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Groups and Teams Diversity: Comparison


A group consists of two or more people who interact frequently to achieve a general purpose or goal. Some of the common organizational groups are functional groups, task teams, informal and interest groups (Griffin, 2006). A team is made up of a group of workers that function as a unit with minimal or no supervision to carry out organizational roles (Griffin, 2006). People join groups and teams for many different reasons.

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Some of the reasons are the need to pursue their career, interpersonal attractions, group activities, group goals, need for satisfaction and to gain possible instrumental benefits. When developing a team it is essential to go through the development stages which are testing and dependence, intra-group conflict and hostility, development of group cohesion and focusing on the problem at hand. Role structures, behavioral norms, cohesiveness and informal leadership are the characteristics of teams (Griffins, 2006).

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People differ in many ways from each other. Some differences are important so to the society and organizations. Workplace diversity can be described as a situation where employees have different opinions along the dimensions that the society considers important (Stockdale & Crosby, 2004). Workplace diversity can work either for or against the expectations of an organization. Diversity can create tension and disagreement to employees in an organization making them anxious and displeased.

On the contrary, workplace diversity can also work well leading an organization to have a competitive advantage over undiversified organizations. Workforce diversity is meant to enhance organizational functioning (Stockdale & Crosby, 2004).

Organizational conflicts can be destructive interpersonally and organizationally. Conflicts help us to find out what is not working well so that improvement is made. Through the existence of conflicts organizations can be invigorated, improved and tremendously transformed by learning to accept their conflicts and using them to develop innovative strategies for organizational change. Strong leadership with courage and strategic focus are required to resolve organizational conflicts of any nature.

Our approach and behavior when in conflicts is of great importance as this is the basis of resolving conflicts. There is need to change the way we think about ourselves, our organizations and the people we are in conflict with. Redesigning of organizational systems and cultures in a way that encourages constructive engagement and honest dialogue will to a great extent act as a remedy for conflict resolution. Organizations should encourage open communication to enable people put across what they really want and settle for partial or absolute solutions (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2005).

Organizations can save millions if not billions through careful conflict resolution. According to Stroh, Northcraft and Neale, there are several strategies of resolving conflicts once they arise. These are through competing, avoiding, accommodating, collaborating and compromising (2002). The choice of any of the above strategies depends on the differing levels of concern with maximization of your own needs and those of the other party (Stroh, Northcraft & Neale, 2002).

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Competing and collaborating are useful when your primary concern is to get what you want out of exchange. Competing will be the most effective way of resolving conflict when you are not concerned with the needs of the other party. When both parties concerns are important, then collaborating works out well to resolve the conflict. Avoiding will be the best option to resolve conflicts when you have little concern for your opinion as well as the other party’s opinion.

These can also be the best option when others can handle a problem better than you can handle (Stroh, Northcraft & Neale, 2002). Negotiation as a conflict resolution strategy gives both parties a chance to decide what to give and take in an exchange amongst the differing parties. Organizations use negotiations to reach a positive solution with none of the parties loosing to the other.

Managers must provide the way forward in an organization to encourage the free flow of new ideas and give maximum support to people who wish to use their ideas for the achievement of organizational goals. Decisions are embedded in cultural and ethical foundations. As cultures vary, the same applies to the decisions taken to solve conflicts. There are some old preferences of dealing with conflicts that is speed, stressing decisiveness and individual selection of alternatives. As much as culture plays an important role in conflict resolution, managers also need to put emphasis on ethics as an important foundation for reaching better decisions.

Communication enables people to share their views, information, directions, expectations, feelings and emotions. It helps to hold people together in an organization and work towards a common goal. Unresolved conflicts set the platform for future conflicts of the same nature. It is therefore always good to deal with any arising conflicts so that they are completely resolved (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008).


It is important to differentiate between perceived and felt conflict. When a conflict is felt it prompts action to reduce the feelings of discomfort. To resolve the conflict all the involved parties should identify the conflict and feel the need to act upon it. A conflict can be manifest and can be resolved through moving or correcting its causes. It can also be suppressed whereby there will be no change in the causes of the conflict but only the observable conflict behaviors are controlled. This is a temporary measure of conflict resolution until the causes of the conflict are resolved. Resolved conflicts reduce future occurrence of the same conditions and makes it easier to deal with conflicts whenever they arise (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008).


Cloke, K. & Goldsmith, J. (2005). Resolving Conflicts at Work: Eight Strategies for Everyone on the Job (2nd ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley Sons.

Griffin, R. (2006). Management (9th ed). Florence, KY: Cengage Learning.

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Schermerhorn, J., Hunt, J., & Osborn, R. (2008). Organizational Behavior (10th ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley Sons Inc.

Stockdale, M. & Crosby, F. (2004). The Psychology and Management of Workplace Diversity. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Stroh, L. Northcraft, G. & Neale, M. (2002). Organizational Behavior: A Management Challenge (3rd ed). Binghamton, NY: Routledge.

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