Several structural approaches to conflict management are used by our Learning Team to both avoid conflict and to properly deal with existing conflict. According to McShane, minimizing dysfunctional conflict can be achieved through the emphasis of superordinate goals, differentiation reduction, improved communication, reduced task interdependence, increased resources and clear rules and procedures (McShane-Von Glinow, 2002). The learning team was evaluated under the structure introduced by McShane.
We considered as a team where we were successful in the use of conflict management tools. We emphasize superordinate goals as we focus on our similarities and goals as group rather than focusing on the differences in order to get the job done. Our team has discussed how it is more important to make sure the team assignments are done to the highest level of excellence more than the individual assignment. This is not to say an individual assignment is not important, instead when the grades of others are at risk it is important to consider the well-being of the group above oneself. Furthermore, interpersonal differences should not be dwelt upon when completing tasks. Reduction of Differentiation is commonly accomplished through “moving employees around to different teams” (McShane-Von Glinow, 2002).
Our team rotates between the roles of secretary, project leader, and team log drafter. These role differentiations have proven themselves as successful after weeks of work together. Communication and understanding are a team focus as our meetings start with open discussion on topics and “I feel” statements are used if a conflict arises. Task interdependence is as minimal as possible, even in group projects.
The team discusses the topics then, each person is assigned a different role. The paper is then reviewed by a project leader who makes final editions. Each person knows their role and makes the active decision to not impede on another’s role. The team has effective distribution of resources as we all have access to the internet and any item that is needed can be instantly downloaded or attached on an email to another group member. Finally, via our team charter, rules and procedures were successfully implemented starting day one of our learning team development.
Though, it is evident that our team has managed to keep conflict to a minimal, there are some ideas that our team would like to implement to further increase conflict management skills that will help avoid inevitable conflicts. Most of the tools we would like to implement fall under the category of improving communication and understanding. Though this may seem odd as a lot of the current tools and procedures used by the group fall under improvement of communication and understanding, communication is by far one of the most essential parts of a successful team.
An example of a beginning problem was the team would try to avoid conflict and suppress it rather than going through the storming stage. Conflict should be embraced as a way to come to a common decision and understanding. The second thing we as a team would like to do differently would be to implement team building activities, whether it be going to eat together, or talking over coffee after a team meeting. Though, our team feels like our conflict management tools are effective they are always subject to change.
Redesign of Learning Team Charter After careful assessment of our team composition and performance, it was agreed that the strategies in our current learning team charter align us with collective and individual growth and success. Our complimentary personalities and MBA program commitment abates most counterproductive issues associated with team development. The critical factors of respecting individual and team needs were addressed during the commencement of team formation and thereby established member affirmation of team management initiatives and goals.