(b) Degree of group goal compatibility.
The preceding five types of responses arise from the relative importance of interaction to goal attainment and the degree of group goal compatibility.
The importance of accomplishing a goal may vary from very low to very high. Degree of goal compatibility refers to the extent to which goals of the group or majority of its members can be attained at the same time. This implies that attainment of goals by one person does not abstract attainment of goals by others.
Let us now look at the five responses to conflict as described by Thomas within the framework of these two dimensions.
Occurs when parties involved in conflict find their interaction unimportant to either party’s goals or goals are incompatible. That is to say that the importance of goal attainment as well as the degree of group goal compatibility is both low. In such a situation, since both the sides do not have the same goals and the issues involved are not important, both the sides avoid conflict.
Occurs when the parties’ goals are compatible but importance of goal attainment and interaction are low.
Groups discuss with each other how to attain their interdependent tasks with the least problems, time and expenses. Interactions between groups take place on a friendly note.
Occurs when goals are incompatible and the attainment of goals is very important for both the groups. If such a situation is not controlled in time, there will be antagonism and conflict of a serious nature especially in the absence of rules or procedures to be followed. This can ultimately lead to poor work performance and even sabotage in extreme cases.
Occurs when goals of the two parties are compatible and interaction between the two groups for goal accomplishment is also very important. In practice this is not an easy task because the parties involved may not agree to goals or the means to achieve those goals.
However, ultimately they work together, come out with new and innovative ideas and solutions to sort out differences and attain their goals.
Occurs when the goals of the two parties may be compatible or incompatible and their interactions for goal attainment are moderately important. Sometimes both the parties give up something without much ill feeling on either side.