The Process of Conflict Resolution and Team Cohesion
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Although conflict itself may hinder the development of team cohesion, the resolution of conflict serves a useful purpose. Specifically, conflict resolution facilitates the revaluation of athletic performance processes and outcomes, as well as increasing personal satisfaction (Karreman, Dorsch, Reimer, 2009). Prior studies have also indicated that task and relationship conflict have differing effects on team dynamics and cohesion, with task conflicts eliciting more creative problem solving and improving cohesion (Waller et al., 2004). It was predicted that teams having high consensus on communication processes would be more cohesive. It was also predicted that task conflict would have a more positive impact on cohesion, compared to relationship conflict. Sixty-eight student athletes were surveyed using the Group Environment Questionnaire, Scale for Effective Communication in Team Sports, Revised Scale for Effective Communication in Sports Teams, and the adapted Conflict Tactics Scale. Resolving conflict was found to be affected by type of communication, with higher instances of resolution utilizing positive verbal communication. Higher instances of conflict resolution were associated with more cohesive groups, with task conflict being the most influential. These results confirm the prediction that type of conflict will have a differing effect on cohesion and conflict resolution. The results also coincide with prior research that communication in task related conflict has a more beneficial effect on cohesion than in relationship conflict.