Conflict between team members comes from several sources. Some conflicts have their basis in how people behave, while others come from disagreements about the nature of the team's work and how it is being accomplished.
- Competing interests: Conflict can arise when people have mutually incompatible desires or needs. For example, two team members with similar skills may both want a certain assignment, leaving the one who doesn't receive it resentful.
- Different behavioral styles or preferences: Individuals may clash over their respective work habits, attention to detail, communication practices, or tone of expression. While these can affect coordination of interdependent tasks, they can especially inhibit direct collaboration.
- Competition over resources: Members may fight over the limited resources available to accomplish the team's tasks. For example, if two people both rely on the action of a third person to meet identical deadlines, disagreements might arise over whose work should receive that person's attention first.
- Failure to follow team norms: A team member creates conflict when she displays attitudes or behaviors that go against the team's agreement about how it will function. If a group norm calls for prompt arrival at meetings and prohibits the use of mobile devices during discussions, ignoring these practices can engender conflict.
- Performance deficiencies: When some team members are either not contributing their share of effort or not performing at the expected level of quality, the impositions that result can create friction, which may be heightened when critical or highly visible tasks are involved.
- Poor communication: When team members do not share relevant information with each other, people may make decisions or take actions that others consider inappropriate or even harmful. Blame and questions about motives can result, creating discord among the team.
- Ambiguity about means and ends: Lack of clarity about tasks, strategies, and/or goals can lead people to make assumptions that others do not share or agree with, which can result in conflict.
Card game argument
Behavioral differences and personality clashes can cause conflict even among friends.