The task and interpersonal conflicts. Task conflict

The field of conflict resolution has been heavilyresearched by professionals and therefore, there is abundant informationavailable. The concepts of conflict categories, collaborative conflictmanagement style and integrative negotiation strategy are chosen in this essaybecause they are highly relevant to our team, and researches indicate that thecollaborative style and integrative negotiation approach are the most effectiveconflict resolution strategy in many cases (Whiteet al., 2012, p. 193; Adair and Brett, 2005, p.

34). Therefore, exploring theseconcepts would help the project team to manage conflicts for betterperformance.Many studies have successfully provided clear insightsinto the distinctions and effects of two main categories of conflict that occurin a team: task and interpersonal conflicts. Task conflict is defined asdifferent or opposing viewpoints about issues related to the tasks and goals (Huang, 2010, p. 335), whereas interpersonalconflict arises from “interpersonal incompatibilities” (Jehn, 1995, p. 45).Researchers in this field suggest that task conflicts could lead to betterperformance, thanks to members expressing creativity and increasing attentionto task goals (Jehn, 1995, p.

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45; Huang,2010, p. 335; Bradley et al., 2012, p. 151).

Moreover, task conflicts encourage learning and development, therefore makingteams more innovative and effective (Van Woerkom and Van Engen, 2009, p. 384). Incontrast, interpersonal conflicts can damage team cohesion, communication andcollaboration, lead to dissatisfaction, hostility and absenteeism (Jehn, 1995, p. 45; Miller et al.

2015, p. 41).Researches in this area also indicate that task conflict, although contributesto improving performance, has the potential to escalate into interpersonalconflict, causing negative effects on team. Task conflict can turn into orcause interpersonal conflict through misattribution or misinterpretation,including personal attack, hidden agendas or inappropriate behaviors that reducetrust and satisfaction (Huang, 2010, p. 335).In times of conflicts, when individuals recognize and concern otherparties’ interests, they will be more likely to be cooperative to achievemutual agreed decisions (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2013, p.

107). Negativeemotions generated by conflicts can cause members to act irrationally, eitherattacking others or withdrawing from the team, causing detrimental effects toperformance. However,this does not mean teams must always avoid conflicts.

De Dreu et al. (2001, p. 9), in their research paper, indicated that teams must not try to eliminate orsuppress conflicts as doing so reduces decision quality and communication. Theimplication is that teams must find strategies to effectively manage conflictsto extract their benefits. To reduce the linkage between task andinterpersonal conflicts and improve performance, a cooperative management styleis the most effective in comparison to the avoiding and competing styles (Huanget al, 2010, p. 346).

Cooperative approach is when everyone works to achieve amutually agreed decision that satisfies all parties’ interests (White et al.,2012, p. 193).

The project leader’s role is very important, as leaders who areengaged, act as role models, consider members’ ideas and ensure fairness aremore likely to reduce conflicts. In addition, fostering strong interpersonalrelationships between members is also crucial as doing so will reducemisinterpretation and misunderstandings, thus increasing team effectiveness (Almost, et al., 2016, p. 1500). However, a collaborative effort mightnot be useful in case members do not fully participate in the progress, and mightlead to dysfunctional behaviours such as groupthink (Huang et al, 2010, p.349).Experts inthe field of conflict resolution also point out that negotiation plays a veryimportant part in resolving conflicts.  Negotiation takes place when parties involvedcannot achieve what they want without others’ cooperation (Thompson et al.

, 2010, p. 491). According to Oetzel andTing-Toomey (2013), outcomes of negotiation are individual gains and jointgains. Among the negotiation strategies, the integrative strategy isthe most effective as it helps parties to achieve insights of the task issuesas well as achieve joint gains, therefore achieving mutually acceptablesolutions (Adair and Brett, 2005, p.

34). What’s more, negotiation must becarried out under “real-time pressure” since delays in the negotiation processcan negatively influence performance quality (Tambe & Jung, 1999, p. 86), meaning earlyintervention is crucial to resolve conflicts.


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