Conflict Management

First of all, conflict is described as the expressed struggle of interconnected parties who perceive incompatible goals and interference from each other in attaining certain goals (Rothwell). The book describes two major types of conflict, constructive and destructive conflict.

Destructive Conflict- characterized by domination, escalation, retaliation, competition and inflexibility (Rothwell) Constructive Conflict- characterized by a we-orientation, cooperation, and flexibility (Rothwell) However there are other types of conflict in which the book touches on, those are: Task conflict- conflicts concerning disagreements over the content of task being carried out Task conflicts generally have a positive outcome to it.

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High disagreement in a group usually results into better understanding of the certain task therefore producing a better outcome. Examples include: – Juror #8’s ‘not guilty’ vote during the preliminary vote. This opened the door for the group to discuss the case and re-examine the evidence, resulting into a unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdict, favoring the defendant. Examination of the murder weapon, re-enactment of the old man’s testimony (regarding seeing the defendant running down the stairs after the killing), and analyzing the woman’s testimony that she saw the defendant stab the victim through the L-train windows Relationship Conflict- conflicts concerning the interpersonal animosities and tensions between individuals themselves rather than the task at hand Relationship conflicts between group members generally have a negative outcome to it.

Relationship conflict lowers task performance by distracting members’ attention and reducing each individual’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Examples include: – Most parts of the movie showed relationship conflicts, this was visible in the behavior of the jurors. Although most of these relationship conflicts easily de-escalated, some of the stronger relationship conflicts remained. The relationship conflicts between jurors #3 and #10 versus the rest of the group stayed steady throughout much of the movie. Interestingly, the relationship conflict among the jurors helped them or made them realize that the facts presented in court during the trial were not accurate and that there was a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not guilty of the charges. Values Conflict- conflicts cause by perceived and/or actual incompatible beliefs; values that people use to give meaning to their daily lives Values conflicts or conflicts of beliefs arise when people attempt to force one set of values on others or lay claim to certain values or beliefs that do not allow or are not appropriate. One good example of conflict of values or beliefs is when juror #7 changed his vote to ‘not-guilty’ and when asked why he said it was because he had had enough. In response, juror #11 approached him and told him to do the right thing and that he should vote ‘not guilty’ only if he truly believed that the defendant was not guilty, not simply because he had had enough and had a ticket to a baseball game. Approaches to conflict and principles of conflict management: There are several different styles of approaching conflict, these include: Collaborating- a win-win style of managing conflict.

Approach in which both parties attempt to find ways of solving the problem Accommodating- also sometimes referred to as ‘Yielding’ and is a win-lose style of conflict management. Accommodating results in one party accepting the other party’s solution to the problem Compromising- a lose-lose style of conflict management in which both parties sacrifice something in order to achieve the goal that both parties are working for Avoiding- also sometimes referred to as ‘Withdrawing’ and is a lose-lose style of conflict management.

When a party avoids the situation, both parties lose at the potential to completely solve the problem, sacrificing a resolution for all Competing- also sometimes referred to as ‘Power or Force’ and is win-lose situation. In a situation where one party competes with the other, they often force their ideas or goals onto the other party and the other party is therefore defeated, lessening the value of the group’s relationship as a whole Examples include: – Juror #3 and #10 approached conflicts by yelling and disagreeing with anything that went against their stance of guilty.

They were using offensive communication patterns, which constitute destructive conflict. – Juror #8 was using means of constructive conflict. He was being flexible and cooperative in explaining his ‘not guilty’ verdict to the rest of the jurors. When faced with adversity or different scenarios, he carefully considered the opposing statements and proved them to be wrong or at least put doubt in the other jurors minds – Juror #2 approached conflict by being accommodating at first. He just thought the boy was guilty and didn’t know why.

