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 to as conflict. The friction is created between the parties by disagreement on certain important issues. When people have opposing perceptions, feelings, and interests, there exists some conflict.
In such a situation people identify different viewpoints which further causes disagreement between them. Then this would result in opposition to the accomplishment of the objectives of both parties. Conflict management is a method of minimizing the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of the conflict.
In general terms, the conflict is considered to be harmful. However, it can also become beneficial when it is employed delicately for the improvement of creativity. Conflict is not similar to 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 the other can win. However 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 expanding the interests of some other group of stakeholders. There are different objectives for all the stakeholders of the organization. So there must exist organizational conflict. Hence the negative images are associated with the conflict like violent and angry behavior of the union etc.
However, 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 conflict states that it is a process of disagreement between two parties over some important issues that create friction between them. Another old view about conflict is that it is dangerous for organizations. As the employers make efforts to accomplish the goals that are not compatible. Moreover, in this way they are wasting their time and potential.
However, according to the modern interactionist view of conflict, it is considered to be based on problems rather than on personalities. Actually, this results in an increase in creativity and problem-solving capacity.
When a number of different people give their viewpoints 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 and motivated through conflict that makes them focus on their tasks.
According to the human relation concept of conflict, 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 the conflict is considered, it motivates and energizes the employees to compete with others by concentrating on the assigned tasks. When the negative aspect of the conflict is analyzed, the participants involved in the conflict lose to maintain common goals and they concentrate to win at any cost.
Furthermore, cooperation vanishes between the participants (employees), and distorted judgments are made due to the presence of conflicts. At last, the participant who loses in the conflict also loses his motivation. Hence this can be dangerous for the long-term relationship. So finally the overall performance of the organization is badly affected.
Effectiveness Improvement through Conflict
The conflict makes an organization 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 and Levels of Conflicts
There are four kinds of conflict which are as follows.
When groups of inside and outside stakeholders of the organization disagree on certain issues, there exists an intergroup conflict.
When there is a variation in values, goals, and styles between two or more interacting persons, interpersonal conflict emerges.
Intra Group Conflict
Intra-group conflict is associated with the work procedures and 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 interpersonal 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 levels in the organizational hierarchy. Furthermore, conflict can also be further classified into the following three categories.
A conflict that emerges over the goals and contents of the work is called task conflict.
The conflict that arises due to interpersonal relationships is called relationship conflict.
The conflict that is based on the method of performing work is called process conflict.
More From Business Study Notes:- Conflict Management Strategies
Conflict Management Styles
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 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 and there is limited knowledge. Moreover, issues are not so important and long-term give and take occurs.
The Avoiding Style
In this style of management of conflict, the person has low concern for others as well as himself. Also, he ignores and 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. Where concentration is made on the openness, collaboration, and exchange of information. This style best suits the condition where there is a complex strategic problem. Thus the solution required is 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. In addition, there is a short time and 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. Just to accomplish some middle ground that represents reasonable winning of all the parties. This style of conflict is beneficial in a situation where the parties have equal power. Moreover, the goals are not compatible and an immediate solution is required.
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