Factors causing the conflict
The main cause of conflict in this team is due to the diversity in the team’s composition. The team has seven members, with six being female and one male. Regarding the racial composition, there are two African-American members, one Hispanic and four Caucasian. In the most recent conflicts in this team, some members have made the environment tense by making discriminatory accusations based on race, culture, social status, and religion. This has created an environment that is hindering harmonious operation within the team.
While diversity within a team is known to enrich the team’s abilities its poor management may be detrimental to the successful operation of the team. Greater diversity in the workplaces increases the risk of misunderstanding and conflict. Even when not conducted with malicious intent, conflict can emerge where situations may be interpreted differently due to difference caused by diversity.
The conflict in this team had previously been caused by the difference in ideology. This was mainly based on the type of events that the organization sponsored. This may be caused by lack of clarity of clear mission and vision or failure to understand the core business that the organization operates in.
How conflict affects the organization
The conflict based on discrimination due to diversity creates instances of dominant and marginalized groups. The social identity groups, in this case, are based on the gender composition as well as racial identity. About gender-based grouping, the women in this team are the dominant group as they make up six out of the seven members. In racial grouping, the Caucasian make of four of the seven members. The situation creates an unbalanced distribution of power where dominant groups tend to use their power to influence and control resources within the organization by establishing sanctions, rules, laws, policies, standards, values and expectation. In this organization, the marginalized group may develop a feeling of unworthiness since their opinions are not regarded and in most cases may be out ruled. It, therefore, becomes difficult to work in a scenario where the marginalized group feels like there are denied privilege and subjected to harm without any resource (Brazzel, 2003).
The conflict in this organization is becoming destructive to the success of the organization. This is because the members’ energy and time are diverted into conflict instead of being focused on other productive activities. In this case, the conflict affects the operations in the organization by creating interpersonal hostility causing the group member to stop being unwilling and even unable to work with each other. The unresolved conflicts in the organization have escalated from conflicts based on ideological differences in diversity-related conflicts which affect the harmonious co-existence within this organization (Ongori, 2009).
Conflict Resolution Style
The game theory offers insights into game theory where people engaged in a conflict are considered as being engaged in attempts to receive or attain a payoff in a conflict situation. The payoff is called a win while failing to attain it is referred to a loss. In this organization, the conflict is escalated on the choice of projects funded by the organization. It is clear that some people win while others lose in having the projects of their choice used by the organization. (Hiemer, 2006).
In resolving the conflict in this leadership team, the best resolution style to apply is the collaboration style. This conflict resolution style requires taking a broad step and a lot of consideration. Promoting the art of collaboration requires helping all the parties engaged to listen to each other. This helps them, discuss the areas related to the objectives, agreements, and goals of the organization. Through collaboration, the parties can better understand each other. This conflict management style will require taking a creative thinking approach and ensuring that the problem is solved without concessions.
The process of collaboration requires that all parties in the organization ensure that they understand the concerns of other parties as well as express their concerns to ensure reaching an amicable understanding. This method aims at reaching a mutual understanding with compete solution thereby creating a win-win situation. It is an integrative process that may include synergy of ideas, beliefs, and feelings to produce an optimal outcome for all parties. Solutions that produce a win-win solution makes all parties appreciated and thereby committed to the action plan that the party settles upon. Through this resolution styles, the environment is maintained as a cooperative as opposed to a competitive one (Eilerman, 2007).
The scenario of competitive prevents the efforts of interaction among the team members in a collaborative manner. The presence of social dynamics in the team often inhibits the inclinations towards collaboration. Attempts to promote a collaborative culture requires a mature, and open-minded perspective where everybody in the organization adopts a mentality that all is being done to achieve a greater good. The parties will be required to look beyond their emotional drive of engaging in competition but rather choose to work together in creating a solution.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Resolving this conflict will first require a realization that collaboration is high in assertiveness high in cooperation. This will work best for this team as the issues at stake and quality of relationships, in this case, are relevant and highly important to all parties. The first strategy will be bringing all team members on board and making them understand the importance of collaborating for the well-being of the organization. The members will be prompted to have the willingness to trust each other, and openly listen to alternative and ideas. The team members will need to be meant to understand and learn how to be concerned with achieving a desirable outcome and not just being focused on their individual goals.
To promote the culture of collaboration amongst these team members, I would propose taking them to team building retreat for one week away from the job environment. In this retreat, the team members will be engaged in activities that would prompt them to work together and collaborate in doing things together. The best environment to do this is in the outdoor settings where the survival of the member will depend on the contribution of each member. This will help in improving collaborative, and the team will learn skills that they can apply once they are back in the office.
Another key strategy that I would use with this team is promoting the process and quality of conversation amongst the team members. In an organization characterized by diversity-related conflict resolution, there is a complex mix of individual characteristics, self-identity, group identity and awareness which when combined causes vulnerability and risk. Engaging in a conversation with the parties helps to ensure that all underlying issues are brought to light, and a solution arrived at (Woods, 2010).
The aim of this conflict resolution process is to end the conflicts occurring within the team that even threats the success of the organization. By adhering to the strategies proposed above the outcomes expected include; promoting a sense of collaboration where the team members are ready to help each other out in attaining the goals of the organization. The team members will learn to treat and address each other with respect despite their differences in their diversity. The result of all this process will be a win-win situation where all parties will feel appreciated and part of the team.
Brazzel, M. (2003). Diversity Conflict and Diversity Conflict Management . Handbook of Diversity Management , 363-406.
Eilerman, D. (2007). Win/Win Solutions/ The Role of Collaboration in Resolving Problems.
Hiemer, A. (2006). Conflict Resolution . RN Journal .
Ongori, H. (2009). Organisational Conflict and its Effects on Organization Perfomance. Research Journal of Business Management , 16-24.
Woods, S. (2010). Thinking about Diversity-Related Conflict: Respect, Recognition and Learning. Working Paper.
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