Affective, Procedural & Substantive Conflict

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  • 0:01 Conflict in a Student…
  • 1:11 What Is Conflict?
  • 2:26 Substantive Conflict
  • 2:57 Affective Conflict
  • 3:31 Procedural Conflict
  • 3:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that not all conflict is negative? In this lesson, we will learn about the three categories of conflict that occur in a group setting: affective, procedural, and substantive.

Conflict in a Student Council Group

Andell High School is a small private school that has recently created its first ever student council group. The student council consists of eight students, two from each of the grades. As with any group, the Andell High School student council has encountered its fair share of conflicts.

One of the first conflicts to occur in the group was how often to meet. Some members believed the student council should meet every week, while others believed they should meet biweekly. In the end, it was decided by vote that meetings should occur biweekly. The second conflict that occurred was related to ideas about how money should be raised for the senior class trip. Some group members believed that a raffle was the best way to fund the trip, while others wanted to have a bake sale. After deliberation, both ideas were implemented. The student council also had a few personal conflicts arise between its members. After the raffle, the student council's secretary, Tina, became upset with another member, named Jim. Tina yelled at Jim in front of the other members for being late to the last five meetings and for not helping out with the bake sale.

What is Conflict?

When you hear the word 'conflict', what comes to mind? If you are like most people, you think of a struggle between two groups, fighting, or opposing forces. Many of us automatically think of conflict as bad and therefore we seek to avoid it. The truth is, conflict is a regular part of working in groups or organizations. Though conflicts might make people feel uneasy, it does not mean that all conflicts are bad. Some conflicts can lead to positive outcomes. When conflicts are handled effectively, it can improve the group or organization's ability to solve problems, strengthen the interpersonal relationships between members, and decrease stress. When groups or organizations avoid conflict, critical thinking and creativity tend to suffer. The group or organization can also become stagnant.

A conflict is a disagreement in a group or organization related to perceived differences in goals or values, or desires for power, esteem, or being connected. If we look at the conflicts from our student council example a little more closely, we can separate them into three distinct categories. Let's discuss each of the three types of conflicts and how the student council's disagreements fit into each category.

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