File - David Rude, Instructor
Transcript File - David Rude, Instructor
Group Dynamics and Dealing with Conflict
Sociology – ITT
What is Conflict?
• Simply put:
the result of
• What does
Attitudes towards Conflict
I am going to read several statements
about conflict. If you agree with what I
read, stand up.
• Conflict is something you know. Every
relationship experiences conflict at one time
or another because each person is different.
When you hear the word “conflict,” what
words comes to mind? How do you define
Conflict can cause a lot of stress in people’s
lives. It can hurt and damage relationships
with others. However, conflict can also be
positive. Can you identify when conflict is
A Conflict Workshop
One, more in depth, definition is that conflict
is a dynamic process reflecting the interaction
of two or more interdependent parties who
have some level of difference or
incompatibility between them.
This definition suggests that there are four
important aspects of conflict.
1. There is some level of interdependence
between the people. In other words,
people are dependent upon one another
to meet their needs, goals, or interests.
2. There is a significant relationship between
the people, such as family, friend, co-worker,
3. There is some kind of threat or struggle
between them that is either real or
4. Negative emotions, such as anger,
frustration, or fear, are ignited.
Levels of Conflict Intensity
There are different levels of conflict intensity. By
understanding the possible escalation of conflict, it
is possible to keep a conflict from moving to a
higher level through interpersonal communication
Level One – Differences: People have different
views about things, such as the views that were
discussed in the Icebreaker activity.
Level Two – Misunderstandings: People often
misunderstand each other. People make assumptions,
and “filter” what others say through their own
experiences, knowledge, and beliefs.
Level Three – Disagreements: “Disagreements are basically
differences with an attitude.” It is okay to disagree with
someone. People can explore their disagreements, and they
can even debate issues to learn from each other. The danger
lies in letting emotions get out of control.
Level Four – Discord: Conflict at this level “is
characterized by generally deteriorating relationship
between the conflict partners.” The discomfort is
apparent not only in discussing the issue, but also in
dealing with the person. Emotions tend to run high at
Level Five – Polarization: This is the nasty
stage of conflict that is damaging to
relationships. People often recruit others to
join their cause; make themselves “right”
and others “wrong”; expend a lot of energy
to defend their position and demean the
other person; and refuse to work toward
resolving the conflict.
The good news is that people can make conscious
choices about their responses to conflict and take
responsibility for their behavior. While a person
cannot control the behavior of others, a person
can control his or her own actions—or at least try,
which is, admittedly, very hard to do.
Conflict Resiliency Inventory
15-39 Hmmm…I guess you already know you are not
conflict resilient and working on conflict resiliency is highly
40-54 Your conflict resilience quotient is low and conflict
resiliency work is recommended
55-69 You are conflict resilient with a few areas that could
use some work to strengthen your skills even more.
70-75 You are definitely conflict resilient!
Describe a problem clearly and objectively.
Produce the least amount of resistance
– D = Describe the problem.
– E = Express your thoughts or feelings.
– R = Request what you want
Common errors in D (Describe)
Words like “never,” “always,” and “every.”
Be specific to time and place
• 3 Sentences maximum
• Common errors in E (Express)
– Too emotional
• Low key is best
• Disappointed, upset, angry, concerned
– Trying to make the other person feel bad
– Mind-reading or psychoanalyzing
• Guessing at goals, attitudes, or intentions.
• Common errors in R (Request)
– Not stating what you want
– Using unclear or vague terms
• Examples: respect, responsible
• State in behavior terms – what you want
the person to do
– Asking for changes in personality or deeply
Interpreting Self Control Conflicts - video
Worksheet – How I Deal with Conflict
Take about ten minutes to complete the
We will then discuss as a group.
• Video : How a
family dealt with
You will have many differences with people
throughout your lifetime; differences are part of
our humanity. How you respond to these
differences and deal with conflict is a choice you
Let’s focus on specific things you can do.
• How do you know when your emotions are
• What signals does your body give you?
A technique for dealing with emotions in difficult
situations is “Go to the Balcony,” a concept coined by
William Ury (1991).
It means taking a detached and distanced view of
the person or situation—as if you were in the
balcony watching a performance on stage.
It does not mean being cold, unfeeling, or nonunderstanding.
Instead, it means not taking the other person’s
actions personally, even if the person is being
personal. The intent is to try to disconnect the
automatic link between emotions and actions
Conflict is a part of your life, and you will find it at
home, school, and work. It can cause great stress
and often damages important relationships.
Conflict can also bring about needed changes and
opportunities. It can take relationships to more
Leaders who have mastered effective conflict
skills are not only respected, they are the ones
that others want to follow.
Reflection and Application activity
Reflect, specifically, on why it is
important for leaders to deal with
What is a group?
“People who interact with one another and
think of themselves as belonging together.”
Why groups or teams sometimes
don’t work well together.
1. Absence of trust—unwilling
to be vulnerable within the
2. Fear of conflict—seeking
artificial harmony over
3. Lack of commitment—feigning
buy-in for group decisions creates
ambiguity throughout the
4. Avoidance of accountability—
ducking the responsibility to call
peers on counterproductive
behavior which sets low standards
5. Inattention to results—focusing
on personal success, status and ego
before team success
Groups within groups
• The Family
Based on Statuses
Fail to Satisfy
Need for Intimate
In-Groups and Out-Groups
• Loyalty to In-Groups
• Antagonism Towards Out
Groups – Gay Teens - video
Expose Us to
Groups Within Society
• Social Networks and
• The Small World
Phenomenon - Milgram
• Six degrees of separation
– People Connect
– Online Chat Rooms
• Some Meet Definition
GROUP SIZE AFFECTS STABILITY AND -INTIMACY
AS SIZE INCREASES, SO DOES STABILITY
AS SIZE INCREASES, INTENSITY AND INTIMACY
• Effects of Group Size on
Attitudes and Behavior
• The Larger the Group…
– Greater Diffusion of
– Increase in Formality
– Division into Smaller
Who Becomes a Leader?
Types of Leaders
Instrumental - motivated by
Expressive - motivated by
• Leadership Styles in
Unit 5 Assignment 1: Societal Influence
Answer the three “Thinking Critically about Chapter 5”
questions on page 151 of the textbook:
• How would your orientations to life (your ideas,
attitudes, values, goals) be different if you had been
reared in a hunting and gathering society? In an
• Identify your in-groups and your out-groups. How
have your in-groups influenced the way you see the
world? What influence have your out-groups had on
• Asch’s experiments illustrate the power of peer
pressure. How has peer pressure operated in your
life? Think about something that you did not want to
do but did it anyway because of peer pressure.