Role of Conflict in Group Process

Task: Plan and compose a reflection essay on group conflicts.
Essay Topic: Writer's choice
Essay Type: Reflection essay
Length: 5 pages
Formatting: APA
Requirements: Write a 4-paragraph essay with your reflections on group conflicts.
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Introduction: My Learning Perspective

According to Smith (2005), conflict is a misunderstanding between two parties, groups, or individuals common to all levels of social organizations such as religious, gangs, nations and ethnic groups. The parties involved perceive an imminent threat to their concerns, values, interests, and needs. Conflict can be a constructive element in the group since it challenges the group members to think beyond their daily routine boundaries. Indeed, conflict brings about a number of benefits to the disagreeing parties, which include increased participation of group members to decision-making, provision of better information, and making of creative choices.

In case a conflict develops, and every aggrieved party plays a role in the decision making it results to the group adopting practical decisions. Further, conflict in a group brings about diversity in perspectives, experiences, values, lifestyle, and education- elements that can enrich the group’s ideas, discussions, and goals. Some of the conflicts lead to open discussions where parties share information to clarify and verify its content to provide the parties with reliable information. Importantly, the group should resolve all the tensions and conflicts arising among its members and use the learning experience gained to improve its work. A conflict is constructive if the resolution adopted by the aggrieved party’s results in the group making improved choices and creative resolutions. Additionally, conflict leads to a better understanding of people and issues in a group as well as creative ways of taking advantage of opportunities and solving problems (Van Scotter et al., 2011). Further, a group leader should help all members to understand the basic skills of handling conflicts as these may help to propel the group into high levels of effectiveness in workplaces.

Personal Evaluation: Group Processes

Indeed, as a group leader, I had a responsibility to precisely define the scope of the presentation, document suggestions from team members and develop the structure of presenting the message. Additionally, I had to provide all the required supporting evidence that proves the reliability of the emphasized data. In this respect, the group members had to use the strategic planning tool of team-based conflicts to assess its effectiveness in generating ideas and the impact it could have on the intended audience. The “co-evolutionary war gaming” concept developed by Cares and Miskel (2007), is the basis of these conflicts where team-members face the challenge of brainstorming each other with the controversial questions that could lead to the possible creative solutions (Cares and Miskel, 2007, p. 21). Eventually, I had to create two opponent teams where one group performed the task of asking questions to the simulated competitive rival and the other performed the task of its opponent. Eventually, both teams traded places from time-to-time, in order to have the opportunity of experiencing the challenge of brainstorming the questions. As a result, the groups work process experienced the selective pressure of conflict where the possible chances of failure is a manifestation of the possible corrective actions to the decision-making process.

On one hand, the conflict arisi ng conditions that I experienced during this practice increased my awareness of the group-work interdependence. On the other hand, the conflict represented a complex problem when the participants had to go through disagreements and opposing viewpoints. In particular, the benefits of the conflict-based discussions are concerned with the increased necessity of team-members to work more efficiently to reach workable alternatives. Indeed, the workable alternatives helped us proactively to oversee the pitfalls of ineffective informational disclosure. Notably, applying consistence with the context of typical patterns of team conflict, the experience of our team was effective in terms of the emergence of positive discussion outcomes since the nature of simulation technique allowed us not to experience “routine” and “relationship conflict” on the individual interactive level (“The Two Sides of Conflict”, n.d.). Arguably, the positive experience from this type of interaction is vital in the generation of sufficient level of detail and its support with the respective amount of evidence collected by the means of the conflict-escalating discussions that encouraged participants to prove the reliability of the suggested details.

The negative experience of the discussion was absence of constructive feedback to the disclosed information and participants’ unwillingness or reluctance to engage in the discussions. According to the “Johari Window” context, conflict-based discussions have a tendency to provoke the development of “group-think” or “risky-cautions shift” when participants chose to fragment relevant information in order to avoid biases associated with the proposed solutions (Smith, 2005, n. p.). Consequently, the team-members may experience “group conflict perceptual asymmetry” when there is different conflict perception among team-members in terms of individual level values and assumptions (Jehn et al., 2010, p. 596). As a result, the negative experiences we ex perienced towards conflicting discussions aimed at with adopting versions of risky choices by group-members when they withheld relevant information or became personally related to the content of conflicting discussions. These aspects impeded our appropriate decision-making initiatives in terms of framing and tailoring of the presentation details.

