The Importance of Conflict Resolution in a Group

Conflict will arise in our everyday lives. It is how we deal with conflict that defines us, Conflict Resolution and Its Impact in the Academic World Conflict resolution is an important part Of working in a team whether in an academic or professional setting. Conflict is an inescapable part of our everyday lives.

When people from different backgrounds, ages and mindsets work together, the potential for disagreement is always present. Being able to constructively manage conflict is now considered as an inevitable part of management (Allseed-Loosely, 1996).This paper will discuss aspects of conflict resolution, the history of conflict resolution, why conflict resolution is important, different styles of conflict and different strategies for managing conflict including: “The Four Or’s,” an “A-E-I-O-U” model mediation, negotiating and arbitration ( learning Team Toolkit, n. D. ). Conflicts over different goals, the process of decision making and conflicts in an academic setting occur because of controversy, conceptual conflicts, conflicts of interest and developmental conflict (Johnson & Johnson, 1995).Conflict can have positive affects depending on how the inflict is managed.

Teaching constructive conflict resolution is extremely important (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). Different types of conflict resolution include creating a cooperative context, using academic controversy in the classroom, teaching students to negotiate the conflict, exercising diplomacy, and finally, the arbitration of student conflicts Monsoons & Johnson, 1995). Conflict resolution skills are needed to deal with conflicts constructively, objectively and diplomatically (Learning Team Toolkit, n. ). History of Conflict Resolution Now that the job market has become more competitive, the ability to work operatively and constructively with peers and supervisors becomes as important as academic knowledge and skills. In the sass’s and sass’s the peace movement was in place and conflict resolution was born (Thomas, 1992). Society found it a more expeditious, humane and less expensive, alternative method to the court system (Thomas, 1992).

An educator named Morton Deutsche laid down the basic ideas for conflict resolution programs arguing that academic institutions should not avoid or eliminate conflict, but encourage effective controversy (Deutsche, 1973). In 1972 the first academic conflict resolution plan was set up in New York City. Since 1 980 a larger number of community based conflict resolution groups have increased, and many of them support school and academic based conflict resolution programs Monsoons, 1995).Nowadays there are a huge number of conflict resolution programs in public schools in the united States (Johnson, 1994). Why it is important With violent incidents like those in Littleton, Colorado and Springfield, Oregon, the publics concern for safety in public school is at an all time high. It has been consistently shown that the more conflict resolution techniques are used in the academic environment and curriculum, the less violence is seen Sherman, 2002).There is also a noted enhancement of students’ social and emotional development and a major improvement in classroom management as well (Sherman, 2002).

All those attending school need to know how to manage conflict if they are to become successful members of the academic community and society as a whole. Many instructors and educators believe that competence in controversies, such as resolution skills, can lead to increased social and academic skills thus creating a more harmonious world (Johnson, 1995).It seems that many young adults are not learning conflict resolution skills at mom, as shown by the increase of violence in the academic setting. This is a prime example of why conflict resolution programs are imperative in the classroom. When in a school setting, students resolving disputes amongst themselves free up the instructor to help students with academic pursuits (Johnson, 1995). Conflict resolution can have considerable value if managed in the correct way It stands to reason that it is not whether the conflict occurs, but more importantly, in what manner it is contended with.Some of the benefits derived from conflict resolution include an increased incentive to change, eighteen awareness of if a problem exists, and how to rectify it.

Also, a higher quality of decision making, greater sense of caring commitment and community has been shown as a result of participation in conflict resolution techniques (Deutsche, 1987). Conflict resolution programs increase commitment to making solutions work, and enhance communication skills, cognitive skills and problem solving skills (Essayed – Keyhole, 1996).Conflict resolution skills are needed to deal with conflicts constructively Some of the skills needed to constructively deal with conflicts include auteur language, active listening, identifying and understanding distinct points of view, identifying problems and understanding negotiating and mediating disputes. (Sherman, 2002). Conflict resolution is a constructive approach to inter-group conflicts and allows those with opposing ideas to work together to arrive at a mutually acceptable compromise (Sherman, 2002).Usually conflict resolution groups fall into two categories: programs in which the parties work among themselves to settle the disagreement, and programs with a third party (mediator) to help the disputants end their disagreement (Sherman, 2002). Types of Conflict Conflict in a classroom setting usually occurs because of controversy, conceptual conflicts, conflicts of interest and developmental conflicts.

Controversy happens when one person’s or group’s information, conclusions, and opinions are not compatible with another person’s or group’s (Johnson & Johnson, 1995).If managed properly this will lead to high quality decision making (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). Conceptual conflict is when incompatible ideas exist at the same time in his or her head. For example: when conflicting information is received and when arguments and ideas are incongruent with hat one already thinks and believes (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). Conflicts of interests happen when one person’s actions work to benefit their own needs and goals and interfere with another maximizing their goals.This can also occur for a wide range of social and relationship issues: when two can not see eye to eye based on their existing values and beliefs (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). Developmental conflicts can occur; for example: when working with an adult and a child, based on stability and change as the child grows and develops cognitively and socially.

It can also occur when one person or group as developed in different areas from another. A conflict can be as simple as a disagreement to as serious as a war (Johnson & Johnson, 1994). There are many different conflict styles.One method suggests there are five main types: avoidance, accommodation, competition, compromise, and collaboration. Usually these styles are determined by personal and the group’s styles and goals (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D). Avoidance happens when one does not want to deal with conflict.

