- 09 Mar 2011
From conflict to proflict
How to turn conflicts into proflicts... that is what we want to know!
Because we are actually convinced that some conflicts are good. They can improve the quality of work and therefore, they might even be necessary sometimes. This idea was supported by the literature studies we did and we wanted to find out how we could provoke or stimulate good conflict within project teams.
In this research we have created sub-topics for in-depth studies. To start with defining conflict and the difference between proflict and conflict. We will also take a look at what happens without these two phenomena. Secondly how to handle conflicts, in what different ways do people react to conflict and what are appropriate ways of dealing with conflicts within a team? There are a lot of factors that have an effect on how people participate in social interaction, we selected two of those factors that seemed important and interesting to us: gender differences and cultural differences. These factors will affect conflict behaviour, both in creating proflicts and solving conflicts. The final sub-topic is communication, as in modern times there are many media to communicate through, yet they all influence conflicts in a different way.
The in-depth studies on the sub-topics have led to a study on conflict and proflict, performed with industrial design and architecture students working in groups. Here we wanted to see what influence some variables can have on the conflict/proflict in a projectgroup and the influence the conflict/proflict then has on the result of the group.
All of the above has led to our conclusion; awareness. In this chapter we discuss what we believe are the key things to keep in mind when turning conflict into proflict. Finally, we end this wiki with a discussion on our findings and some recommendations for future research.
Table of content
Good conflicts and groupthink
the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility : there's always a danger of groupthink when two leaders are so alike. ORIGIN late 20th cent.: on the pattern of doublethink.
Conflict has negative associations, yet conflict is necessary for performance. In order to distinguish negative and positive conflict we introduce the term proflict. How to determine whether an incompatibility between people is a conflict or a proflict
? It is also possible to have a group without conflicts, where conflict is suppressed. When this happens in extreme, groupthink
Conflict handling styles
1. a manner of doing something : different styles of management.• a way of painting, writing, composing, building, etc., characteristic of a particular period, place, person, or movement. • a way of using language : he never wrote in a journalistic style| students should pay attention to style and idiom. • [usu. with negative ] a way of behaving or approaching a situation that is characteristic of or favored by a particular person : backing out isn't my style. • an official or legal title : the partnership traded under the style of Storr and Mortimer.
Here are the subtopics for conflict handling
. First the usual division in conflict styles
is explained, followed by a chapter of examples when to use
certain styles and when not to use certain others styles. After that we study the link between conflict handling styles and personality factors
, based on the Jungian dimensions (a scale to categorize the behaviour/feelings/thinking of people). With the knowledge from the literature study we created a roleplay
to gain insight on the topic.
1 Grammar (in languages such as Latin, Greek, Russian, and German) each of the classes (typically masculine, feminine, common, neuter) of nouns and pronouns distinguished by the different inflections that they have and require in words syntactically associated with them. Grammatical gender is only very loosely associated with natural distinctions of sex. • the property (in nouns and related words) of belonging to such a class : adjectives usually agree with the noun in gender and number.
2 the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones) : traditional concepts of gender | [as adj. ] gender roles.
Men and women are known to act very differently from each other in handling conflict. Men are said to neglect things up to a certain level, then explode and, in the worst case scenario, fight. Women however are said to be total bitches. They show attitude and can by very mean. But how much of this is true? Are these stereotypes based on reality or are they exaggerated up to a point that they go past the essence of how it works in reality? On this page you will find information about the influence of gender differences on design teams and their projects.
First, we did some literature studies
to inform ourselves about the differences between male and female and how these differences affect project teams and decision making processes. Second, to make this a little bit more understandable, we wrote a roleplay
. This roleplay conveys the main findings from the literature research. It is exaggerated and stereotypical, but therefore a very effective way of conveying the essence of your research to others. Of course, we cannot draw any conclusions from a roleplay that was based on our literature research, but it was very interesting nonetheless. Therefore, we should not forget the study on conflict and proflict
we did. Third, we did some observations
on how gender differences affect a project team. Finally, we end this topic with a review on how to handle gender differences in project teams to the extent that it is not harmful for your project. We will provide you with our insights to create awareness
on this topic.
1 the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively : 20th century popular culture. • a refined understanding or appreciation of this : men of culture. • the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group : Caribbean culture | people from many different cultures. • [with adj. ] the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group : the emerging drug culture.
2 Biology the cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients : the cells proliferate readily in culture. • a preparation of cells obtained in such a way : the bacterium was isolated in two blood cultures. • the cultivation of plants : this variety of lettuce is popular for its ease of culture.
