Making the Best of a Conflict
The importance of self-determination and confidentiality is self-explanatory, while conflict of interest is generally misunderstood by people who feel uncomfortable by the very idea of disagreement (Congress & Lynn, 1997). All the same, there is a constructive side of conflict demanding the fostering of conflict in order to enhance the quality of decisions. This type of conflict may actually help to build consensus through debate, while ensuring that the decision-making process is fair and lawful. Contrary to popular opinion about conflict of interest, the constructive type of conflict should be nurtured by various methods, e.g. role playing. Moreover, it should be the group leader’s responsibility to make a decision after a conflict has been nurtured and myriad ideas on conflicting interests have been generated. The decision-making process must be perceived as fair, however, and the leader must prevent a misalignment of the entire process of using conflict to help the group.
Thus, a conflict of interest may be considered desirable as it helps the group to generate ideas before a fair and final decision is made by the leader. Constructive conflicts may additionally help the group by allowing it to gather new ideas for change. Moreover, once the conflict is resolved, group members would be able to agree on the final decision made by the leader, provided that the group is in the habit of nurturing conflicts for positive change. In order to achieve a sense of fairness in its decision-making, the group must seek to avoid all negativity during the conflict. A sense of unity is essential among group members. Lastly, each group member must believe that a conflict of interest must surely lead to an improvement in the work process, as more than a few heads are usually better than one.
Congress, E. P., & Lynn, M. (1997). Group Work Practice in the Community: Navigating the
Slippery Slope of Ethical Dilemmas. Social Work with Groups. Vol. 20(3).