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

To provide a good working environment, firms must find ways to resolve interpersonal conflicts that arise. Not having a conflict resolution mechanism within the entity would undermine the entity’s progress since conflicts are a basic characteristic of all human interaction and thus bound to occur also in an organizational set up (Lang, 2009). The fact that organizations have begun to appreciate the importance of teams in driving an entity’s success implies that the importance of conflict resolution has become more pronounced for contemporary firms. Accepting the fact that individuals cannot always have a common perspective regarding various business processes has lead to a shift of mindset from conflict elimination to conflict management (Lang, 2009). As such, to ensure efficiency in the internal processes of an entity in the increasingly team-ordered work environment, employees need to be acquainted with skills to resolve conflicts harmoniously at the work place (Lang, 2009).

To manage conflicts better, the causes, processes through which they are mediated and outcomes of conflicts to an organization must be well understood. Whereas some conflicts result from personal factors such as person-role conflict, inter-sender conflicts and inter-role conflict, others are between or among persons (interpersonal), between or among groups (intergroup) and between or among organizations (inter-organizational conflicts; Wall & Callister, 1995). Person-role conflicts occur when pressures from colleagues contravene one’s beliefs and values, while inter-sender conflicts results when multiple role demands cannot be achieved concurrently (Wall & Callister, 1995). For the inter-role variety, the conflict arises out of the person’s occupancy of more than one role such as the often-perceived conflict between work and family duties (Wall & Callister, 1995). Therefore, a conflict could be explained to involve two opposing forces that create friction such as roles, perspectives and opinions (Wall & Callister, 1995). The concern of this paper will be to discuss the conflicts that occur between or among people working in teams with emphasis on cross-cultural interpersonal conflicts. The causes of such conflicts, the processes through which they are mediated, and their outcomes when and when not effectively managed will be evaluated. Finally, the paper will evaluate the process through which organizations can better their conflict resolution mechanisms. Go to part 2 here.

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