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About the FIRO-B: Team Conflict II


One of the many uses of the FIRO-B is to help teams work together better. Conflict is unavoidable whenever people come together, particularly in a work environment. This issue we'll look at several common types of conflict and which FIRO-B results likely indicate this could be happening to your team.

First, let's look at the scenario where decisions are poorly or weakly implemented. While it might have appeared there was consensus at the time the group decision was made, it turns out not to be the case. Instead, what frequently happens is some people go along with the group rather than expressing conflicting views or alternate solutions. Rather than appear to "rock the boat," some people on the team might just suppress their differences with the group than voice them out loud. This is more likely with team members who have high levels of Expressed or Wanted Inclusion. This need can lead them to value being accepted in the team as more important than their personal views.

Related to this phenomenon is the case where no differences in opinion come up during meetings, only afterwards, in private. Many of you have experienced this. The leader will ask if there are any questions or problems, and will be met with silence. Back at the water cooler, some people will state their true views. One reason this happens is if teams have ineffective methods of dealing with disagreements. If people are fearful of speaking up, this is more likely to happen. You'll see this behavior most often with people who have high scores on Expressed or Wanted Affection. They may fear being disliked or criticized for views that are counter to the group's, so they say nothing until they feel safe (in private).

Finally, you might encounter the situation in which people outside the group feel the group is too insulated from the rest of the organization. When outsiders make this observation, there is often more than a grain of truth to the matter. Many groups fear a loss of autonomy or control if too many others are aware of what they're doing. The group might worry there will be reprisals if the rest of the organization really knew what was going on, so it's best to keep it confidential. You might notice this pattern among teams with many members who have low scores on Wanted Inclusion or Wanted Control.

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