What is conflict?  What are the types of conflict?  Give an example of each type of conflict.

The following is an example of both incorrect and correct ways to answer questions in this course.


Example Question:

What is conflict?  What are the types of conflict?  Give an example of each type of conflict.


Answer One

Conflict is the opposing pressures from different sources occurring at both the group and individual level.    The two types of conflict are cognitive and affective.  Cognitive is based on judgments and affective is based on emotional disagreements.


VERY BAD – this is plagiarism.  Look at the definition of conflict on page 91 of the textbook.  The definition in answer one is nearly identical to the definition in the textbook. The second problem with this answer is that rather than an example, the terms cognitive and affective are defined, not illustrated with an example.  It’s important to read the questions very carefully and make sure each part is answered.


Answer Two

The textbook defines conflict as “the opposing pressures from different sources occurring at both the group and individual level.”  The two types of conflict are affective and cognitive.  When you just don’t like someone is affective and cognitive is like when you have different ideas.


BAD but not as much – the second example avoids plagiarism because the material from the textbook is in quotations and the source is identified.  Sources, both in print and electronic need to be cited.  The second problem with this answer is that the examples are so brief that they don’t illustrate the point.  The answer needs much more development.  As a rule of thumb, in this class at least 75% of any answer needs to be your own work.  Even if you correctly cite a source, merely turning in someone else’s work is not acceptable.  This problem could have been avoided by more fully developing the examples.


Answer Three

Bateman and Snell define conflict as “opposing pressures from different sources, occurring on the level of psychological conflicts or of conflicts between individual or groups.”  In other words, conflict is when people or groups of people disagree about something.  Affective conflict is conflict caused by emotional disagreements.  Cognitive conflict is based in disagreements about ideas.  One of the people I work with is always trying to start things with other people.  He has a chip on his shoulder and this leads to conflict with other people at work.  This is an example of affective conflict.  Some people support the “cash for clunkers” program because it will help autoworkers keep their jobs.  Other people do not like it because they do not believe the government should spend so much money.  This is an example of a cognitive conflict.


BETTER – Plagiarism is avoided by citing the source, in this case, the textbook.  The writer summarizes the definition in his or her own words.  The terms affective and cognitive are defined in the writer’s own words.  This answer clearly meets the 75% rule.  The examples are clear, correct and enough detail is presented so that the reader can understand the example.  In general, your examples should be related to business.  In the answer above, a political conflict was used to illustrate cognitive conflict.  This is alright, in moderation.  Another issue is paragraphs.  The examples could have been placed in a second paragraph.  DO NOT turn in huge blocks of text.  Organize your ideas and use paragraphs.


Answer Four

“Conflict is actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. A conflict can be internal (within oneself) or external (between two or more individuals)” (Conflict, 2009).   The important points in the definition of conflict are that conflict can be both between people and inside a person.  Conflict can be actual, for example, the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit.  Conflict can be perceived. Management and a labor union may agree on a new contract but both groups assume at the start of negotiations that they don’t agree.  The third point is that the conflict can be over many things.


Affective conflict is conflict caused by emotional disagreements.  Cognitive conflict is based in disagreements about ideas, values, and judgments.  An example of affective conflict is not agreeing with someone because you don’t like them as a person.  For example, a group of managers have been asked to select a new product to make from a group of proposed products.   If some of the managers don’t like each other, their product choices may be based on their person conflicts.  If the group has conflict about the products because they don’t agree about the products themselves, they are experiencing cognitive conflict.



Conflict. (2009, August 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:45, August 7, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Conflict&oldid=306667109



GOOD – Note that this answer does not use the definition from the textbook.  The definition from the textbook, in my opinion, is not a very good definition.  Do not treat the textbook like it is sacred scripture.  The goal of the textbook is to help you understand key concepts.  You may find it very helpful to Google key terms to find websites that offer additional materials on a topic.


In this case, the additional material is from Wikipedia.  Some of your instructors may discourage use of Wikipedia.  I would suggest that you ask your other instructors about this before using it extensively in your work.  My position on Wikipedia is that it can be a very helpful source for basic information.  It should never be your primary source for longer projects such as term papers. Most of the business entries are well done, with a few exceptions.  The main problems with Wikipedia are that the entries are always changing and the focus of Wikipedia is not business.  In the case of the conflict entry, the definition is very helpful but much of the material is about wars and political conflict so it is of limited use in this course.   Note that on each page in Wikipedia, there is a link that shows you exactly how to cite the page.    It’s on the left hand side and is the last entry in the toolbox section.  APA style is the preferred style for this course.


Note that the material was organized into paragraphs.  This makes it much easier to read and makes your points easier to follow.  Longer answers are not always better, a long wrong answer is still wrong.  This answer meets the 75% rule.  The example uses a business setting.  The same example is used to illustrate how the two types of conflict are different.  This can be a useful approach if you are trying to show how two things are different.


Additional Resources

Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It


The web site above has examples that make the topic very clear.


How to cite a source – Noodle tools   http://www.noodletools.com/

This is one of the best sources on the web – it will walk you through the correct way to cite any source and make the citation for you.  Click on the link for noodle bib express.


A good source for business terms/knowledge is quickmba.com

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