate the problem in its entirety. There are a variety of strategies available for dealing with conflicts.
We can develop skills to help implement these strategies by knowing the basic ways to conflict resolution. IV. Conflict Resolution The avoiding approach to conflict resolution is characterized by losing, leaving, and withdrawing. No commitments are made, and behavior is impersonal. Use this approach when you would get hurt by continuing to be apart of the team or when you want to change the ground rules. It is useful when issues are trivial and is helpful if the other team members seem like they are passive in their understanding.
Its disadvantage is that the problem is left unresolved, and this can result in nothing getting done if too many problems are swept under the rug. In the avoiding approach, at least one of the team members displays a subtle reluctance or unwillingness to resolve the issues. This approach is of little use for the team as a whole because it strains the relationship and prevents the building of trust between the team members involved. Using this approach can also increase the team member's resistance to resolve the issue. B.
Accommodation Under the accommodation approach, the team members are yielding, and they try to avert conflict. The accommodating team member undervalues his or her own worth and accomplishments and places top priority on maintaining peaceful relations with the others. It is a "don't rock the boat" philosophy used when there is a need to concede on small points in order to gain on major points later. It is helpful when the other team members are right and you should give in, or when preservation of the team cohesiveness is more important than trying to reason for your point of view. Accommodating may satisfy the other team members but it may cause your ideas and input to suffer. Use this approach when appropriate, but do not make a habit of it.
C. Competition Under the competition approach, communication is obstructed as the conflicting team member (s) try to gain an advantage by misleading each other through false promises and misinformation. Communication is ultimately reduced as the team members realize they cannot trust one another's communications as honest and informative. 'Obstructiveness and lack of helpfulness lead to mutual negative attitudes and suspicion of one another's intentions. One's perceptions of the other tend to focus on the person's negative qualities and ignore the positives.' The team members are unable to effectively divide their work and end up duplicating efforts. When they do divide it, they continuously feel the need to check each other's work.
Ongoing disagreement and critical rejection of ideas reduces participants's elf-confidence as well as confidence in the other team members involved. The competitive process fosters the notion that the solution of the conflict can only be imposed by one side on the other. This orientation also encourages the use of coercive tactics such as psychological or physical threats and / or violence. This process tends to expand the range of contested issues and turns the conflict into a power struggle, with each team member seeking to win outright. This sort of escalation raises the motivational significance of the conflict for the team members and makes them more likely to accept a mutual disaster rather than a partial defeat or compromise. D.
Compromise The objective is to find some expedient, mutually acceptable solution which partially satisfies all members involved. It falls on a middle-ground between competing and accommodating. Compromising gives up more than competing but less than accommodating. Likewise, it addresses an issue more directly than avoiding, but doesn't explore it in as much depth as collaborating. Compromising might mean splitting the difference, exchanging concessions, or seeking a quick middle-ground position.
E. Collaboration This is the opposite of avoiding. Collaborating involves an attempt to work with the other person to find some solution which fully satisfies the concerns of both. It means digging into an issue to identify the underlying concerns of the two individuals and to find a solution which meets both sets of concerns. This is clearly the most effective approach of conflict management. Specifically it will produce the following results: 1.
Both sides' needs are met 2. Satisfaction 3. Mutual respect 4. Both parties feel enriched rather than belittled 5. Continuing effort of both parties to work together In conclusion no one strategy is appropriate in all situations-each requires a different amount of time, energy, and cooperation.
The examples listed with each strategy are just the beginning of a never-ending list of possibilities (and you may use a strategy anywhere in between or even change strategies midstream). The best one can do is to first recognize where all team members are oriented with respect to assertiveness and willingness to cooperate, then have realistic objectives based on the strategy you are about to employ, and finally, take advantage of the negotiating tips mentioned earlier. Finally, this skill can only be developed with time and practice.  DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider. Interpersonal Skills in Organizations.
The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2001.  Kornberg, Otto. Ideology, Conflict, and Leadership in Groups and Organizations. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998. Morton Deutsch, The Resolution of Conflict: Constructive and Destructive Processes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973), 20. This section of Deutsch's earlier work on constructive and destructive conflict resolution processes is closely paralleled by the later chapter in The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, which offers a summarized version of his older work..