Essay on Navigating Conflict in Work Teams: Understanding, Antecedents, and Management Strategies

Published: 2023-11-04
Essay on Navigating Conflict in Work Teams: Understanding, Antecedents, and Management Strategies
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Sociology Conflict management
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1654 words
14 min read

Conflict constitutes an unavoidable component of social living in society. The prevalence of phenomena like conflict is common in areas of dynamism and different social statuses. The element tasted is work teams in organizational structures. Moreover, the management of conflict among groups and workforce peers or juniors serves as a daily norm in many organizations. Work teams are popularly increasing among cooperate organizations and non-governmental bodies due to the efficiency and stability in work experiences. The factors of group effectiveness depend on the strength of interpersonal relationships such as team trust and mutuality. The primary mode of conflict management depends on identifying the determinants of a disagreement. The outcome of poor conflict management among teams may include adverse disintegration in team chemistry.

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The orientation of team quality in the chemistry outspoken includes decisions, productivity, satisfaction, and innovation. Contrary, when managed, opportunities surface due to transparency in sharing different figures and emotions, which traces mutual benefits to both teams and individuals. Consequently, the outcome of managing conflict enhances motivation among team players, reaffirming member's spirit, and fostering overall performance. The question that lingers in the minds of many scholars is how distributed teams solve internal conflicts. This paper, therefore, presents the nature of disputes and their antecedents. Besides, the article also presents dynamism in work-team conflicts and the various approaches to managing internal differences while maintaining the distinct character of destructive and constructive processes.

Nature of Work Teams Conflict

Conflict makes up one of the most basic unavoidable components in work teams. Conflict in the work team is tension processing because of interpersonal relationships owing to real and different perceptions (Aisara, 2017). The inputs of team players or members include social aspects, disparities, and organization-related aspects. Therefore, conflict touches on both personal and organizational mission-like aspects. However, there are two distinct items when defining interpersonal relationships and task-guided conflicts.

Interpersonal conflicts refer to the incompatibilities in personal dynamic social and cultural status resulting in friction, personality clashes, and disagreement in value, lifestyle, and preferences. Concurrently, task-guided conflicts refer to disputes arising from indifference in perceptions according to duties and task the team procures and policies (Benitez et al., 2019). Unlike emotionally centered interpersonal conflicts, this type of conflict grounds in substantial team elements and is commonly viewed as intellectual disagreement.

Antecedents of Conflicts in Work Teams

Diversity triggering conflicts

Diversity entails a wide variety of team members in proportion to their characteristics, such as work specialization, tenure, and demographic factors, which despairs in either deep or surface-level diversity. Surface-level diversity involves the extent of demographic variance in the work team's sections, while deep-level diversity entails differences in personalities and lifestyle valuations (Carton & Tewfik, 2016). Research studies have shown that teams with high diverse characteristics undergo more conflicts than their counterparts with similar features (Raines, 2019). The findings bridge the connections between surface-level and interpersonal conflicts. More considerable demographic variations result in interpersonal conflicts because of cultural diversity, beliefs on religious alignment, and values.

According to Tajfel's and Turner's theories on social interactions/identity in collaboration with the similarity attraction model, research scholars have illustrated the connections between surface-level diversity and interpersonal conflicts (Raines, 2019). The basic structure of social identity/interactions is the assumption that persons define their personalities and differentiate from other work teams in any organization. Meeting people of different social orientations allows one to categorize themselves and, thus, to give themselves a favored image of their group in comparison to individuals from different teams. The process of categorization will enable one to set positivism and maintain the identity.

The similarity attractions model by Byrnes offers another insightful yet different perception on the nature of interpersonal conflicts. One biasedly doings may favor the members of their group over the others. According to this model, people tend to interact based on the level of similarity congruency to affirm the same values and beliefs (Carton Tewfik, 2016). However, the two theories are exact opposites; the explanations outcomes are similar. The favoritism from any group highlights the pre-conceived ideologies and prejudice, and thus, the antagonistic nature between diverse work teams. The resultant effect increases the chances of conflicts among members of the two opposite work teams.

Geographical Arrangements

Dispersed work teams are on the brink of implementation in organizations, capturing the attention of researchers. The working paraphernalia includes dynamism in groups such as the team's anticipation of counterparts. Findings of research substantiate the previous experiences more interpersonal with the latter having task-guided conflicts. The results are illustrated by the lack of shared ideologies in the geographical work teams (Benitez et al., 2019). The lack of common ideas diminishes trust, and loyalty stands towards the counterparts of various work teams. The context of shred ideologies includes tools, systems, working experience, and standardizations. The resultant force is interpersonal conflicts and tensions among the geographically spaced work teams. The inclination of task conflicts in distributed teams compared to collocated task force teams is attributed to shared ideologies. Lack of shared working experiences may infiltrate the misunderstanding among the teams within the organization.

