Although the word “conflict” often has a negative connotation, disagreement among group members on issues can improve a groups decision making and is generally viewed as a positive influence. Conflict is, by nature, interactive. This interactive nature results in a cycle of initiation-response-counterresponse (Folger & Poole, 1984). Communication plays a central role in this cycle in three ways:
• Communication behavior often creates conflict.
• Communication behavior reflects conflict.
• Communication is the vehicle for the productive or destructive management of conflict (Hocker & Wilmot, 1991, p. 13).
In groups, conflict over issues is positive if handled in a productive way and generally means that members are paying ...