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The primary referenced article makes mention of summer of 2010 as the “the Summer of Divorce.” While that was disputed even within the article, recent months have seen one very contentious divorce – that of former Los Angeles Dodgers owners Charles and Bonnie Bronfman – as well as an announcement of the separation and impending divorce of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Schriver after 25 years of marriage. Although technically a marriage is not a team – it is a dyad – this supposed trend does offer an interesting opportunity to investigate teams, team dynamics, communication, and conflict handling.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Before considering the articles in relation to teams, conflict, and communication, let’s analyze the commentary on divorce in the primary reading. Does the author’s discussion of his divorce reflect cognitive dissonance? Why or why not?
  2. Give examples of ways that a successful marriage – you determine what constitutes successful – might achieve synergy.
  3. Perhaps your own group/team experiences have only been moderately successful. Review the three things an effective team does well. Evaluate the three relationships described in the featured articles. Do they fully satisfy the criteria of an effective team? What about your own experiences? In what ways have your teams achieved and failed to achieve effectiveness? What would you do in the future to ensure greater team effectiveness?
  4. It might be easy to conclude that all divorces are in the adjourning stage of team development, but this might not be the case. The Bronfmans definitely have a different approach to the model. Apply the stages of team development to the relationships described in the articles.
  5. Use your imagination and describe the roles of effective and efficient communication in successful (lasting) marriages and those that end in divorce. How might communication barriers set the stage for divorce?
  6. If a marriage (or any relationship) is in trouble, discuss how active listening might be used to help improve the situation and potentially stave off divorce.
  7. Is conflict necessarily a bad thing in a marriage? Why or why not?
  8. Invariably, marriage partners will disagree. Describe situations where each of the conflict management styles would come into play in a marriage. Does negotiation have a place in marriage? If so, how?

SOURCE: M. Toub, “My Ex-wife and I Agree: Divorce Can Be a Sign of Relationship Success,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/love/micah-toub/my-ex-wife-and-i-agree-divorce-can-be-a-sign-of-relationship-success/article1710768/)

See also: T. Pearce, “Divorcing Bronfmans Celebrate Their Split at Joint ‘Divorce Party’,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/divorcing-bronfmans-celebrate-their-split-at-joint-divorce-party/article2023036/)

A. Oldenburg, “I’m in Transition,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://yourlife.usatoday.com/sex-relationships/divorce/story/2011/05/Maria-Shriver-Im-in-transition-/46998578/1)

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