It was a result of groupthink in which he felt the need to agree with the majority of the group – Juror #1, who is supposed to be the foreman, makes feeble attempts at being a leader. A lot of avoiding techniques were used by him, so the other jurors wouldn’t argue or fight – Juror #5 was very passive at the beginning. He did not make an attempt until to argue any points until the evidence of the switchblade was being discussed which was honorable on his part considering that he was educated in the common usage of a switchblade – Juror #3 was very competitive.

He kept interrupting and ambushing any opposing facts How conflicts develop: Reasons for why conflicts begin, nature of the conflict and the nature of the relationship Conflict development- Conflicts arise when not all members of a party are satisfied with the goal or a goal cannot be met for an assigned task (this may happen due to a various reasons) Nature of the conflict- Finding reasons for why there is conflict is necessary in solving it.

The conflict can stem from the content of the conflict or the relationship Nature of the relationship- Are the conflicts not related to the task and are they solely conflicts within the relationships? The nature of relationship may also depend on how the conflict has developed or it may serve as reasons for why the conflict is continuing to be provoked Examples include: – majority of the jurors conflicts were content issues – juror #3 was struggling for power over the jury to stray to a guilty vote – minor conflicts can spiral into major conflicts due to things ike stress, being faced with conflict and possible failure, or even working for conditions like the heat – group members have a tendency to overreact when threats or offenses are perceived for members with more power – overreaction can have a ripple effect or chain reaction on the whole group – juror #3 spends much of his time arguing and yelling at the jurors voting not guilty in an attempt to bully them to change their vote to guilty in hopes of winning a guilty verdict – with the combination of stress from the case, the heat, and overall discomfort, the jurors lashed out at one another, therefore initiating conflict – when other jurors tried to convince juror #3 that the boy on trial was not guilty, he spiraled out of control and started yelling at everything, even to the extent of ripping up the picture of he and his son in sheer frustration – juror #3’s acts seemed too dramatic for the other jurors and also made them uncomfortable enough to leave the table

Escalation and De-escalation of conflicts and whether or not they were resolved Escalation- beginning or opening of conflict, the disagreement that transforms into the problem De-escalation- point after the climax has been reached, the time in which the excitement of the conflict has ended and a resolution is soon to take place Resolution- an end to the struggle, settling the conflict, reaching an agreement Examples include: Escalation: -the conflict between the jurors was a destructive conflict because: -there was lot of shouting -also some men were verbally aggressive -One man was even physically aggressive -actually everybody was angry some were really furious, and some other were less furious -for example, #3 and #10 were mostly in charge of the conflict because they were yelling and verbally aggressive at those jurors who believed that the boy might be not guilty -they did not want to listen to them -thought that the boy is guilty and it cannot be the other way -#10 became physically aggressive because he was angry at the architect -but some jurors stopped him to prevent fighting -in addition, there were conflict spirals that escalated the conflict De-escalation/resolution: -there were lot of escalations, thus it needed to be deescalated and resolved -some jurors used the method smoothing which means calming down for example, #1 was a coach got angry because he thought that a certain person was not satisfied with his job a leader, he wanted to give up his position -but a juror came up to #1 and tried to calm him down -the juror and everybody else told him that they were satisfied with his job and that he should stay as the leader -also there was confrontation -which means like trying to solve the problem -for example, at the end #3 was the only person left who believed still that the boy was guilty -#8 tried to talk with him about it – but he yelled, trying to convince everybody that he is right -everybody was starring at him -after all he gave up -the conflict was resolved Conclusion and conflict management within the movie The film, 12 Angry Men represented many types of conflicts and the ways in which they were managed.

The film included the different types of conflict that occurred in the film, both constructive and destructive conflict and how each attributed to the goal that was ultimately reached. It also had displays of the different approaches to conflict management and the different principles of conflict management, including accommodating, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and competing which were executed by each of the different members of the jury. And the entire film was able to show us ways in which many different conflicts developed, then escalated, de-escalated, and finally came to a resolution. The film provided us with scenarios in which we could find ways to relate to how and when we can encounter conflicts, how to recognize them, and hopefully ways to solve them.