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The functions of social conflict.

Conflict becomes negative when it is left to escalate to the point where people begin to feel defeated, and a combative climate of distrust and suspicion develops (Bowditch & Buono, 1997). Nelson (1995) cautions that negative conflict can destroy a team quickly, and often arises from poor planning. He offers this list of high potential areas from which negative conflict issues commonly arise:

Administrative Procedures: If the team lacks good groundwork for what it’s doing, its members will not be able to coordinate their work.

People Resources: If the team does not have enough resources to do the job, it is inevitable that some will carry too heavy a load. Resentment, often unexpressed, may build, so it is crucial that team leaders ensure adequate resources.

Cost overruns: Often inevitable, cost overruns become a problem when proper measures are not taken. The whole team should know early on when cost becomes a problem so additional funding can be sought by the team. This way the problem can be resolved before it grows into a problem for management.

Schedules: The schedule is highly consequential to the team’s project and should be highly visible. All members should be willing to work together to help each other meet their deadlines.

Responsibilities: Each team member must know what areas are assigned and who is accountable for them.