Conflict Management Styles Essay

638 Words Sep 15th, 2010 3 Pages
Kuhn, T., & Poole, M. (2000). Do Conflict Management Styles Affect Group Decision Making?. Human Communication Research, 26(4), 558.

Unlike most studies of conflict which are focused on the immediate outcomes of the conflict episode, the authors here have tried to prove through systematic investigation that conflict styles established early in a group’s life influence its later activities. The attention of the study is on conflict management rather than conflict resolution. To prove this, authors have proposed a hypothesis based on the effectiveness of three categories of group conflict management style: avoidance, distributive, and integrative styles. They also have a research question explaining the relationship among the level
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For each group, at least four episodes of conflict were selected from the recorded meetings, as was one meeting in which a decision was made. Both organizations were involved in quality improvement programs in which small decision-making groups played a significant role. The quality process included a facilitator assigned to help each team achieve the goals of the quality program.

Data were collected in two phases. In the first phase, four separate meeting were identified in which an episode of conflict occurred. Three independent observers viewed the meetings in which conflict occurred, and were asked to verify the existence of the conflict. In the second phase, meetings in which teams made meaningful decisions were identified and evaluated. After identifying a decision meeting, the observers viewed independently each meeting in its entirety.

To ensure systematic analysis of group conflict management style, the coding process was partitioned into three steps: (a) identification of four or more significant episodes of conflict, (b) coding the group’s response to the conflict in each episode, and (c) analysis of patterns in the coding across episodes to identify group conflict management style, if one existed. For decision making effectiveness, authors operationalized this variable by combining information from three sources—member, quality program facilitator, and external observer (a researcher)—to create an overall

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