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Conflict in Teams. Chapter 7. Is all conflict bad? What happens when there is not enough conflict?. Functional (Task) Conflict. Disagreements about task @ hand (work related) Ex: debate, difference of opinion, constructive criticism Benefits?. Dysfunctional (Relationship) Conflict.

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Presentation Transcript
Is all conflict bad?
  • What happens when there is not enough conflict?
functional task conflict
Functional (Task) Conflict
  • Disagreements about task @ hand (work related)
  • Ex: debate, difference of opinion, constructive criticism
  • Benefits?
dysfunctional relationship conflict
Dysfunctional (Relationship) Conflict
  • Disagreements based on personalities & social issues unrelated to work
  • Ex: back-stabbing, gossip, slander, emotions
  • Consequences?
process conflict
Process Conflict
  • Disagreements on task strategy & delegation of resources & duties
  • Good or bad?
Proportional Conflict

The relative amount of each type of conflict (in proportion to one another)

Creates different team experiences

Ex: 70% task

20% process

10% relationship

Perceptual Conflict

The degree to which team members perceive levels of conflict (compared to one another)

promoting task conflict
Promoting Task Conflict
  • All members need to agree on common goal or shared vision
  • Create a time & place for task & process conflict (plan for it)
  • Provide training in task conflict

--”Psychological safety” leads to trust & respect

approaches to a dispute
Approaches to a Dispute
  • Interests-based approach*

Attempt to learn others’ needs, desires, concerns

  • Rights-based approach

Focus on fairness, precedent, legal issues

  • Power-based approach

Use threats, attacks on character, rank or status

team dilemma
Team Dilemma
  • Cooperate or compete?
  • Pursue group or self-interests?

Triggers self interests…

Triggers group’s interests…

  • Members are interdependent, yet have incentives to free ride!
promoting cooperation
Promoting Cooperation

Build strong team identity

  • Link compensation to team performance
  • T-shirts, name tags, gold chains, straw hats, slippers…
  • Present outside challenge
  • Recognize individual efforts
  • Continuity in membership

Team contracts

  • Clarifies goals
  • Commitment
  • Accountability.
voting to resolve conflict
Voting to Resolve Conflict
  • Promotes democracy
  • When a group agrees to vote, they must be willing to accept the outcome!!
  • Problems?
      • “Losers” perceive injustice
      • Have to agree on method

Majority rule- problems?

Consensus- problems?

      • Ties do not yield a decision
      • Masks disagreement (temporary fix).
drawbacks to voting
Drawbacks to Voting
  • The winner of a vote depends on the order in whichalternatives are proposed (arrow paradox)
  • Inability to combine preferences in a way that trulyrepresents group preference (impossibility theorem)
  • Manipulation of the order alternatives are voted on (strategic manipulation)
integrative negotiation win win
Integrative Negotiation (win-win)
  • Group’s outcome must be more attractive than your other alternatives (BATNA)
  • Overcome fixed-pie fallacy
  • Build trust, rapport & information sharing(friends?)

--Focus on commonalities

  • Understand underlying interests
  • Discuss issues simultaneously (choices)rather than sequentially
  • Contingency contracts
  • Renegotiate negotiated agreements
  • Be consistently fair to build trust.
escalation of conflict
Escalation of Conflict


  • Excessive competition
  • Perception coercion will resolve conflict
  • Aggression when perceive being coerced
  • Different beliefs of what “fair outcome” is
  • Belief you are more fair & less biased than others

How do we resolve it?