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Conflict Resolution

For Team Members

Conflict is one of the drivers for improved team performance. Managed well, conflict can lead to better decisions, more creative ideas and higher quality output from the team. Managed badly, it can stop teamwork and hinder individuals from achieving their personal goals.

The most widely-used methods of resolving conflict are based on 'game theory'.

Game Theory

Game Theory is a complex and extensive science, but there are some simple elements that can be used in everyday dealings with people at work, including the following principles.

Everyone is trying to achieve some kind of "payoff" or benefit, but the payoff may be different for different people and organisations. Examples of 'payoffs' might be:

Getting your payoff is called a "win". Not getting your payoff is called a "lose".

I don't winI win
You winSubmission
You don't winWithdrawal

Types of Games

There are different types of games: In real life there are often many games taking place in parallel, some competitive and others cooperative. Problems arise when you play a cooperative game competitively (you can end up causing yourself problems), or a competitive game cooperatively (you can end up losing). A manager-employee collaboration, or collaboration between team members, is usually a cooperative game.

To play a cooperative game, you need to find ways of working where you get your payoff and your partner person/organisation gets their payoff. This is called a win-win position.

Where co-operative games (collaborations) fail this is often due to one of the following:

In the second part of this article, we describe a process that can be used to 'play games well' - ie a process focused on reaching a win-win solution.

Conflict Resolution Process

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©2013 Team Technology. Further articles/resources that may be of interest include: Personality Test, Personality Type Descriptions, Myers Briggs overview, The Basics of Team Building, What Career is Right for Me?, and Career ideas.