Often times, conflict can be anything from a simple disagreement to an all out war. It can be observed in small groups when two or more people express differing and incompatible ideas. For example, if one person in the group wants to do something one way and another disagrees, the result, conflict. There are a number of ways to solve these problems. Here are a few that researchers suggest: focus on interests, not positions; parties must be willing to discuss issues, and compromise. If these problems are not dealt with, it often makes more problems for the group than needed.
Groupthink represents a failure in the group's critical thinking process- the failure to express doubts, disagreements, and conflict within the group. As a result, the group's decision is flawed because it is made with partial information and has not been examined carefully. Most times this occurs when group members have doubts or reservations and keep them to themselves. Because of this, the group is deprived of total and complete input from all members. Some symptoms of groupthink are the group becomes close-minded members feel pressure to conform; and they overestimate their power as a whole. Along with conflict, groupthink can also be harmful to small groups and their decision making process.
What is conflict?
Conflict can range from a simple disagreement to a war. You can observe conflict in a small group when two or more people express differing and incompatible ideas. For example, Anne suggests that her group presents a skit for its presentation, but John feels that skits are childish. That conflict must be resolved somehow in order for the group to complete its task of making a class presentation. Most of the conflicts one experiences in small groups will be like this one, and disagreements can become heated.
What are some myths about conflict ?
There are a number of myths that should be looked at when dealing in small groups.
Conflict is harmful and should be avoided.
conflict can cause hurt feelings and in some cases can cause a group to
dissolve, there are also some positive aspects to conflict. First, conflict
can help a group understand the issues surrounding a decision or problem
more completely than if the initial disagreements are not expressed. Second,
conflict can improve a group's decisions. A logical outcome of members
understanding an issue more clearly is an improvement in the group's decision
Conflicts usually do not stem from misunderstandings and lack of communication.
all conflicts occur from misunderstandings. One example of this would be
if all of us had to hand in a "detailed" outline. When they were all submitted,
one of us was reprimanded for not having a "detailed" enough outline. However,
the definition of "Detailed" was not clearly explained. Therefore, not
only was this a misunderstanding, but a failure to communicate clearly.
All conflicts can be resolved if parties are willing to discuss the issues.
As we can see, not all conflicts are resolvable.Whether or not a conflict can be resolved depends on the parties involved and the reason for the conflict. For instance, conflicts involving moral issues cannot be resolved because of differences in assumptions and values. Conflicts over such things as goal reaching within the group are easier to resolve because the basic values and goals are the same, so group members are more likely to see each other as allies rather than enemies which makes it easier to resolve the conflict.
Conflict Management Styles
Avoidance- this occurs when any group member chooses not to disagree or to bring up a conflicting point. It is the basis of groupthink- members choose to go along with the crowd rather than bring up potential problems or disagree with the favored decision or proposal. This style can also be appropriate at times when the issue is not important to the group. The refusal to speak up at these times can often be positive because it will avoid a conflict rather than spark one.
Accommodation- this is also called "appeasement" or "giving in". This occurs when one person gives into another without making much of an argument for a different point of view. One should be honest with themselves should they choose to accommodate. Don't give in if the issue is really important to the group or one's own interest. This can only hurt the group in the long run if not done with thought.
Collaboration- this is sometimes referred to as the "win-win" style of conflict management. This occurs when the people in the conflict are motivated to meet the opposing parties' needs along with their own needs. Collaboration assumes that individuals will argue strongly for their points of view. They make sure when arguing that they do not say anything that will harm the relationship, but make sure they get their point across.
Compromise- this represents a middle ground that can be called a partial-win solution for each party. Unlike the collaborative style, those using the compromising style give up something in order to get something in return. This style is typical for labor management and government bargaining.
What is groupthink?
It refers to the tendency of cohesive groups not to examine critically all aspects of a decision or problem the group is considering. It represents a specific failure in the group's critical thinking process-failure to express doubts, disagreements, and conflict within the group. As a result, the group's decision is flawed because it is made with partial information that has not been examined carefully.
What are some symptoms of groupthink?
The group becomes close minded. When this happens, the group members have a preferred course of action and ignore any information that will contradict their thinking process. This can back fire and lead to a major conflict with in the group.
Group members experience pressure to conform. Members can experience both internal and external pressures to go along with the group. This can happen in several ways. They can censor remarks without apparent pressure from other members. When all other members of a group favor a certain course of action, most people are hesitant to express their doubts.
The group becomes too cohesive. Group moral and uniformity of opinion become very important to the group. The group begins to conform together and act alike rather than voicing their own opinions.
How Do We Prevent groupthink?
a norm of critical evaluation. Th most important thing a
leader can do to prevent groupthink is to establish a group norm to evaluate carefully and critically all information and reasoning.
the insulation of the group. Groupthink often occurs when group members
become so cohesive and caught up in their own ideas that they become insulated
from external opinion.
For more information on Groupthink Click here:
Symptoms of Groupthink
What is Groupthink ?