When dealing with conflict it is important to have a global understanding of the sources of conflict. These sources include perceptions, miscommunication, and irrational beliefs.
In our daily lives we often formulate perceptions based on how someone is dressed, does their hair, the car they drive or the street upon which they live. These assumed perceptions range from their socioeconomic position to how they may or may not perform in job or on a team. These perceptions are dangerous to act upon, as each person is an individual despite their outward projections. We all know the age-old adage about assumptions as well as “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Often people DO perform despite their situations or outward appearances.
It is equally dangerous to formulate perceptions based on cultural perspectives. It is true that certain cultures do have some universal truths in general. However, these do not always apply to individuals, and the degree to which these cultural influences are present will vary widely from person to person. Variance will also occur due to where one was raised. For instance someone from another country that was raised in the United States will most likely have a more western methodology than if they were raised in ...
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... is positive conflict, then mutual understanding can be reached.
In the dynamic of a learning team, it is important to remember that each member is striving towards the same goal of obtaining a degree. Since each members schedule is different, the team may change from time to time. Being flexible, suspending perceptions and judgments, will allow the team to adjust and avoid many conflicts. Make sure to encourage new team members to share their strengths and weaknesses. Also share with them the strengths and weaknesses of the team. Any conflicts that have occurred in the past should also be reviewed to ensure that new members are on board with the resolution tactics that are being utilized. Be open to new ideas.
Conflict is rarely something anyone enjoys. By applying some simple thought to conflict and conscience effort to seek resolution, conflict can be survived and new growth can be generated from it.
1. See Thomas, K. W., & Kilmann, K. W. (1977). Developing a forced-choice measure of conflict-handling behavior: The MODE instrument. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 37 PP. 390-395; Hocker & Wilmont, PP. 95-136
DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider, 2001, pg 243
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