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Making the Team: A Guide for Managers by Leigh L. Thompson

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What to Do When Conflict Escalates?

Sometimes a firm will set up teams within the organization to compete with one another. The idea is to create a healthy competition to spur motivation. However, this can lead to escalating conflict and destructive outcomes that need special interventions. As an example, see Box 7-5.

Conflict often escalates because people believe that coercion is effective in reducing the resolve of others. Paradoxically, most people believe that when others use coercion on them, that it increases their resolve (Rothbart & Hallmark, 1988). The unfortunate consequence is that this perception encourages mutually aggressive behavior. (For an example of this in a military setting, see Sidebar 7-1.) What can be done to reduce the ...

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