With the increasing internationalisation of educational and commercial organisations, cultural differences
are becoming more important causes for conflict in project teams. In our literature and practical studies we focus on the factors of cultural diversity that can effect group dynamics. From the outcomes of this research we give recommendations on how to handle cultural conflicts in project teams, including a roleplay
. Knowing how to act in a culturally diverse environment will most likely help you and your project team to be more productive.
1 the imparting or exchanging of information or news : direct communication between the two countries will produce greater understanding | at the moment I am in communication with London. • a letter or message containing such information or news. • the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings : there was a lack of communication between Pamela and her parents. • social contact : she gave him some hope of her return, or at least of their future communication.
2 ( communications) means of connection between people or places, in particular • the means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers
during a conflict is very important and with the rise of the new media
there are more and more ways to communicate with each other. During our literature study we tried to find out how new media communication methods influence conflict handling. We did a role play
to experience the effect of a computer mediated meeting.
Study on Conflict to Proflict
Following the literature study a study on conflict and proflict
provided us with more insight in how conflict and proflict affect groupwork.
Having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact : most people are aware of the dangers of sunbathing | I am well aware of the problem | [with clause ] he was aware that a problem existed | as far as I'm aware, no one has complained. • [with adverbial ] concerned and well-informed about a particular situation or development : unless everyone becomes more environmentally aware, catastrophe is inevitable | a politically aware electorate.
of all of the researched topics is a base for dealing with conflicts and creating proflicts. When people are aware of the effect of cultures and gender on behaviour, the effect of communication on perception, how to deal with conflicts and what happens without conflict/proflict; They will respond to situations with more knowledge and thus change their teamwork from conflict to proflict.
During this course we decided to look into the concept of conflict. After doing some general literature research we decided to pick 5 subtopics to elaborate on.
Those five topics, being;
Good conflicts and groupthink
Conflict handling styles
All of which create insights on conflict and on variables influencing conflict. However, we have only provided insights on a fraction of all variables that should be considered when studying conflict and proflict. There are a lot more things that can be studied, and explained. Something that we, unfortunately, were not able to do within the time span of this course.
Furthermore, the study we did was actually no more than a pilot. Due to some constraints as time and human resources, we conducted our study with only two groups.
We should have had four control groups to start with (one for each of the four assignments), after doing a proper pilot of our study. To make it a quantative study we should have done a lot more runs with a lot more groups, creating bigger datasets.
For us the study was interesting in many ways, even though the results cannot be considered scientific. The results give some indication of expected results but being based on only two datasets they could just as well be coincidences. For us however, it was interesting to do, because we learned to set up a study in which we had to take multiple variables into account. Furthermore it was enjoyable to see the results match some of our literature based expectations.
All our references can be found here
This form adds the review to the bottom of this page.
When reviewing the wiki/topic, take these three points into consideration:
- Comments to authors
- usefulness to design teams
- sources and links to further reading
- Would you forward the link to this wiki to other students? Why?
- Give a Mark
Drag bottom right corner to enlarge this field; you can use raw
TWiki syntax in this field.
I think the Wiki looks really good and invites people to read about the topic. The first page is not crammed with information which looks good. I also like the review box at the bottom of the page. However the layout of the wiki is sometimes confusing. I lost track some times were I was and if I read all of the available information.
I think the topic is really useful for design teams. There are always conflicts and they could potentially reduce the overall quality of the work as well as the productivity. So if people get a better understanding about differences between team members and how to use these differences in a positive and constructive way this can only help to improve the end result.
The sources and links are almost all books so there is no link to a website. This is of course not the fault of the author of the wiki, but for further reading it is easier to read a webpage than to try and obtain that specific book.
Would you forward the link to this wiki to other students? Why?
Yes I would. It is a good and informative wiki and could potentially be a positive addition to the reading material of team members that will have to do creative group sessions.
Give a Mark
- 07 Apr 2011
From reading your wiki, I get a good understanding of your research and findings. I believe the readability of the text is good, and the layout and sub-dividing of your wiki is very clear.
The usefulness of your research to projectsteams and the communication business looks very obvious to me. But for design teams in particular, I think the most of your findings are already known, and may not be ground breaking for most people. Ofcourse this does not mean that your research is not important, and there will still be a lot off designers who can learn a lot from this.
I think the layout and visualisation of your wiki and subtopics is very clear, and probably make it the most good looking wiki that I have seen so far. The equal devision of introductions on the sub topic, and the aligned pictures besides the text make the overview very nice.
