- 30 Mar 2011
The main conclusion of our research is embodied by the term 'awareness'. In all of our fields we are unable to create a step-by-step guide. However, insight in the topics combined with common sense is the solution to a better situation.
Different conflicts need different approaches. People have a conflict handling style
, a usual and consistent way of dealing with conflicts. In some cases people are not good at dealing with conflicts which for instance can be very tiresome or feed underlying anger. Even though no-one can be categorized exactly in the theoretical styles and no-one will always use the same style, it is really good to gain some information on the topic. Most importantly to recognize your own style and to be able to adapt it to the situation, instead of reacting in an instinctive way. When weighing your own goal and keeping in mind the relationship you have with the conflicting party you can approach conflicts in a more effective way.
What is most important to realize, is that everyone has a certain perception of gender. Whether it is of the opposite sex or the same, there are some stereotypical views that influence the way in which gender is perceived. In our literature research
we found that the perception of stereotypes is of great influence on people's behaviour. It is said that as soon as a man becomes aware of the stereotypcial perception of men, he will start to behave accordingly more so then when he is not aware of this stereotype. The literature made the same statement about women, who are said to behave more feminine and stereotypical once they are familiair with the female stereotype.
We found that once people start behaving according to the stereotypes, gender differences in groups are increased with this, the chance of conflict within the group is also increased. However, being aware of this phenomenon could encourage you take this into account. We believe that being aware of the influence of the perception of stereotypes on behaviour could stimulate you to not
behave according to your own stereotype and decrease the amount of conflict.
Therefore our advise to you is: Be aware of stereotypical perception of gender. Learn about the stereotypicial views and take them into account when you are working in a group. We believe it could help to prevent conflicts based on gender differences.
There are many differences between different cultures. Cultural diversity could generate tension within a team and even turn into a conflict. Preventing affective conflict caused by cultural diversity starts with awareness of the intercultural differences.
Instead of knowing all the key factors of every culture, one should first be aware of his own culture. But knowing whether your culture is a F- or a G-culture is probably too crude and does not give guidelines on what might be the cause of a conflict. Getting to know your own culture in Hofstede's five cultural dimensions can prove more valuable, as you gain insight in where your culture is positioned in relation to others. When in multicultural environments you can then adapt your behavior to the 'average'. Try to loosen your blockaded when it comes to adapting to other values. For instance, when working with Asian people as a European, try to act more to the Asian collectivistic norm in respect to the European individualistic norm. In return you will get much more acceptation from your colleagues. There is no use in trying to impose your culture to the people around you. Being a bit more modest and open to other values is a great start in creating a good and workable environment.
Firstly, when using New Media, be aware that most of these services are public. It is cliche to mention, but a lot of people tend to forget this. Facebook status, a post on a forum, they can all be easily linked back to you. You would not be the first one to be fired for having an outrageous status update about how bad you hate your boss.
Secondly, be cautious on when to use e-mail. Never e-mail when you are mad, just save to draft and assess the situation later. Also keep in mind that it is hard to convince people via e-mail, so make an appointment with them using e-mail to later convince them in person.
Lastly, be aware of the fact that it is hard to show emotions during a chat session. Even emoticons can be interpreted differently by everyone.
When considering awareness on groupthink, it is difficult to see groupthink
when being part of the phenomenon. However, if you ask yourself the rethorical question: " Is it worth it to be part of a group that does not function properly?"
, on which the answer is "no". So if you are in a creative process with a team and everything seems to go very smooth, be alarmed, decisions might be made with too little discussion! The options below are conclusions from our studies(roleplay
and the conflict & proflict-study
) and build upon groupthink literature.
How to prevent groupthink from happening?
One of the options to prevent groupthink from happening is to divide the responsibilities between people, yet instead of giving each teammember a seperate responsibility, spread the responsibilities of multiple people, so there will be a double check.
Another option is to have an overview of all the stakeholders in the process. This varies from the clients to the users and from the team members to the production facilities. If solutions are assessed for all stakeholders' perspectives, the solutions will be critically examined. When in doubt about certain aspects, bring in that stakeholder for discussion. This way you ensure good decisionmaking.
The final conclusion regarding awareness and groupthink focuses on compromise. Designers are confronted with challenges within problems on a daily basis. Usually there is no perfect solution and there will always be a compromise within the design. If you keep track of the compromises as a group, it will be easier to rethink certain compromises, made early in the process, later on.