Conflict and Conflict Management :- The process in which one party considers that his interests are negatively affected or being opposed by the other party is referred as conflict. The friction is created between the parties by disagreement on certain important issues. When people have opposing perceptions, feeling & interests, there exists some conflict. In such situation people identify different viewpoints which further causes disagreement between them & this would result in the opposition of the accomplishment of the objectives of both parties. In general terms, the conflict is considered to be harmful, but it can also become beneficial when it is employed delicately for the improvement in creativity. Conflict is not similar to the rivalry or competition among two or more people or groups that try to obtain certain outcomes. There may be two parties in the competition from which one can lose and other can win, but in case of conflict, no one wins or loses, instead both parties can cooperate with each other in some mutually beneficial way.
In case of organizational conflict, the interests of a Group of Stakeholders are availed by expending the interests of some other group of stakeholders. There are different objectives of all the stakeholders of organization so there must exist organizational conflict. The negative images are associated with the conflict like violent & angry behavior of union etc, but in certain cases the effectiveness of the organization can improve through conflict. On passing a certain level, the conflict can become harmful for the organization.
Transitions in the Concept of Conflict:
The traditional view of the conflict states that it is a process of disagreement between two parties over some important issues that creates friction between them. Another old view about conflict is that it is dangerous for the organizations as employers make efforts to accomplish the goals that are not compatible and in this way they are wasting their time & potential. But according to modern inter-actionist view of conflict, it is considered to be based on the problems rather than on the personalities which results in the increase in the creativity & problem solving capacity. When a number of different people give their view points on certain issues, then there come a lot of alternative solutions to the problems that can be quite helpful in the decision making. The employees of the organizations can also be energized & motivated through conflict that makes them focus on their tasks. According to the human relation concept of conflict, the conflict occurs as a natural phenomenon so organizations should accept the conflict.
Conflict Bad or Good:
Both negative and positive consequences are associated with the conflict. When a positive aspect of conflict is considered, it motivates & energizes the employees to compete with others by concentrating on the assigned tasks. When the negative aspect of conflict is analyzed, the participants involved in conflict lose to maintain common goals and they concentrate to win at any cost. Furthermore, the cooperation is vanished between the participants (employees) & distorted judgments are made due to the presence of conflicts. And at last, the participant who loses in the conflict also loses his motivation and this can be dangerous for the long term relationship & finally the overall performance of the organization is badly affected.
Effectiveness Improvement through Conflict:
The conflict makes an organization to reassess its existing views which would reduce the inertia through upcoming change. The quality of decision making is made better by considering a number of different views.
Kinds & Levels of Conflicts:
There four kinds of conflict which are as follow.
- Intergroup Conflict:
When groups of inside & outside stakeholder of the organization disagree on certain issues, there exists an intergroup conflict.
When there are variation of values, goals & styles between two or more interacting persons, interpersonal conflict emerges.
Intra Group Conflict:
Intra group conflict is associated with the work procedures & work goals between two groups in the organization.
When an individual has a conflict in his internal system over divergent values, goals or roles, he faces intra-personal conflict.
Conflict can also be horizontal or vertical. Horizontal conflict occurs between groups or departments that are on the same level. While the vertical conflict takes place among employees that belong to a different level in the organizational hierarchy.
Furthermore, conflict can also be further classified in the following three categories.
A conflict that emerges over goals & contents of the work is called task conflict.
The conflict that arises due to interpersonal relationships is called relationship conflict.
Conflict that is based on the method of performing work is called process conflict.
Wants to Learn About:- Conflict Management Strategies
Conflict Management Styles (Individual Based):
Following are the individual based conflict management styles.
- The Obliging Style of Conflict Management:
In this style of conflict management, the needs of the other are preferred over the personal needs. The concern for others is high, whereas personal concern is low. This conflict is best suited to situations where a person has no control, there is limited knowledge, and issues are not so important and long term give & take occurred.
The Avoiding Style:
In this style of management of conflict, the person has low concern for others as well his self & he ignores & suppresses the issues. When there is strong conflict, then this style is useful to make parties cool.
The integrative Style:
Under this style of conflict management, concern for others and oneself is high and concentration is made on the openness, collaboration & exchange of information. This style best suit to the condition where there is complex strategic problem & solution required are long term and commitment is needed.
The Dominating Style:
In this style the person has low concern for others and high concern for himself. He tries to accomplish his own goals at any cost. It is effective when the issues are of little importance to others while more important to the solving party, and there is short time & available solutions are not popular.
The Compromising Style:
In this style of conflict management a moderate concern is shown to others and oneself and concentration is made to accomplish some middle ground that represents reasonable winning of all the parties. This style of conflict is beneficial in the situation where the parties have equal power, goals are not compatible & immediate solution is required.