It is a shame that in the text there are no references to the sources used. But the links and redirections to other parts of your wiki do make the story very clear and the reader can also decide for him self whether or not he wants to read all of the explanation to some specific subject.
I would definitely forward this link to other students if some one was having problems related to your subject. I think this could help a person, but also an entire team out with problems they might experience.
I would give this wiki a 8.5 grade.
- 07 Apr 2011
- I think the first impression of the lay-out of this wiki is very good! I liked the (styled) Navigation Bar. The distinction between the seperate topics is also very clear, and the use of some images makes this wiki a lot more interesting to read through; and especially draws attention in the beginning. I think the visualization is very well done.
When diving further into a topic, the readability and overview of the wiki structure becomes sometimes somewhat harder to understand at first hand. This is also because in each subtopic there is very often a link to other subtopics. This is quite useful, but for me sometimes somewhat distracting. E.g. at first I did not link the link to 'literature studies' to gender differences, but of course it actually linked to gender differences (although on clicking the breadcrumb on gender differences I arrived at an empty page). Some kind of expendable sitemap could have added some clarification I think. However, I noticed that when diving deeper into the content the structure becomes pretty clear.
I think this Wiki deals with a very important issue at that is working in designs teams, using conflict the right way, creating awereness and I also liked that new media was incorperated. Therefor I think this wiki is quite usefull to design teams.
I think you've researched a lot, and there a lot of sources for further reading. There are a few numbers of links though; and I wonder if you bought, photographed or made all images or that they are from another source? I could not find a reference to the images on the homepage.
Looking to the content, I would surely forward this wiki to other students, but perhaps in a more summarized form like a guide in which they quickly can find how to create proflict, create awareness, etc.
I found both the content and the visual impression of the wiki good. My grade would be an 8.5. -- MichielTramper
- 07 Apr 2011
- When I started reading your wiki, the first thing that got my attention was (obviously) your well formed introduction of the page. The layout of the main page is well organized, especially the navigation bar and previews of the main articles triggered me to read them all. Links within each page help to navigate quickly through your study, which helped me to keep my interest in the subject and to find information I was looking for (triggered by your presentations). Though in some pages for example “Groupthink” there is a huge list of symptoms of groupthink, to long and obviously boring to read.
As for usefulness to design team I can conclude that for every situation, regarding conflicts, there is some useful information to be found on your wiki. It is easy to find on your page and therefore this wiki could actually help design teams when encountering problems.
The visuals are nice to look at, but don’t lift the content of the wiki. I was also wondering if the pictures are from yourselves (obviously some are not); missing references.
Within the wiki links to other pages are good, also references to books and other literature. Though I was missing actual links to the pages you’ve found so that I could read them. You’ve used numerous sources and therefore the page looks to be solid.
Personally I would look at this wiki if coming in conflict within a group. And I would also recommend my team members to read or scan the articles. I don’t know how I can make your wiki to be read by others than close friends etc, but still the use of your wiki could help others to be a better team. Why? Mostly because the information is clear and references can be (not by direct link) found for further research.
This wiki is definitely looked after, therefore the grade I would give is a 8.5
- 08 Apr 2011
- The wiki looks really good. You found a lot of interesting information and reading the wiki was very interesting, I especially liked the role play part and the example of Trots op Nederland, because this made the theory described before much more clear and practical.
Readability: The wiki was written very good, it was easy to read and logical ordered. The only thing that I did not really like was that the first page does not give information that made me curious about the rest (except the introduction).
Usefulness to design teams: I think this information is very useful for design teams, although (what I experienced on IO) people do not have conflict that much. But it definitely provide a lot of new insights, especially the proflict information could be very useful.
Visualization: The visualizations (on the first page) made the wiki look more attractive, although they are not informative. There are not much informative visualizations, but I should not know how to visualize their information as well, although I would like to have the information about groupthink in a table.
Sources and links to further reading: They used the links very well. They divided the information in clear parts, which you can find by following the link. By this there was never a unclear, large piece of text presented on the pages. But sometimes there were a bit too much links (in the part about conflict handling styles, four times the same link was given in only two sentences). The links to other websites (out of their own wiki) were limited, but that is also logical because they used mainly books for their literature studies.
If I ever would be in a project team where a conflict occurs I would definitely visit this wiki again and also alert my team mates about this wiki.
The mark I would give is 8,5
- 08 Apr 2011
The introduction tells in a very clear way what you did. Also the navigation bar gives a very good overview, and is very useful. I think it’s a good thing that you chose the 2, for you, most interesting factors that affect the participation of people in social interaction. It’s also a good thing that you explain that you did this. I also like it that you explain a little how your wiki is built up.
