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Describe situations from your personal experience in which conflict was functional and situations where it was dysfunctional.

Team work is commonplace in companies today.  It involves several people working together towards a common goal or to get a particular task done.  Due to the nature of several heads working together with their different personalities, backgrounds and attitudes it can result in differing opinions or expectations among the team members.  This difference of opinion is termed conflict.  Alessandra (1993, p92) believes
"Conflict arises from the clash of perceptions, goals or values in an arena where people care about the outcome". 
Conflict itself can be defined as
"the result of incompatible potential relationships.  The process begins when one party perceives that another party has impeded, or will frustrate, one or more of its concerns" (Gordon, 1991). 

The traditional view of conflict is that it is not good for an organisation and should be avoided.  However, the modern understanding is that it is neither good nor bad but is inevitable. 

In conclusion therefore, the author would argue against the manager's statement that larger work groups are better and say that this is not necessarily accurate.  In fact, if a group becomes too large, there will be a lack of control and it is likely to fail the task it was set.  The size of the group is dependent on a number of factors which are unique for all situations.  Overall, it has been suggested that the size of a work group should be directly related to the nature of the task at hand and it should not just be assumed that the greater the number of people, the better or faster the task will be achieved.  There are optimum sizes of all groups and these depend on a number of factors, such as, the complexity of the task, the logistics and the communication channels within the group.  A full consideration will need to be made of the size of the task at hand, the length of time the group will stay together, the group's aims and that sufficient people are present to generate sufficient ideas and for the team to still function if one or two members are absent. 

The author would dispute the statement made by the manager saying that the group should consist of between five and seven people.  This ensures that the group is not so small that insufficient ideas are formed.  It also overcomes the problems associated with large groups of communication troubles.  If a task is too big or multifaceted for this number of people, several sub-groups of five to seven members should be created.  Whatever the may be the case, the author disagrees with the statement that the bigger, the better.

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