They will change the subject, not bring up any issue they think may be controversial and sometimes pretend a conflict does not exist even if it does (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D). This style can be turned into a negative because issues throughout life will need to be addressed.Avoidance can heighten tension in a group setting and most importantly avoiding a conflict will never truly make it go away (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D. ). This avoidance style can be turned into a positive and used appropriately if: the issued is really not that important to you; other group members are already add resting and taking action on the same issues; you need time to address it because you are emotional; and if the situation would be dangerous or detrimental to address Learning Team Toolkit, n.

D).Accommodation is when one gives too much to give to the needs of the group. Usually people that have this style have a strong desire to be liked and wanted. They want this so badly that they will often give in to the group even if more ideas would benefit the group as a whole (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D). This style can have negative affects because any one who accommodates all the time will have less influence, control, power, and all around be less of a necessity to the team as a whole (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D).

Accommodation can also be turned into a positive if: you may be wrong bout the issue or have not completely made up your mind; if you can tell the issue is really important to another group member, but not that important to you; or if you can tell no matter what you do, the rest of the group will not agree with you (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D). Competition conflict style happens when a member is worried more about themselves then the group as a whole. These people want to win and are the type of people that can never admit that they are wrong (Learning Team Toolkit, n. . ). This style can have serious detrimental effects because it can cause group members to be come ‘Winners and losers.

This style can cause hostility, resentment, and can damage relationships in the group (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D. ). Competitive conflict style can be useful if: it is an issue that is important to you; if there is an emergency or an issue that requires action fast; if it is a serious issue that could have negative or harmful effects; or if the group is doing something that is illegal or unethical (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D).Compromise conflict style is when one lets go of some goals to get others. This person is often looking for a “middle ground,” thinking that by everyone giving up something, that things will be fair.

The problem with that is that everyone only ends up half satisfied (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D). This style should be used for certain situations such as: when the team is not making any progress to a reasonable negotiation, when there is a deadline or not enough time to resolve the conflict in any other way and if no other way of resolving the conflict is present (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D).Collaboration conflict style looks for the goals that will benefit both themselves and the whole group. Collaboration really promotes working as a team and uses each team members talents (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D).

The main problem with this style is that it takes a lot of energy and time, and all group members must actively participate (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D. ). This style is maximized when: a solution is needed that suits each group member; there is enough time, and new ideas are needed (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D). A well known model for analyzing how to approach a conflict is called, “The or’s Method. The OR method is well known because it works at analyzing the conflict in the particular situation (Learning Team Toolkit, n.

D. ). The or’s are: reasons, reactions, results, and resolutions (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D. . Reasons that the conflict are happening are important to figure out the core issues (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D).

Reactions from team members while working on a goal say a lot. How the group reacts to each other is important. It is by analyzing how the group reacts that a more constructive environment can be created (Learning Team Toolkit, n. D. ).Results of the team’s current practices and actions while working towards the goal will show whether or not their way is working. The end result that the team is working for is also an important consideration for anyone involved in a conflict (Learning Team Toolkit, n.

). Resolutions can come from different methods of conflict resolution. The main goal in conflict resolution is to eventually resolve the conflict (McCabe, 2005). The A-E-I-O-IS Method (citation needed here) is a tool set up to help groups communicate clearly: A- Assume the other members mean well. E- Express your feelings.I- Identify what you would like to happen. O – Outcomes you expect are made clear IS- understanding on a mutual basis is achieved When all these steps are completed a group can have a successful approach to conflict management (Learning Team Toolkit, n.

D). Mediation, Negotiation and Arbitration If students can not negotiate a constructive resolution to their conflicts, often mediating will take place (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). Mediating means ending the hostilities, making a commitment to mediate fairly and making an agreement on the end results (Deutsche, 1973).Mediation is an alternative to the disciplinary programs used in the past in most schools (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). The mediating part of conflict management is taught to give students the skill of regulating their own behavior. They are then able to resolve conflict in interpersonal affairs constructively (Johnson & Johnson, 1995). Usually arbitration is the last resort in an academic environment; because the reason instructors have students work in learning teams is to create the skills that will make the student ready to be a leader and a contributing member to work place teams (Learning Team Toolkit, n.

). It is usually only when student mediation fails that an instructor will intervene in the matter and listen to both sides of the situation to make a decision on who is right or wrong Monsoons & Johnson, 1995). Another reason that this is a last resort is because it can leave one side sore, resentful and angry towards whoever the arbitrator is. Further, it does not really teach the student how to deal with conflicts that will happen to them after they leave the academic institution (Johnson & Johnson, 1995).Conclusion Conflict resolution skills should be a fundamental part of every school’s curriculum (Deutsche, 1973). The history of conflict resolution, types of conflict and types of resolution are important to resolving conflicts. Conflict will occur in our everyday lives.

It is how we deal with the conflict that defines us. Students need to know how to constructively resolve conflicts to become responsible members of academic institutions, the repressions world and society as a whole (Deutsche, 1987). Conflict resolution skills should be a fundamental part of every school’s curriculum (Deutsche, 1973).

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