The overall-look of your front page is inviting, but, most of the pictures don’t actually add something. It’s a good thing that you explain the concepts you talk about, but it might have been better if you didn’t put that as an introduction of the sub-page. I think it would have been clearer if you’d put the intro (which now is to be read when you click on read more) there, and put the description of the concept somewhere else, maybe on the subpage, or in the twisty.
It’s always good to be critical towards your own work, and be clear about the restrictions of it. You did a good job in that, by adding the ‘discussion’ part on your main page.
Overall the text is very clear, and very consistent, which makes very readable. Although you explain a little how your wiki is built up, I still get lost in the high amount of clickable links. Maybe this works very good if you’re looking for specific information, but when you’re not (like me) it’s a little bit hard to use. Also, some links are a little unclear, e.g. the link for conflict handling and the link for conflict styles. They both direct to the same subpage: ‘conflict handling’, where there is explained about conflict handling styles. I think it had been more clear, if you’d just made one clickable, and then explain what will be explained on that subpage (in the explanation you already do a good job)
I think, I, as an industrial designer, can learn a lot from the information you gathered, and the research you did. I would probably recommend it to other students, if it got relevant.
Because of the relevance and cohesion of all the research you did, the amount of useful information you gathered, and the good readability of your wiki, my grade for this wiki will be 8.5!
- 08 Apr 2011
It’s an interesting topic and I think it could be very useful for designers. But I have some remarks. Although you have some good and interesting information on your Wiki, I think it’s not presented in the best way. I love the set-up with the sub-topics starting with a short description of the definition, but because of some alignment settings the text is in a way a bit unclear presented. The width of your screen determines the alignment/lay-out of the Wiki page, it would be much better to set a fix on the width of your page.
Your relevant information can be read after clicking the link. But while reading the text, it doesn’t invite you to click through. Although these links contain useful and good information, in the introduction/summary it gives you the feeling of irrelevancy. The function ‘more’ in each subtopic is in my opinion unnecessary and the lay-out of each link in the sub-topics is inconsistent.
Again, I find the information very interesting and I enjoyed the presentation but I’m missing a clear conclusion. Your advice and strong conclusion in the presentation is missing here. Therefore I wouldn’t forward this Wiki page YET(!). If you could sharpen your conclusion and made it visually simpler, then I definitely would. A Wiki page with a lot of potential, but it’s just not there yet.
I would grade this page with a 6,5.
- 08 Apr 2011
I found it very interesting to read about conflicts, this analysis and the theories behind it are completely new to me, so thanks for that!
I can tell that you performed a thorough literature study, and that you gathered a lot of information. I do however have the feeling that you never really structured all this information, at least that is how I experience your wiki (it is a bit chaotic).
I also think that in general a few specific tips and tricks would be a useful outcome of your complete study (which was in fact oriented on how
to turn conflicts into proflicts).
But what would this review be without some specific comments on the wiki:
- Conflict handling: in tips I am missing a bullet saying “evaluation”. Is this not a very important last phase of conflict handling?
- Communication: why do you only cover the new media? Is body language, voice volume and tone,… not (more) important?
- What happens with conflicts that occur not because people meet different goals, but there is another (underlying) problem? How do you act to work towards a solution?
- Suppose that in an ideal situation you are actually aware of the style with which you are handling a conflict. What should you do when your ‘opponent’ is not? How do you make sure that happens? And does this automatically turn a conflict into a proflict?
I would grade this wiki a 7.
- 08 Apr 2011
I find the texts very readable
And the wiki is definitely useful for a design team because conflicts are very common
The idea of a more/close box is very nice to hide or show text on your “front page”. But I must say one thing: at the start all the text boxes in the middle are closed but the quotes from dictionary are not. (my simple opinion is that the summary’s of the subjects might be more important than the dictionary quotes. About those quotes: during the presentation they were quite funny to fill a slide but in the wiki I don’t really see the purpose of those quotes (especially due the fact that they are sometimes bigger than the text they belong to. (but I must say that I don’t expect a front page which is 100% informative but there must be something in between
The references and linking look good although: if I look at the list of references, I don’t see where they are used in your wiki. In the texts there are links and sometimes quotes but for example when I press the link ”Ralph H. Kilmann and Kenneth W. Thomas”, I get linked trugh to the references page, but when I look for Ralph h or even search for Ralph H in your references I cannot find him.
So my opion is that you have an impressive list of References but is not always clear how and when they are used.
I would definitely forward the link if someone I know would have specific troubles about this subject
I would grade this wiki an 8
- 08 Apr 2011