My Role in the Group Process

Just like any other group-work, hierarchical-structured model was the basis of my experience in presentation development where the overall group performance concentrated with the leader’s positioning within the context of social structure of the group. I was responsible for the functions of the subordinate and my role behavior was to coordinate the conflicting discussions and the direction towards the possible resolving outcomes. Further, I had to select the basic information provided by the group-members during the discussion and provide the draft of the generated ideas as the solutions to the problems in question. Consequently, the context of “the expectation states theory,” of group-members’ traits that provided team support would surpass subordination to perform task-related obligations. In such a situation, the subordinates’ role behavior creates positive social influence on the conflict-escalating nature of group-work (Van Scotter et al., 2011, p. 23). Essentially, I had the task of selecting domain framework and documenting conceptual data needed to frame the discussed ideas- used during the storyline preparation – and evolving my cognition around the controversial suggestions of group members. In this respect, my role was to act in agreeable terms with both conflicting sides and trying to excerpt the relevant information from their disagreeing and provoking questions and statements.

My Contribution to the Group Process

Given the knowledge of the performance-based cognitive processes involved in the conflicting discussions, I assisted the group process through discovering fundamental strategies needed to establish the logic between every link of the presentation. Indeed, the fundamental strategies helped to select the supporting evidence of the proposed ideas needed in the group process. In the context of group dynamics theory, I employed the concept of “relative responsibility allocation” when the group-members lacked direct experience with “the task-led conflicts.” Eventually, the concept allowed the team members to eliminate the separation between the decision-making and process implementation activities, and direct the group process to the conformity (Burnette & Forsyth, 2008, p. 218). As a result, I was able to filter the given information and draft it concisely for the review of the group-members, considering that I did not experience informational fluctuations during conflict-based discourse. Additionally, I contributed to the last analytical stage of the presentation by providing the worst and the best ideas relevant to the topic of the presentation.

In future projects, the experience of co-evolutionary war games of conflicting discussions , may improve the involvement of impartial leadership when the benefits of conflict turn into the workable strategies. From the perspective of “the closed group” decision-making dynamics, this type of leadership involvement helps to reduce the complexity of manipulation associated with the conflicting discussions. Additionally, employing decision-making dynamics in tension situations may benefit the opposing team members and enhance interdependence of the work-group in terms of strategic re-creation of the process implementation (Burnette and Forsyth, 2008, p. 220). With the provision of differentiating value that comes along with the impartial leadership, the group-work process based on the conflicting discussions would help to eliminate participants cognitive dissonance and fear of failure associated with the inappropriate suggestions. Arguably, these suggestions are the possible corrective actions and this approach would help to increase sharing of responsibility for the outcomes of the suggested solutions and enhance group unity.


Indeed, the involvement of task-led conflicts within the concept of co-evolutionary war games in the group-work presentation development process is important. Notably, the concept allowed the team members to generate many creative ideas and turn worst suggestions into the corrective actions. Further, the conflict-based discussions enabled the group members to create and capture the value of the message for the intended audience. Additionally, the discussions enabled the team members to select the most possible amount of the supporting evidence that proved the reliability of our arguments. Unfortunately, we did not include share responsibility for the presentation development outcomes in the discussion. Consequently, failure to include the share responsibility resulted in an asymmetry in the conflict perception of the group-members from competing teams when those who had to respond to the controversial questions resisted appropriate informational disclosure. Indeed, the presence of the intermediary who acted as conflict-evaluating agent helped to eliminate group members’ fear of failure and allowed to re-create potential solutions to operational strategies.


Burnette, J. L. & Forsyth, D. R. (2008). “I didn’t do it:” Responsibility Biases in Open and Closed Groups. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice, 12 (3), 210-222. Retrieved from
Cares, J., & Miskel, J. (2007). Take your third move first. Harvard Business Review, 85 (3), 20-21. Retrieved from
Jehn, K., Rispens, S. & Thatcher, S.M. (2010). The effects of conflict asymmetry on work group and individual outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 53 (3), 596-616. Retrieved from
Smith, M. K. (2005). Bruce W. Tuckman – forming, storming, norming and performing in groups, the encyclopaedia of informal education. Infred. Retrieved March 17, 2014 from
The Johari Window: Using self-discovery and communication to build trust. (n.d.). Mindtools. Retrieved March 17, 2014 from
The Two Sides of Conflict. (n.d.) Team Building. Retrieved March 17, 2014 from
Van Scotter, L., Sillers, D. A. & Renge, V. (2011). A multi-level examination of supervisors’ and subordinates’ personality and role behavior: Implications for work group effectiveness. Baltic Journal of Psychology, 12 (1, 2), 22-45. Retrieved from

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