Causes, Mediators and Outcomes of Conflicts in Work Teams and Management Strategies – conclusion

As dynamics in the business world move towards working in teams, the importance of effective conflict management processes in a firm can never be overemphasized. However, conflicts being part and parcel of human interactions, the organisation of work into teams has necessitated entities to have effective conflict-management processes. More so, the rise of a multicultural workforce increases the risk of conflicts occurring in the workplace due to differences in values, perceptions and norms among cultures. As such, knowledge of the antecedents of conflicts in working teams and processes through which these are mediated can help to craft appropriate strategy for managing conflict in teams.

On the causes of conflicts, personal aspects such as beliefs and values that are in conflict with the overall team goals could lead to conflicts within the group. Interpersonal factors such as having an imposing team leader, contradictions between word and deed and intra group favoritism could result into conflicts. Factors that mediate conflicts in groups could be thought of in terms of hindering communication and cohesiveness necessary for positive performance. One such factor has been noted to be wide cultural differences that influence individual perceptions such as those relating to applicable ethical standards. When cultural diversity is not effectively managed in a team then the conflict resolution process would become complex

Cultural orientations have also been noted to influence the resolution style adopted. Whereas western cultures are noted to approach resolution from an individualistic point of view; collectivistic cultures such as those present in East Asia are associated with avoidance. What however is required for effective conflict resolution in teams is a “problem-solving” approach where people engaged in conflicts and its resolution exhibit high concern for both self and others. With such an approach an innovative conflict management strategy that transcends cultural barriers can be established. For such a problem solving approach to occur transformational leadership that encourages cohesiveness and self efficacy in the team is a prerequisite.


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