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Chapter 8: Managing Conflict

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Amanda Fylan

on 30 March 2017

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Transcript of Chapter 8: Managing Conflict

What is conflict?
Conflict is about disagreements and includes four elements:
An expressed struggle
Between at least two interdependent people
Who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources and interference from others
To achieve specific goals
Causes of conflict
Differences between group members

Differences in tolerance and risks

Can be directed toward people, ideas or both (interpersonal conflict, task conflict)
Misconceptions of conflict
Conflict should be avoided at all costs
Natural byproduct of communication
Can enhance learning and encourage more in-depth analysis

All conflict occurs because people don’t understand one another

All conflict can be resolved
Types of conflict
people misunderstand one another
Managing pseudo-conflict
Ask others what they mean by their terms or phrases
Establish supportive rather than defensive climate
Become an active listener
Conflict and diversity in groups
Individualistic: direct, confrontational

Collectivistic – indirect, non-confrontational, relationship-based message to manage difference

Low context cultures – greater importance on task

High context cultures – expressive, emotional take on special importance
Conflict management
Avoidance – ignore

Accommodation – giving in (“lose-win”)

Competition – stress winning the conflict at the expense of others

Compromise – find middle ground (either win-win if everyone gets something or lose-lose if nobody is happy)

Collaboration – problem to be solved rather than a game to win, high concern for yourself and others
Collaborative conflict management
Separate people from the problem
Will need good listening skills
Acknowledge person’s feelings
(ex: xyz formula – when you do x, in situation y, I feel z)
When people are not cooperative
25% of the time managers spend their time dealing with conflict
98% of group problems are “people problems”
Managing Conflict
Chapter 8
Simple conflict:
people disagree about issues
Managing simple conflict
Clarify each other’s perception of message
Focus discussion on issues, not personalities
Use facts, not opinions
Make the conflict a group concern
Tackle one issue at a time
Find areas of agreement
Ego conflict:
personality clash (charged with emotion and defensiveness)
Managing ego conflict
Encourage active listening
Keep discussion on key issues
Turn discussion into problem to be solved, rather than a conflict to win
Seek a cool, calm climate
Be descriptive rather than judgmental
Agree to disagree and return to areas of agreement
Determine what specific behavior is causing the problem
Assess the importance and intensity of the issue
Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative
Conflict is goal driven, group in conflict wants something
Goals must be clear so everyone understands
Manage your emotions
Be aware of your anger level
Use self talk
Monitor the non-verbal messages
Avoid personal attacks (no gunny sack – bringing up past problems)
Describe what is upsetting you
Use I statements instead of you

Disclose your feelings
First talk about how behavior offends then address how you feel
Return to the issue of contention
Avoiding the issue will not resolve the issue
Get to the root of the problem
Groupthink: conflict avoidance
Is the illusion of agreement

Occurs when groups tries to reach a consensus without critically testing, analyzing and evaluating ideas

Results in ineffective consensus

Too little conflict lowers the quality of group decisions

Group does not take time to examine positive and negative consequences of its decisions
Symptoms of Groupthink:
Critical thinking not encouraged or rewarded
Members think groupthink can do no wrong
Members are too concerned about justifying their action
Members apply pressure to those who do not support the group
Members often believe they have reached a true consensus
Members are too concerned about reinforcing leader’s belief
Suggestions for reducing groupthink:
Encourage critical, independent thinking
Be sensitive to status difference
Invite someone from outside the group to observe
Assign a group member the role of devil’s advocate
Subdivide into small group to consider potential problems with solutions
Reaching agreement through communication
Consensus – occurs when all group members support and are committed to a decision
The nature of consensus:
Consensus should not come too quickly or easily
To reach consensus, group should emphasize areas of agreement
Suggestions for reaching consensus:
Keep group oriented to goal
Be sensitive to ideas and feelings of others
Promote honest interaction and dialogue
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