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Intergroup conflict

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Intergroup conflict can occur when a group of individuals from different backgrounds work and live together. These conflicts can be caused by concepts such as prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination. In order to combat these conflicts, a diverse group of people should be formed with a diverse set of leaders, the group members should be given positive labeling to help encourage positive behavior, and members should have reinforced self-esteem. Programs that will help with conflict are diversity classes, conflict resolution classes, self-esteem counseling, and team building exercises. These programs will reduce conflict and create a more positive and trusting environment among group members.

When groups devised of people from all different backgrounds and experiences come together, there is bound to be conflict from time to time. Learning to deal with this conflict and the concepts that influence conflict is the key to creating a more harmonious environment for everyone in the group. There are several concepts that can lead to intergroup conflict. These concepts include discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice. All of these concepts can create negative feelings, attitudes, and behaviors which can create animosity amongst group members (Stereotyping; Prejudice; Discrimination, 1). Stereotyping is a generalization about a certain group of people or social category. Stereotyping can be both positive and negative.

Stereotyping is considered to be a thought based concept. Stereotypes are made every day about different groups of people based off of things like race, gender, social status, hair color, or profession. These can sometimes be completely unconscious. Our mind uses stereotyping to organize our worlds more easily and readily. This can lead to illogical categorizing of people or certain aspects about people (Stereotyping; Prejudice; Discrimination, 1). Prejudice essentially means to prejudge a person. It is a negative feeling or attitude towards an individual or a group of people. Prejudice is feeling based rather than thought based.

Prejudice is an opinion or attitude which is made about a person without knowing or considering any other characteristics or facts about the person (Stereotyping; Prejudice; Discrimination, 1). Prejudices are negative feelings and typically do not have a positive outcome for the people involved. Discrimination is defined as treating someone or a group of people unequally due to certain characteristics that the person or group of people possesses (Stereotyping; Prejudice; Discrimination, 2). An example of discrimination would be intentionally excluding a person due to race, social status, or choice of religion. Discrimination is behavior based. People do not always discriminate based off of the prejudices and stereotypes that they think or feel.

There are certain situations where a person may have a negative thought or attitude towards someone or a group of people but their behavior may not display those thoughts and feelings. Once these concepts become prevalent in a group setting, they can be quite difficult to overcome. Often these concepts play off of one another and can quickly escalate the situation out of hand. In order to overcome these concepts, the leaders of groups must quickly identify that they exist and put a plan in place to teach the group members how to interact in a respectful and positive manner. One way to overcome these negative concepts is to make sure that when the group is together, it is a diverse group of people.

The more diverse the group is, the more people of different backgrounds will learn to interact together and learn to respect one another (“Reducing Intergroup Conflict”, 2). Another way to help reduce group conflict is to create a cooperative and supportive environment rather than a competitive one. This will teach the group to work together and rewards them for accomplishing things as a team rather than pinning them against each other. Lastly, when leaders are appointed in the group, they should be diverse. This will keep the group members from forming a historical subordination thought pattern while they are working in a group together (“Reducing Intergroup Conflict”, 2). This will help to fight negative attitudes towards working together in a group in a cooperative manner.

Another way to help someone overcome their negative feelings and attitudes is helping them with their self-esteem or the way they view themselves (“Person-Situation Interaction”, 2). If people have a low self-esteem, they may find that they feel negative about the people around them as well. By teaching them to see their self worth, they may learn to view others in a more positive light as well. Self-esteem can have a very big impact on the way people view others around them (“Person-Situation Interaction”, 2). Teaching them to love themselves will help them see the worth of the people they associate with. Finally, another way to help reduce conflict on a personal level would be positive labeling. Labeling an individual as say a team player, or a strong leader. Once a person owns their labeling, they begin to behave in such a manner.

This concept changes the negative behavior into positive behavior thus reducing the likelihood of conflict (“Complying with Others”, 1). In an effort to reduce the conflict amongst the boys in the group, the center needs to implement programs and create an action plan. The center should initiate a conflict resolution class for all of the boys in the group. This class would teach the boys how to deal with conflict in a rational manner. This will in turn keep the conflict from escalating. Another class that should become mandatory to all of the boys in the group is a diversity class. This would make all the boys familiar with different cultures and groups of people. The more that is known about different cultures, the more the boys can learn how to be respectful of people from backgrounds different from their own. The boys should participate in weekly team building exercises.

Teaching the boys to work together in a cooperative and positive environment will build a healthy bond with one another and teach them to trust one another. Finally, it is recommended that each boy participate in one on one counseling sessions to work on self-esteem and self worth. This is to help the boys view themselves in a positive manner. When the boys have a strong sense of self-worth, they will be more apt to treat others in a positive respectful manner. The proposed programs are designed to improve the group as a whole as well as improve the boys’ attitudes on an individual level as well. The combination of these aspects should help to reduce conflict amongst the group and make a more peaceful living environment for everyone involved.

“Complying with Others”. (2014). Social Psychology Online Lecture notes. Argosy University Online. Page 1. Retrieved from
http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp? “Person-Situation Interaction”. (2014). Social Psychology Online Lecture Notes. Argosy University Online. Pages 1-5. Retrieved from http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp? “Reducing Intergroup Conflict”. (2014). Social Psychology Online Lecture Notes. Argosy University Online. Pages 1-3. Retrieved from http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp? “Stereotyping; Prejudice; Discrimination”. (2014) Social Psychology Online Lecture Notes. Argosy University Online. Pages 1-4. Retrieved from http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?

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