What Is a Group Conflict?

Osmand Vitez

Group conflict occurs when the social behavior of individuals in a large setting does not result in agreement. Among the most common reasons for this conflict are miscommunication or misinformation, differences in needs or priorities, differences in values and perceptions, or structural conditions. Companies must find ways to overcome group conflict to avoid disruptive activities that restrict normal business operations. Dealing with these situations requires specific activities or corrections in order to reverse the conflict.

Identifying the source of group conflict is the start of removing it from a business.
Identifying the source of group conflict is the start of removing it from a business.

Identifying the source of group conflict is the start of removing it from a business. Owners and managers need to discover which of the previously mentioned issues is the source of group conflict. Each source will have its own remedy. In some cases, it may be difficult to remedy the conflict if it is a personal issue or a difference in values. A human resource department may be able to help resolve conflict and ensure that the company does not cross any legal boundaries.

Different methods for resolving group conflict are often possible. Methods include avoiding conflict, accommodating others to reach a solution, and compromising with others; competing in order to win the conflict and collaborating to seek a better solution are still further options. Each method has its pros and its cons. Individuals may choose their own personal method for resolving group conflict even though it may be against company policy. Companies often create a policy or system to rectify conflict in order to prevent personal agendas.

Conflict resolution often follows a series of steps to ensure each situation is handled properly. First, individuals may be asked to avoid attacking others and asking questions at any time. Second, each party can spend some time venting about the group conflict. Third, a summary or restatement of key points is necessary to evaluate the situation at hand. Finally, shared solutions need presenting, with the best one possible selected as the answer to resolve the conflict.

Solving conflict is not always easy. Companies will always have problems so long as they have employees, whether the individuals work in groups or on their own. Probing individuals on their conflict recognition and solution skills is a common process during interviews. This is a proactive managerial process that helps prevent the addition of employees prone to conflict. In some cases, interview questions serve the purpose of eliminating candidates who answer conflict questions inappropriately.

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