Conflict Resolution in Internet School Workteams

Introduction.

The main reasons of conflicts in workteams lay in the differences between the interests of people. As long as the interests of them are controversial, they might come into conflict with one another. Another important reason of conflicts may be connected with different objectives which people in workteams have. It’s impossible to make sure that all of the objectives which people in the workteams have are identical. Even when the leader of the workteam places some major objective for the whole group, it’s very possible that some employees will have goals which vary very much from the major one.

Therefore, the major conflicts which can occur are connected with different interests of employees in the workteams and their different objectives of work. In order to resolve all of the mentioned conflicts, it’s necessary for the leader to take serious steps which lead to providing the synthesis of the controversial opinions and balancing the final decision.

The conflicts which occur in internet school workteams may be even sharper than in the workteams of traditional universities. The main reason of that lays in the fact that internet education has many advantages and disadvantages, and different members of workteams have different opinions on the ways disadvantages have to be eliminated. In the traditional education, it’s much easier for members of workteams to overcome conflicts because this system of education has been well-balanced during a long period of time. Internet education is a new approach to education, therefore some of its standards remain open at present.

Whenever the system hasn’t come to the level when it’s completely built, there are many situations in which members of the teams will have conflicts, seeking to develop the system in the way which they consider the most efficient. While all of those interests cannot be met at the same time, the conflicts will need thorough investigation and well-balanced decisions about how to settle the disputes which have occurred.

Reasons of conflict.University of Phoenix is a very famous internet school nowadays which offers many courses online for those students who would like to try the advantages of distant learning. The number of courses offered to the students is very large, and students are able to choose from the large variety. Even though the system of distant learning which has been offered by the University of Phoenix and other internet schools is very popular nowadays, there are still some controversial opinions about the way it has to function.

For example, the issue which causes conflicts among the members of workteams at this internet university is the level of autonomy of the students. This has been a very important question to study concerning the whole system of internet education, and many members of workteams suggest different solutions for it.

There are some members from whose opinion the autonomy of students has to be minimal because it’s very important for the students to rely on the experience of the professors. Despite the fact hat students have chosen distant learning and are not going to attend classes, listen to lectures, get any advice from professors, it’s necessary to guide them in many ways.

It’s very possible that many students choose this type of education not because they want to be very independent and choose their own schedule for classes and look for the information on their own, but for many other reasons: for example, due to the lower cost of distant learning, or due to the fact that they have to work full-time to provide for the family. It doesn’t mean though that they know how to search for information which they need to complete the assignments given to them for their online courses.

It’s necessary to offer many tips for them, as well as provide closer communication between the student who is taking an online course and the professor who is in charge of it. Other members of the workteam of the internet school might have a completely different opinion on this issue because from their point of view it might be much more important to leave the student alone with all the work he has to do studies vice, and let him look for all of the books by himself and get all the information by himself, as well as plan his own schedule. The conflicts arise very often due to the different points of view on this important aspect.

Solutions of conflict.The fact that there exists a conflict of interests in such a case means that there can be solutions introduced to solve it. The whole idea of coming up with a conflict solution has to do with providing the synthesis of the different opinions which exist on the problem. In order to solve the conflict in internet school workteams, it’s necessary to make a solution while taking advantages of both sides’ opinions.

The best solution in the mentioned case if offering courses which combine certain independence of students and letting them decide their own schedule with different recommendations from the supervisors concerning the sources of information which to use and other useful information. Since the students use the advantages of online education due to its major advantage- flexibility, and ability to plan one’s own schedule, it’s very necessary to concentrate on this feature in the final solution. Students need to possess the advantage of being autonomous in such a case because there are very many students who choose this type of education due to this very feature.

However, it’s very important to make sure that another group of students is satisfied- those ones who choose online education only because it’s cheaper and they do not have to go to the university every day because they live in distant areas. Such students would like to study very carefully, so they need some supervision.

Therefore, supervision should come in the form of recommendations which will either be or not be used by the students. In the result of applying such a solution, both groups in workteams having conflict will be satisfied. There can be other kinds of solutions, like for example adopting the major policy for the system, and making sure all of the members of workteams stick to it, no matter whether they like it or not. For example, the solution can be choosing as the strategy maximum autonomy of students from supervisors.

Agreement on the most appropriate solution.In order to make sure both parties agree on the solution, it’s necessary to introduce the alternatives to the members of the internet school workteams. This is the major function of the groups’ leader because he has to carry out the decisions in the group. As soon as the parties agree to the solution, it can be implemented. In this case, the most appropriate solution is combining independence of students with recommendations from supervisors in the learning process.

Implementation of solution.The implementation of the solution which has been agreed upon by the parties lays in the further research on the improvement of education and carrying out decisions regarding the recommendations which have to be made for the students. The main recommendations have to include the sources of information for the courses, suggestions about the major internet sites which can be helpful in such a case, giving brief overview of the tasks and making sure the student is able to get a full idea about how and where to look for the information which he needs to complete the course.

Evaluation of the solution.The solution suggested for the resolution of the mentioned conflict is very efficient for many reasons. First, it lets students who have very little free time plan the schedule of their studies in the best possible way for them. Therefore, the members of the team who stand for autonomy are satisfied. Second, the solution makes sure that students who take studies very seriously and would like to get as full knowledge as possible on the subjects, obtain all of the important recommendations from the staff of the internet school.

As long as they need communication and need to have questions answered, they are going to get all of the information they are seeking to obtain. In the case of implementation of this solution, the second group in the workteam is going to be satisfied at the fullest, therefore the conflict will be completely resolved.

Practice the conflict resolution process. The conflict resolution process can be practiced in the internet school workteams according to the steps mentioned above. The most important step is defining the conflict, and the main reasons of it. Another important step deals with suggesting the alternatives of the conflict and choosing the most appropriate one which satisfies both parties in the best way.

The synthesis of the opinions expressed by the groups in the conflict is the most efficient decision. The described conflict belongs to the type of constructive conflicts which usually has favorable influence on the team work as soon as it is resolved. As long as the correct solution is applied in the case of this type of conflict, the results of it are very good for the team in general.

Conclusion.

As far as the research has shown, there are many reasons for the conflicts in internet school workteams. Until those conflicts are resolved, they have a very negative impact on the work of the team and can have many bad consequences. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure all of the alternative solutions of the conflict are suggested as soon as possible in order to come to the most efficient one.

Conflicts in internet school workteams can be very different from the conflicts in traditional university workteams, therefore they need very specific approach to their solution. As long as the University of Phoenix follows the mentioned steps in conflict resolution, the learning process provided by it will be provided at the highest level.

Bibliography.

1. Davenport, Thomas H., Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa and Michael C. Beers. Improving knowledge work processes. Sloan Management Review 37, no.4 (Summer 1996): 53-65.Doug Bond. What is Strategy? The Power and Culture Schools. www.hr.com.Garvin, David A. What makes for an authentic learning organization? Management Update: Newsletter from Harvard Business School 2, no.6 (July 1, 1993): 7-9.Mattimore, Bryan W. 99% inspiration: tips, tales & techniques for liberating your business creativity. New York: American Management Association, 1994. 236 pp. (Shelved at HD53.M374 1994).