Hi, my name is Yashaan and I will be discussing on how to manage group conflict.
Now, while you have understood the purpose of group work and gained an understanding on the step-by-step process from getting the task at hand to completing the final product, in between you might face various challenges and difficulties. And these challenges and difficulties come in the form of group conflict.
Now talking about conflict. Now there are three types of conflict that you might face in a group setting at the university while doing assignments in a group. Now they are goal conflict, task conflict and intragroup relationship conflict.
So what exactly are these three types of conflicts. Well, a goal conflict is a conflict that occurs when certain members want to achieve a passing grade whereas others want to achieve the highest grade in the assignment. It’s a conflict of goals.
A task conflict is a disagreement among members of your group regarding ideas and opinions about the task going to be performed or disagreements regarding the outline of the assignment. These disagreements are considered as a task conflict.
Now, intragroup relationship conflict are disagreements or incompatibilities among group members about personal issues which are not related to the assignment, they are relationship-based conflict.
Now, Let’s take you through a step-by-step procedure on handling a Goal Conflict situation. Lets say, during your brainstorm sessions you have identified that some members aren’t prioritising the assignment at hand. While other members are very active and contributing proactively.
This situation could be because there exists to be a goal conflict. The group might have different expectations of the outcomes of the assignment. Some members want to contribute and prioritise the group work in the anticipation of getting the best grade, while some members just contribute to a minimum capacity.
How do you as a leader or a member of this group resolve this problem?
Step number one. Now, as a group you must explicitly state that there exists to be a conflict. Why should you do this? Well, having this conversation is a very honest and transparent approach to conflict resolution. You are adopting the problem-solving approach of conflict resolution.
Second step. Now, as a group, you must go around to each person to seek their thoughts and reasons for this particular ideology. Why?, you ask again. Well, it is very important for these thoughts and emotions to be expressed and acknowledged prior to any resolution process to maintain clear and transparent communication within the group.
Step number three. This is the time to clearly define your conflict in the group meeting and acknowledge that this particular conflict or problem exists.
The actual resolution of the problem starts with step number four. Step number four states that you must try to identify common areas of agreement within the group. It can be an agreement on the existence of the conflict or agreement on the purpose of resolving this conflict, it can also be agreement on accountability.
Step number five states that identify as a group probable solutions to this particular conflict. Now, you as a member or a leader must chart down a list of probable solutions for this particular conflict.
Now, For example it can be – If we each invest 4 hrs in doing this particular assignment the probable outcome will be a high distinction. Or if we follow an “X” way of doing things, we might not achieve a high distinction but at least we might get a “Distinction”.</p?
Now, once these probable solutions with the anticipated outcomes are presented to each member of the group we can move on to the next step.
The next step. The group members must make the effort to seek agreement upon one solution, it can also be two solutions. You as a leader must strive to seek agreement on one probable solution or maybe two. For example – as a group you have identified that 2 of the 4 probable solutions are extremely unacceptable, now you then eliminate those solutions. The whole process of seeking confirmation repeats with the rest of the two options available we just stated out in step number five.
Now, while as a group you must strive to agree upon on a said plan of action, if complications arise and you have identified that there is no agreement. You must make the effort to seek or contact various support services provided by the university. If as a group, there seems to be agreement on some set plan of action, seek individual consent and agreement on that particular plan of action. It just makes life easy.
Congratulations on reaching this stage of the resolution process, you as a group have already resolved the conflict. But this stage is very important. Why you ask? Well, it is important because this particular stage will help you to avoid the conflict to reoccur. How do we do that? Well, to do that we need to establish a follow up procedure.
Now, in this particular procedure, one member must either be elected or volunteer to take the responsibility of being the advocate of the individual members concerns. Now, this will ensure that if the conflict arises again the whole process of the conflict resolution can take place and if there does not seem to be any agreement on any solution, the group must consult the university support services.
Now, it is very important to note that a functional group on the concept of trust, accountability and responsibility. And this whole process of conflict resolution is also known as the Problem-Solving and Collaborative approach of conflict resolution.