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To Manage Group Conflict Essay

5768 words - 24 pages

If a group is going to be productive and successful, the entire group must be able to identify and resolve conflict successfully. Conflict management is a skill that can be learned.

The human relationship is a complex and dynamic inter-action. As living creatures, we need and crave the opportunity to interact with other humans by speaking, listening, and spending time with them. Most of this interaction tends to be mutual and cordial. Yet, at times, the interaction can be laced with tension and discord. If left alone, the tension can lead to conflict that may damage the relationship or even become volatile.
Conflict between individuals and within groups often occurs ...view middle of the document...

According to Pondy (1967) conflict emerges when one party perceives that its goals, values or views are being indulged by inter-reliant counterparts (Wall & Callister, 1995; Thomas, 1992). While others (De Deru & Gelfand, 2007; Deutch, 1973;& Kelley & Thibaut, 1969) opined that workplace conflict may arise because of scare resources (for example time, status, budgets), values (such as political preferences, beliefs, religion, moral, social values), personality differences, misinterpreted facts, perceptions, world views and may be due any combination of these.
According to Rahim (2010), workplace conflict can be categorized on many bases; hence there are many types of it.
Affective Conflict
When two entities - individual, groups, organization - while trying to solve a problem together, become aware that their feelings and emotions are incompatible (cf. Guetzkow & Gyr, 1954; & Amason, 1996). It was also named as relationship conflict (Jehn, 1997a), as emotional conflict (Pelled, Eisenhardt, & Xin, 1999; & Schermerhorn, Hung, & Obsborn, 2002). Pelled et al. (1999) defined this as “a situation in which group members have interpersonal clashes characterized by anger, frustration and other negative feelings”. While according to Schermerhorn et al (2002) “it involves interpersonal difficulties that arise over feeling of anger, mistrust, dislike, fear, resentment and the like”.
This type of conflict is negatively associated with affective reactions, and has a positive relation with turnover intentions. It decreases employees’ satisfaction and psychological well-being (Medina, Munduate, Dorado, Martinez, & Guerra, 2005).
Substantive Conflict
This type of conflict emerges when organizational members disagree on their tasks or job content issues (Guetzkow & Gyr, 1954). It was also called as task conflict (Jehn, 1997; Pelled et al., 1999) as cognitive conflict (Amason, 1996). Pelled et al. (1999) define is as “a situation in which group members disagree about task issues; like goals, key decision areas, procedures and the appropriate choice for actions”. According to Jehn (1997b) task conflict is a disagreement among group members’ ideas and opinions about the course of action to be chosen for the specific task.
Affective conflict arises due to incongruence of feelings and/ or emotions while substantive conflict is connected with incompatibilities in job duties and responsibilities of the conflicting parties.
Along with theses two main type of conflict there are many other types of workplace conflict. Like conflict of interest. It is a conflict in which each of the parties, sharing same understanding of the circumstances, prefers a different rather incompatible solution to a problem (Rahim, 2001). While according to Zechmeister and Druckman (1973), the conflict in which parties perceives themselves as representative of their groups (in-groups); fighting for group not for the self; are likely to be more...

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