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Conflict Resolution and Team Dynamics

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Throughout the course of life, conflict seems to occur in many facets. From birth and through the childhood years, conflicts come through sibling rivalries and the testing of parental control. As the child grows, conflicts can occur with schoolmates and increase with parents through adolescence. Somehow and in someway, all of us have been able to learn from these experience and most function normally as adults.

Even as adults, conflicts arise. They may come in the form of domestic conflicts with a partner or spouse. Others come in occupational related environments with co-workers and business partners. So it would seem that conflict is a natural part of life. In contrasting conflict between children and faculty at the University of Georgia, Peter Shedd believes that conflict is derived from comfort in relationships.

"Why is it that siblings feel comfortable fighting in the family setting? I think the fundamental reason is that they are secure in that relationship. They know that nothing they say to one another is going to rupture the sibling relationship. Tenured faculty are also secure in their relationship. It gives them a degree of freedom to feel comfortable in creating conflict." (Shedd, 2005. p7)

A significant amount of research has been done on the subject of conflict and resolution of conflict. Authors of such research point to a variety of reasons and causes for conflict. Some list communication as the key to avoiding conflict. (Shedd, 2005. p7) Others make the case that awareness of others is the single most cause in conflict, and that when we are not aware of our surroundings or of others needs, we ourselves provide the root of conflict. (Pointon, 2005. p17)

Interestingly, much of the research accepts that conflict is inevitable and we as individuals can only control how conflict is managed. Ben Adkins, a corporate employee trainer and columnist for the Fort Worth Business Press suggests that being understanding, accepting others as they are, and have a positive self-esteem are the key tools to resolving conflict. (Adkins, 2005. Issue 3 p79)

As the corporate culture of the United States moves to the ideology of team based work groups, it is inevitable that conflict will arise. Assuming the theory of Shedd, teams may work well with one another thus developing strong relationships that will ultimately become more comfortable.



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