STEMskiller: Skill Set Map for Mentors of Early Career Researchers

CAREER MANAGEMENT: Leadership and teamwork

Conflict management


Conflicts can arise in research groups or other teams. Early career researchers and their mentors should be aware of ways to manage and (ideally) resolve conflict situations. 

Useful Conflict management resources:

Cunningham, W.A., Gruber, J., Van Bavel, J.J., & Lewis Jr., N.A. (2019). Conflict in your research group? Here are four strategies for finding a resolution. Science Careers.

Brief descriptions of four ways to work towards conflict resolution: Assume good intentions, listen carefully, assess severity, and be open to change. The authors conclude:

Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing in the development of a lab; it often inspires a new and better way of working. Try to channel the feedback you get from trainees into building a stronger and better functioning research group. Lab members may come away feeling validated and understood, with a greater capacity for open dialogue and trust. You may still experience conflict in the future, but these strategies will hopefully serve as an opportunity for growth and a positive path forward.

Zucker D. (2012). Tools for productively managing conflict. Journal of Investigative Medicine: The Official Publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 60(5), 776–778.

Paper focusing on two- and multi-party conflicts in the research setting. Includes an overview table of response options and a step-by-step framework for working through difficulties (Step 1: Reflect, Invite, Set the Stage, Step 2: Share Perspectives, Similarities, and Differences, Step 3: Build Understanding of Intent and the True Issues at Hand, Step 4: Agree on Solutions: Doable and Durable, Step 5: Plan Next Steps/Implementation, Step 6: Reassess and Revise.

Tags: IPS WC; IPS OC; IPS T; IPS PS; All PSR; CompTS; CompGS

Peer Review: None

Table of contents:

3.2.4. Conflict management


Author: Stephanie Krueger

Peer Reviewer(s): None

Last Updated: October 28, 2021


Editor: Stephanie Krueger Last modified: 24.5. 2024 08:05