Team Conflict

Conflict is a standard part of organizational life and can provide numerous opportunities for growth through improved understanding and insight. The tendency to view conflict as a negative is usually due to difficult circumstances in which the participants may not have had the proper skills to manage the conflict. The purpose of this assignment is to help identify and de-escalate key elements leading to team conflict.


Sam is responsible for leading a team to address the recent increase of patient falls in the orthopedics unit. Five other members have been assigned to Sam’s team. Rachel is a proficient nurse who has been working on the unit for 4 years. Tiffany is a novice nurse who graduated from school 3 months ago. Justin is an advanced beginner nurse who has been working on the floor for 9 months. Kimberly is an expert nurse and hopes to retire in the upcoming year. Finally, Keianna is a proficient nurse who has been working on the unit for 5 years.

The team is finishing the first stage of development and is creating rules of engagement, performance expectations, and common goals. The team has been making good progress with regard to its formation activities; however, it is having some difficulty dealing with conflict emerging between Tiffany and Rachel. Whenever Tiffany gives her opinions, Rachel seems to dismiss them. Tiffany is becoming withdrawn and refuses to openly participate in the process. Sam is a little concerned about how he can properly address the situation. Two other team members are aware of the conflict between their fellow team members and both have come to Sam with their concerns that this problem may be growing and is beginning to affect team cohesiveness and team processes. Sam feels struck and needs some insight and assistance. He has come to you for guidance.


In a 2- to 3-page report, address the following questions:

  1. What do you think is the basis of this conflict? What are the elements of the conflict resolution process that Sam must be aware of as he walks through the stages of addressing the conflict between these two individuals?
  2. How should Sam engage the team in owning and investing in the conflict resolution process?
  3. How can Sam keep the environment safe, yet push for resolution among team members and ensure a successful conflict resolution process?
  4. How can Sam evaluate the effectiveness of the process used and determine whether it made any difference?

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