Group Dynamics and Conflict Management

Group Dynamics and Conflict Management

Facilitating PBL Groups: Groups in Action Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education University of Hartford May 19, 2008 Dr. Deborah Allens contribution to this presentation is acknowledged and appreciated. Why Use Groups?

Simulates the real world use of teams High motivation when actively involved Learn more fully and with less effort Learn in context Allows exploration of more complex problems Can allow students to self-select their major areas of interest. Five Elements of Cooperative Learning Positive interdependence Individual accountability Promotive interaction (face-to-face) Use of teamwork skills

Group processing Johnson, Johnson & Smith. Maximizing Instruction Through Cooperative Learning. AAHE Prism. Feb. 1998 Teams and Trust Trust: A willingness to put oneself at risk within a specific context. Nurturing and Eroding Team Trust List five things that students do to inhibit trust on their teams. Report out in 5 minutes

Step 1: Conflict Case Studies A. Read over the case study that your group has been given. B. As a faculty member, consider how you would handle the situation C. Discuss the steps you could take to prevent these problems arising in the future Step 2: Conflict Case Study A. Fold the handout so that your ideas for resolutions are covered up by the folded paper, but the case study text is still revealed. Case study text Fold in paper

B. Pass the folded case study on to the group on your left. C. When you receive another groups case study, keep that groups ideas for resolutions covered up. Step 3: Conflict Case Study A. Read over the new case study that your group has been given. B. As a faculty member, consider how you would handle the situation C. Discuss the steps you could take to prevent these problems arising in the future Steps 4 & 5: Conflict Case Study

A. Pass the case study on to the group on your left. B. Uncover the possible resolutions brainstormed by the previous 2 groups. C. Given the information that you have, which of the resolutions do you think is the best option? Why? D. Discuss the methods proposed to prevent the problem in the future. Which is the best option? Why? Be prepared to report out on questions C & D in 10 min. Trust and Teams To be trustworthy, indicates one has the characteristics that merit anothers trust: Competencethe teammate has the CAPACITY to complete the desired task.

Benevolencethe teammate CARES about my needs and will act in my best interests. Integritythe teammate is honest and keeps his or her COMMITMENTS. Trust acts as an initiator of action: Trusting behavior: delegation of tasks to a team member Distrusting behavior: Completing all tasks on your own. Anxiety in life is what squeaking and grinding are in machinery that is not oiled. In life, trust is the oil. Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) Phases of Group Development Group Task Forming Define purpose

Determine objectives Best Behavior / Inwardly focused Storming Competition for ideas What are we supposed to do? Determine & accept roles Norming Ease into roles and ground rules Development of trust & consequences Agenda setting

Performing Comfort in assigned roles Autonomous Dissent expected and encouraged Phases of Group Development Forming Storming Norming Performing

Group Task Evidence of Failure Define purpose Determine objectives Best Behavior Group lacks focus Attends to wrong things Conflict over objectives Not completing tasks Competition for ideas What are we supposed to do? Conflict within group

Confusion over roles Determine & accept roles Ease into roles and ground rules Agenda setting Poor standards Conflict within group & w/instructor Late assignments Comfort in assigned roles Autonomous Dissent expected and encouraged

Poor performance continues Conflicts go unresolved Sense that grades unfair The Team Grid and Code of Conduct Exercise Name, Phone, and Email Address Things I Love to Talk About Why I Am Taking This Class

Personal or Professional Achievement for 2007 On Teams, I tend to be a Code of Conduct: How should we handle poor performance on this team? In Groups, I Tend to Be a.

Leader Worker Planner Mediator Entertainer Purposes of Completing the Grid? Forming: What does everyone expect to get out of this class? Do we have 5 leaders? Entertainers?

How do I contact you? Storming What role do I want to play? (Leader vs. Entertainer) Norming How do we handle poor performance? Encourages the movement through the phases and the formation of trust Purposes of Completing the Grid & Code of Conduct Spurs discussion on class priorities: What is my role? How important is this class to me?

What skills do my team members have? (competence) Allows groups to learn about their group members How do I contact you? Differing priorities (Leader vs. Entertainer) Reduces depersonalization (benevolence) Sets expectations early (integrity) Focuses on similarities in group members backgrounds, instead of the differences

Encourages the formation of trust Final Suggestions for Using Groups Prevention is often the best approach Set expectations early Form heterogeneous groups Use permanent groups Rotate roles of responsibility Rely on group-selected ground rules Conduct peer evaluations

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