Group Behaviour & Conflict
Any organization that is larger
than one person is a group, and anywhere where there is more than
one person there is bound to be different ideas, behaviours
and interests, which can create conflict.
Groups are defined as people that see themselves as a unit. Groups
provide rewards to the members and anything affecting one member
affects the entire groups. A common goal is shared amongst the
members. Group effectiveness is impacted
by certain factors:
* Group cohesiveness (how well the members all get along)
* Interdependence (how much each member relies on their other
members to reach their goal)
* Composition (what type of people and how the group is made up)
* Context and resources (what situation is the group in and what
resources do they have available to them to help them to reach
* Members abilities
* Norms (the expected behaviours and attitudes of group members)
There are certain problems that can arise from a group type structure:
Polarization: This occurs when the attitudes of a group
become extreme - especially towards either risky or conservative
positions (i.e., racial ideas etc.)
Social Loafing: This is the absence of individual effort
amongst the groups efforts, when a person is not contributing
their fair share to the group, thinking that others will pick
up their slack.
Groupthink: This occurs when a group sacrifices critical
thinking in order to only have agreement on everything.
With any group, conflict
is bound to occur (unless Groupthink has occurred). Conflict is
the opposition of persons or forces, and this opposition gives
rise to tension amongst the group members. Conflict is a natural
state of affairs - it is bound to happen and in some places it
may even be beneficial - in certain amounts and certain types.
People deal with conflict differently. Competitive handling styles
are when a person puts there concerns first and only wants to
win. Accommodative handling occurs when someone will give in,
in order to satisfy others. Sharing handling occurs when there
is a 50/50 compromise. Collaborative handling is when people try
to satisfy both sides. Finally, avoidant handling is when someone
withdraws in order to avoid the conflict.
There are some causes for conflict.
Conflict can arise when there is competition for resources, when
people are dependent upon others in order to get a task finished,
when there is a misunderstanding or ambiguity about something,
when there are communication barriers that prevent full communication
and when personalities clash.
Depending on what type of conflict
it is, conflict can be good or bad. Functional conflict is conflict
that supports the goals of the group and improves its performance.
Dysfunctional conflict is that which hinders group performance.