The results of this study showed that while teams may have reported using strategies from the same conflict resolution categories, the way that they applied those strategies to resolve different conflicts was often associated with very different patterns of change in performance and satisfaction (Behfar and Peterson, 2008).
There are two interrelated theoretical contributions that this study shows. The first is to provide facts about how teams manage task, relationship, and process conflicts along with the performance and satisfaction tradeoffs associated with choices in conflict resolution strategies. The second is the fact that participant driven categorization of team conflict management does loosely map onto current individual-level conflict management typologies (Behfar and Peterson, 2008).
Additions that can be made to current literature from these results come from comparing management of the three types of conflict between different outcome patterns. The researchers felt that rather than applying mapping on an individual-level of conflict management styles onto the findings, the results of this study would be better characterized by a different set of criteria. These being the criteria for team viability: "(a) The team must meet the expectations of those who receive their work (i.e., performance); (b) the team needs to satisfy the individual needs of members in the group experience (i.e., individual member satisfaction), and (c) the process the group uses (e.g., conflict management tactics) must enhance its ability to work together in the future" (Behfar and Peterson, 2008).
Many people and organizations view conflict as a negative thing and definitely something to be avoided. But conflict, differences, or disagreements are a natural result of people working together. Without conflict, teams can become content and not perform at their best levels. The challenge becomes how should the team be prepared to deal with conflict and how should the team leader work through it. Conflict arises from the conflict of perceptions, goals, or values in an arena where people care about the outcome. If the management of conflict is not effective, it can totally disrupt the entire group process. When conflict escalates to a level that disrupts the group and gets in the way of accomplishing its goals, then it has become dysfunctional. Managing the balance is the key to effective groups. Another way to classify conflict is by focusing on its origin (Broom, 2009).
Constructive conflicts happen when: people change and grow personally from the conflict, .the conflict results in a solution to a problem, it increases involvement of everyone affected by the conflict, or it builds cohesiveness among the members of the team. Destructive conflicts exist when: no decision is reached and problem still exists, it diverts energy away from more value-add activities, it destroys the morale of the team members or it polarizes or divides the team (Broom, 2009).
Conflict is inevitable as long as people are working together in groups. It is how these people deal with the conflict that determines whether the group will be successful or not. The study that was looked at for this paper shows that although the groups all deal with conflict in different ways. They may all use the same set of tools, but each uses these tools in their own ways in order to deal with the conflict at hand. A set of circumstances that may be a conflict for one group, may not be a problem at all for a different group. So the fact that each team deals with conflict in a different way is not surprising.
This study did a good job of proving their theory and supplying enough evidence to back up their claims. The article that was looked at did a good job in presenting the study in a way that was understandable. It made good comparisons to theories that already exist and yet showed how the new evidence that was discovered in this research could help to supplement the existing theories. The article had a good current reference list that lent credibility to the facts that were presented in the paper. Overall this article was every enjoyable and enlightening.
About Conflict. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2009, from Academic Leadership Support Web site: