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Resolving Conflict in Work Teams Abstract As organisations continue to restructure work teams, the need for training in conflict resolution will grow. Conflict arises from differences, and when individuals come together in teams, their differences in terms of power, values, and attitudes contribute to the creation of conflict.
To avoid the negative consequences that can result from disagreements, most methods of resolving conflict stress the importance of dealing with disputes quickly and openly.
Conflict is not necessarily destructive, however. When managed properly, conflict can result in benefits for a team. Resolving Conflict in Work Teams A major advantage a team has over an individual is its diversity of resources, knowledge, and ideas. However, diversity also produces conflict.
As more and more organisations restructure to work teams the need for training in conflict resolution will continue to grow. Varney reports that conflict remained the number-one problem for most of the teams operating within a large energy company, even after repeated training sessions on how to resolve conflict and how to minimize the negative impact on team members.
One reason for this may be that mangers and other leaders within organisations are not giving the issue of resolving conflict enough attention. With this in mind, it is critical that team members possess skills to resolve conflict among themselves.
Conflict arises from differences. When individuals come together in work teams their differences in terms of power, values and attitudes, and social factors all contribute to the creation of conflict.
It is often difficult to expose the sources of conflict. Conflict can arise from numerous sources within a team setting and generally falls into three categories: Barriers to communication are among the most important factors and can be a major source of misunderstanding.
Communication barriers include poor listening skills; insufficient sharing of information; differences in interpretation and perception; and nonverbal cues being ignored or missed. Structural disagreements include the size of the organisation, turnover rate, levels of participation, reward systems, and levels of interdependence among employees.
In order for conflict to be dealt with successfully, managers and team members must understand its unpredictability and its impact on individuals and the team as a whole. Conflict in work teams is not necessarily destructive, however. Conflict can lead to new ideas and approaches to organisational processes, and increased interest in dealing with problems.
Conflict, in this sense, can be considered positive, as it facilitates the surfacing of important issues and provides opportunities for people to develop their communication and interpersonal skills.
Nelson cautions that negative conflict can destroy a team quickly, and often arises from poor planning. He offers this list of high potential areas from which negative conflict issues commonly arise: If the team does not have enough resources to do the job, it is inevitable that some will carry too heavy a load.
Resentment, often unexpressed, may build, so it is crucial that team leaders ensure adequate resources. Often inevitable, cost overruns become a problem when proper measures are not taken. The whole team should know early on when cost becomes a problem so additional funding can be sought by the team.
This way the problem can be resolved before it grows into a problem for management. All members should be willing to work together to help each other meet their deadlines. Each team member must know what areas are assigned and who is accountable for them.
Stick to the project at hand and avoid being sidetracked into trying to fit other things into it. Wait and do the other things you would like to do after successful completion of the original project. Team members can and should attempt to avoid negative conflict from occurring.
Being aware of the potential for negative conflict to occur, and taking the necessary steps to ensure good planning will help.
Handling Negative Conflict When negative conflict does occur there are five accepted methods for handling it: Each can be used effectively in different circumstances.PTC Therapeutics Receives Formal Dispute Resolution Request Decision from the FDA's Office of New Drugs.
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