Active/Collaborative Learning Student Teams Integrating Technology Effectively Women and Minorities Assessment and Evaluation EC2000 Emerging Technology Foundation Coalition Curricula Concept Inventories
 
 
 
 
 
Summary:  
Understanding Conflict and Conflict Management
 

The goal of this document is to provide students and faculty members with conflict management information that can be beneficial both personally and professionally. Some people think conflict is a topic that should not be discussed and that we should not engage in conflict.

Productively engaging in conflict is always valuable. Most people are willing and interested in resolving their conflicts; they just need the appropriate skill set and opportunities in which to practice this skill set. Without a conflict skill set, people want to avoid conflict, hoping it will go away or not wanting to make a “big deal out of nothing.” Research and personal experiences show us that, when we avoid conflict, the conflict actually escalates and our thoughts and feelings become more negative.

Through conflict self-awareness we can more effectively manage our conflicts and therefore their professional and personal relationships. Furthermore, by discussing issues related to conflict management, teams can establish an expected protocol to be followed by team members when in conflict. All teams and organizations have a conflict culture (the way the team responds to conflict). However, most teams never discuss what the conflict culture is, therefore providing the opportunity for individual team members to make assumptions that can be counterproductive to the team.

Practicing one’s conflict management skills leads to more successful engagement in conflict with outcomes of relief, understanding, better communication, and greater productivity for both the individual and the team. When we manage our conflicts more effectively, we use less energy on the burdensome tasks such as systemic conflict and get to spend more of our energy on our projects at work and building our relationships. Below are references that can assist both individuals and teams to greater conflict management success.

References for Further Information

  1. Katzenbach, J.R., and Smith, D.K. (1992). Wisdom of teams, Harvard Business School Press.
  2. Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T., and Holubec, E.J. (1986). Circles of learning: cooperation in the classroom (rev. ed.), Edina, MN: Interaction Book Co.
  3. “Workplace Basics: The Skills Employers Want,” Am. Soc. Training and Devel. and U.S. Dept. Labor, Employment and Training Admin., 1988.
  4. Algert, N.E. (1996) “Conflict in the workplace” in Proceedings: Women in Engineering Advocates Network, Denver, CO., 123–127.
  5. Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA: (800)624-1765 or available on the World Wide Web at http://www.cpp-db.com.
  6. Smith, K.A. (2000). Project management and teamwork. New York: McGraw-Hill BEST series.
  7. Blake, R.R., and Mouton, J.S. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.
  8. Algert, N.E., and Watson, K. (2002). Conflict management: introductions for individuals and organizations. Bryan, TX: (979)775-5335 or e-mail .
  9. Raudsepp, E. (2002) “Hone Listening Skills To Boost Your Career,” available on the World Wide Web at http://www.careerjournal.com/myc/climbingladder/20021224-raudsepp.html, accessed on 28 January 2003.
  10. Lambert, J., and Myers, S. (1999) 50 Activities for conflict resolution. Amherst, MA: HR Development Press.
  11. Johnson, D.W., and Johnson, F.P. (2000) Joining together: group theory and group skills (7th ed.), Boston, Allyn and Bacon.
Additional Resources
Algert, N.E. (2002). The center for change and conflict resolution, Bryan, TX: (979)775-5335 or e-mail .
Moore, C., “How Mediation Works” in The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict.
Putnam (1994). “Beyond third-party role: disputes and managerial intervention,” Employee Responsibilities and Rights J. (7:1).
Xicom, Inc. (1996). Conflict Workshop Facilitator’s Guide.
 

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