Interestingly, diversity in approaches among the groups interferes with coordination strength and alters the team parity levels, therefore, creating task conflicts in geographically arranged groups (Aisara, 2017). Both shared identification and ideologies may result in interpersonal conflicts and task conflicts, respectively. The requirement in such an instance of two diverse opposite forces is spontaneous information channels. The open communication processes appear more difficult in geographically arranged than in assembled teams.

Conflict Management Approaches

Conflict management refers to standard team worker behaviors implemented to deal with the perceived and real disparities. The disparities are aligned in levels and may relate to emotions (interpersonal conflicts) and address the most substantial pieces of the disagreement (task conflicts).

The conventional model postulating the known approaches is the Thomas Kilmann model. The model provides that the conflict mode employed by any team player emanates from certain motives (Benitez et al., 2019). The reasons are categorical and have two ends, namely concern for self and another party, respectively. The strengths of each of the two concerns, according to the researchers, function as particular conflict monitoring themes. Each matter yields five major patterns used to monitor conflicts.

Avoiding patterns entails grave concerns for oneself and low worries for others. This pattern involves evading disagreements over the issues giving confrontation a possible reality. The illustration of such models is reactions like changing the trending topic and basic refraining from the counterparts on an encounter. The trends involve ignorance that will resolve the conflicts by acts of forgiving and forgetting.

They are compromising-moderately having concern for both oneself and others. Different research models under this pattern manifest in behavioral activities such as seeking and propositions of new middle terms towards creating a solution. Compromising involves the acceptance of partly suitable solutions for both parties involved.

Dominating - entails a high concern for oneself and having lower concerns for others. The patterns reflect the inability to persuade the counterpart sides into accepting their position—additionally, the use of harsher means in compelling the others to submit to their ideologies. The harsher means include harassing the other, posing threats, and making conceived commitments that are giving an ultimatum. Anyone using this pattern tends to satisfy their primary desires at the expense of others.

Obliging - having a lower concern for oneself and a higher concern for their counterparts. The pattern manifested in behaviors like compliance with the ideas of others while admitting the errors of one's doings.

Integrating - having deeper concerns for both oneself and others. This reflects on the priorities of sharing information with the specification of interests and searching for available options in the negotiations. Consequently, providing informed choices when dealing with other people's suggestions.

Each of the above patterns, according to the Thomas-Kilmann model, has both aspects of oneself concern (assertiveness), and concern for others (cooperativeness) (Raines, 2019). For example, the integrating patterns involve certain degrees of assertiveness and cooperativeness, either way, high in all or low and high alternated.

Choosing the Appropriate Conflict Management in Work Teams

In the event of Thomas-Kilmann model applications, certain situations have proved futile. For example, when dealing with the issue is significant, and the consequences are lasting, it is to consider the unlimited focus on the conflict and manage the proceeding (Carton & Tewfik, 2016). The choice ought to be assertive, and in choosing specific strategies, one needs to understand the factors such as:

  • The importance of oneself desires as they related to the issue at stake.
  • The resultantly impact on oneself or others when the desires are not matched.
  • Impacts of being more assertive or egocentric to the plan
  • Whether the solutions are about assertiveness (oneself) and cooperativeness (others).

Other Strategies to Handle Work Team Conflicts Apart from Thomas-Kilmann

Moreover, the ability to solve a conflict efficiently using the Thomas model is possible by developing better management skills. What is an example of conflict management skills that can aid one in understanding a situation? The skills depend on the adaptiveness of a person. They include listening effectively, realizing the point breaks into the disagreements, expression of the needs felt, and the conflicts must be an option to fasten more growth because of management (Aisara, 2017). Lastly, the effects should focus on the issues arising without leaning on either side of disagreement teams. Many research content presents that even though one of the teams may incline to the specific type of conflict management skills, not every strategy presented applies in every situation (Benitez et al., 2019). Therefore, in conflict management across work teams, some of the strategies other than the Thomas-Kilmann model include the following:

Open-ended communication – the aspect derived is talking to the offended or offender while striving to achieve long-lasting solutions. One should as the other things like time and arrange a place to meet for face talk.

Focus behavior and events into the disagreement - the merits of these strategies revolve around specific instances under when the conflict arose rather than the personality claims.

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Essay on Navigating Conflict in Work Teams: Understanding, Antecedents, and Management Strategies. (2023, Nov 04). Retrieved from

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