So is conflict healthy or unhealthy? “If I had a formula for by-passing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates capacity to handle it. … But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it” (Holmes, n.d. cited in Collins, 2012). So is conflict healthy? Or unhealthy?
When it comes to team conflict, it manifests both as healthy and unhealthy conflict. Dysfunctional team conflict diverts energy, hurts group cohesion, creates negative energy, and lowers performance. Functional conflict on the other hand helps problem identification, increases available information, creativity and innovation. Robbin and Judge (2013) suggest stimulating functional conflict through appointing a devil’s advocate, re-organizing teams, disrupting status quo and challenging normalcy.
The notion traditional view of conflict sees conflict as dysfunctional. The interactionist view suggests it can be both healthy and unhealthy depending on conditions. (Robbins and Judge, 2013). Only anecdotal evidence sustains the traditional view. Empirical research supports the interactionist view, making it more plausible.
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