Conflict management definitions and views

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The manager should understand the causes creating conflict, the outcome of conflict, and various ethos by which conflict can be managed in the organization. With this understanding, the manager should evolve an approach for resolving conflicts before their disruptive repercussions have an impact on productivity and creativity. Therefore, a manager should possess special skills to react to conflict situations, and should create an open climate for communication between conflicting parties.

INTRODUCTION Conflict is a ‘clash of interests, values, actions, views or directions. People disagree because they see things differently, want different things, have thinking styles which encourage them to disagree, or are predisposed to disagree. Some definition of Conflict are given below

1. A state of open often prolonged fighting; a battle or war.

2. A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interests; a clash.

3. Psychology, A psychic struggle, often unconscious, resulting from the opposition or simultaneous functioning of mutually exclusive impulses, desires, or tendencies.

4. Opposition between characters or forces in a work of drama or fiction, especially opposition that motivates or shapes the action of the plot, within the organization. Conflict situations should be either resolved or used beneficially. Conflicts can have positive or negative effects for the organization, depending upon the environment created by the manager as she or he manages and regulates the conflict situation some Quotations on conflict “Every conflict we face in life is rich with positive and negative potential.

It can be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, learning, transformation, and growth-or rage, fear, shame, entrapment, and resistance. The choice is not up to our opponents, but to us, and our willingness to face and work through them” – Kenneth Clock and Joan Goldsmith “A good manager doesn’t try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people. If you’re the boss and your people fight you openly when they think that you are wrong – that’s healthy’.

Robert Townsend


Views on conflict: There are three general schools of thought relating to conflict: the traditional view, the human relations view, and the interactions view. The traditional (and the oldest view) view of conflict assumes that all disagreement is harmful and should be avoided. The human relations view argues that conflict is a natural currency in all groups and, as such, it should be managed and not eliminated.

The interactions view proposes that conflict can be a positive force in a group and explicitly argues that some conflict is necessary for a group to perform effectively. According to the interactions view, conflict can be functional or dysfunctional. Functional conflict supports the goals of the group and improves it performance while dysfunctional conflict hinders group performance.

Types of Conflict

1. Task: Conflicts over content and goals of the work.

2. Relationship: Conflict based on interpersonal relationships.

3. Process :

Productive (Functional). Dysfunctional when role clarity is low, strict deadlines, etc Conflict over how work gets done Why conflicts arise In most organizations, conflicts increase as employees assert their demands for an increased share in organizational rewards, such as position, acknowledgment, appreciation, monetary benefits and independence. Even management faces conflicts with many forces from outside the organization, such as government, unions and other coercive groups which may impose restrictions on managerial activities.

Conflict situations arise because of fear, force, fair or funds. Fear is an imaginary concern for future. Force of any kind initiates and concludes conflicts. Fair is the sense of fairness, which determines the moral values of an individual. Tangible as well as intangible costs may provoke conflict, and also help towards its resolution. Interpersonal conflicts arise because of differences in personality, perceptions, status and ideological and philosophical outlooks.

Other causes of conflict can be communication gaps; personality differences; substandard performance; disputes over approaches, responsibility and authority; lack of cooperation; or competition for emitted resources

THE CONFLICT PROCESS – 5 STAGES conflict management techniques


A process where two (or more) parties exchange goods & services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them. Simple negotiation vs. subtle and complex ones. Critical when no direct control or authority.


Bargaining strategies

Distributive Zero-sum conditions. One’s gain one’s loss,

Labor-micromanagement term relationship,

One party leaves as loser

Intergovernmental solving condition,

Win-win situation

Long term relationship ,

Promotes future working

Negotiation process

1. Preparation and planning

2. Definition of ground rules

3. Clarification and Justification

4. Bargaining and problem solving

5. Closure and Implementation Issues in negotiation

Role of personality traits: Traits do not appear to have a significantly direct effect on the outcomes of either bargaining or negotiating processes Gender differences in negotiation:Women negotiate no differently from men. Men and women with similar power oases use ten same negotiating styles. Women’s tattletales toward negotiation and their success as negotiators are as favorable as men’s. Cultural differences in egotistically vary across cultures, French & Italians like Third party negotiation – when the parties concerned fail to reach an agreement.

Four basic third-party roles:

Mediator – a neutral party, uses reasoning, persuasion and suggestions for alternatives

Arbitrator – a third party who has authority to dictate an agreement

Conciliator – a trusted party who provides an informal communication between the two concerned.

Consultant – an impartial party skilled in conflict management, attempt to facilitate creative problem solving through communication & analysis.


Conflicts are inevitable in any organization.

A modest level of conflict can be useful in generating better ideas and methods, inspiring concern and ingenuity, and stimulating the emergence of long-suppressed problems. Conflict management strategies should aim at keeping conflict at a level at which different ideas and viewpoints are fully voiced but unproductive conflicts are deterred. Stimulation of conflict situations is appropriate if the research manager identifies conditions of ‘group-think. ‘ Group-think is a situation where conflict rarely occurs because of high group cohesion, which results in poor decision and inadequate performance.

Groupthink prevails when there are lot of ‘yes men’ in a group, with the result that there is no serious appraisal of the situation and new ideas are not suggested. Group members attach greater importance to popularity, tranquility and peace in the group rather than to technical ability and proficiency. Members are disinclined to verbalize their unbiased views in order to avoid hurting the feelings of other members of the group. Decisions are accepted as they are, adversely affecting organizational productivity. A manager can choose several remedies to avoid group-think (Irving, 971).

A conflict situation can be induced by supporting individualistic thinking or favoring individual competition. Individualistic thinking can be initiated in the group by including some group members who can freely express their views, which can encourage and prod others to do the same. Competition between individuals can be enhanced by acknowledging and rewarding the better performers. Conflict situations can also be introduced by making some organizational changes, such as transferring some group members, redefining roles, and helping the emergence of new leadership.

A manager can also create a conflict situation by delivering shocks, such as by reducing some existing perks of the members of the organization. After stimulating the conflict situation, a manager should: 0 identify the likely source of the conflict situation, 0 calibrate the productiveness of the situation, and 0 neutralize the unproductive conflict situation. Basic problems in inter-group behavior are conflict of goals and communication failures, A basic tactic in resolving conflicts, therefore, is to find goals upon which scientists or groups can agree, and to ensure proper communication and interaction.

Some conflicts arise because of simple misconceptions, which can be overcome by improved communication. A manager should manage conflicts effectively rather than suppress or avoid them. To manage them, a manager needs to ask ‘What? ‘ and ‘Why? ‘ – and not ‘Who? ‘ – to get at the root of a problem. In the process of resolving conflicts, many problems can De Intentional Ana solved Day removing costless Ana creating a new environment of individual growth. If conflicts are not managed properly, they can be damaging, as they waste a lot of energy and time, and invoke tension, which reduces the productivity and creativity of those involved.

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