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Dealing with conflict in learning teams immersed in technology-rich environments: A mixed-methods study

Abstract

Understanding the nature of conflict and the role that it plays in the dynamics of teamwork has the potential to improve group processes and make teams more successful. This research study investigates how learning teams deal with conflict in technology-rich environments using a mixed-method research approach. In regard to the study’s quantitative component, a correlational study was conducted. The participants were 28 graduate students enrolled in a team-based, graduate-level course at a large university in the Midwestern United States. The findings showed that perceptions of conflict evolve over time, moving from less favorable views to more constructive ones. Perceptions of successful teamwork progressed from focusing on the tasks at hand to investing on fulfilled working relationships. Teams used different modes of conflict management throughout the study. Generally, they evolved from less cooperative to more integrative forms of conflict management which supported collaborative learning. Students who were less proficient in the use of technology generally perceived conflict as having negative effects on the project’s outcomes. More proficient users, on the contrary, tended to perceive conflict as having a positive influence on their teamwork.

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Correspondence to Ana-Paula Correia.

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Correia, A. Dealing with conflict in learning teams immersed in technology-rich environments: A mixed-methods study. Educ Inf Technol (2019) doi:10.1007/s10639-019-10038-w

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Keywords

  • Conflict resolution
  • Collaborative learning
  • Teamwork: mixed-methods