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Project Management Leadership: Building Creative Teams, 2nd Edition by Rory Burke, Steve Barron

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Chapter 22

Conflict Resolution

Learning Outcomes
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
  • Recognize what constitutes a conflict situation in the workplace.
  • Recognize that conflict in the workplace can be a good thing.
  • Identify strategies to deal with workplace conflict.

Much of the work done to understand conflict situations involves knowledge of psychology. However, the leader needs to be aware of the nature of conflict, how it can be beneficial to project work and how to create an environment that avoids negative or damaging conflict situations. This chapter provides the basis for such understanding and strongly links to the next chapter, which introduces coaching styles that provide useful ways to deal effectively with conflict.

1. Conflict in the Workplace

In the workplace, conflict usually relates to people or groups having incompatible goals and an inability to resolve their differences. This means that it is difficult to find a mutually beneficial solution to a common problem. This kind of situation needs to be managed to prevent it getting out of hand. Management of conflict involves taking preventative measures as well as working to resolve any conflict once negative behavior is experienced.

Conflict often arises in competitive situations; for example, look at the behavior of supporters at some sporting events to get a sense of tension and the potential for conflict. When only one team can win, the other must lose. Though sporting teams can draw, achieving ...

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