The and development, therefore making teams more

The field of conflict resolution has been heavily
researched by professionals and therefore, there is abundant information
available. The concepts of conflict categories, collaborative conflict
management style and integrative negotiation strategy are chosen in this essay
because they are highly relevant to our team, and researches indicate that the
collaborative style and integrative negotiation approach are the most effective
conflict resolution strategy in many cases (White
et al., 2012, p. 193; Adair and Brett, 2005, p. 34). Therefore, exploring these
concepts would help the project team to manage conflicts for better

Many studies have provided clear insights into the
distinctions and effects of two main categories of conflict that occur in a team:
task and interpersonal conflicts. Task conflict is defined as different or
opposing viewpoints about issues related to the tasks and goals (Huang, 2010, p. 335), whereas interpersonal
conflict arises from “interpersonal incompatibilities” (Jehn, 1995, p.
Researchers in this field suggest that task conflicts could lead to better
performance, thanks to members expressing creativity and increasing attention
to task goals (Jehn, 1995, p. 45; Huang,
2010, p. 335; Bradley et al., 2012, p. 151).
Moreover, task conflicts encourage learning and development, therefore making
teams more innovative and effective (Van Woerkom and Van Engen, 2009, p. 384). In
contrast, interpersonal conflicts can damage team cohesion, communication and
collaboration, lead to dissatisfaction, hostility and absenteeism (Jehn, 1995, p. 45; Miller et al. 2015, p. 41).
Researches in this area also indicate that task conflict, although contributes
to improving performance, has the potential to escalate into interpersonal
conflict, causing negative effects on team. Task conflict can turn into or
cause interpersonal conflict through misattribution or misinterpretation,
including personal attack, hidden agendas or inappropriate behaviors that decrease
trust and satisfaction (Huang, 2010, p.
In times of conflicts, when individuals recognize and concern other
parties’ interests, they will be more likely to be cooperative to achieve
mutual agreed decisions (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2013, p. 107). Negative
emotions generated by conflicts can cause members to act irrationally, either
attacking others or withdrawing from the team, causing detrimental effects to
performance. However,
this does not mean teams must always avoid conflicts. De Dreu et al. (2001, p. 9), in their research paper, indicated that teams must not try to eliminate or
suppress conflicts as doing so reduces decision quality and communication. The
implication is that teams must find strategies to effectively manage conflicts
to extract their benefits. To reduce the linkage between task and
interpersonal conflicts and improve performance, a cooperative management style
is the most effective in comparison to the avoiding and competing styles (Huang
et al, 2010, p. 346). Cooperative approach is when everyone works to achieve a
mutually agreed decision that satisfies all parties’ interests (White et al.,
2012, p. 193). The project leader’s role is very important, as leaders who are
engaged, act as role models, consider members’ ideas and ensure fairness are
more likely to reduce conflicts. In addition, fostering strong interpersonal
relationships between members is also crucial as doing so will reduce
misinterpretation and misunderstandings, thus increasing team effectiveness (Almost, et
al., 2016, p. 1500). However, a collaborative effort might
not be useful in case members do not fully participate in the progress, and might
lead to dysfunctional behaviours such as groupthink (Huang et al, 2010, p.

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Experts in
the field of conflict resolution also point out that negotiation plays a very
important part in resolving conflicts.  Negotiation takes place when parties involved
cannot achieve what they want without others’ cooperation (Thompson et al., 2010, p. 491). According to Oetzel and
Ting-Toomey (2013), outcomes of negotiation are individual gains and joint
gains. Among the negotiation strategies, the integrative strategy is
the most effective as it helps parties to achieve insights of the task issues
as well as achieve joint gains, therefore achieving mutually acceptable
solutions (Adair and Brett, 2005, p. 34). What’s more, negotiation must be
carried out under “real-time pressure” since delays in the negotiation process
can negatively influence performance quality (Tambe & Jung, 1999, p. 86), meaning early
intervention is crucial to resolve conflicts.