What is managing conflicts?
Meaning of Managing Conflicts: – Managing Conflicts is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of conflict. The aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness or performance in an organizational setting. Properly managed conflict can improve group outcomes.
By managing conflicts skillfully, you can: –
- Gain cooperation from team members
- Improve performance and productivity
- Reduce stress and preserve integrity
- Solve problems as quickly as possible
- Improve relationships and teamwork
- Enhance creativity
- Increase staff morale
What is a conflict?
Meaning of conflict: – A conflict is a clash of interest. The basis of conflict may vary but it is always a part of society. Basis of conflict may be personal, racial, class, caste, political and international. Conflict in groups often follows a specific course. It is the perceived difference of values between two or more parties that results in mutual opposition. (Opposing interests or goals or opposing behavior)
Organizational conflict is a state of discord caused by actual or perceived opposition to needs, values and interests among people working together. It is a process in which one person or entity attempts to block another, resulting in frustration in achieving the other’s goals or pursuing his or her interest.
What are the types of conflicts?
Following are the different types of conflicts: –
- Intra-personal conflict: – Intrapersonal conflict is the conflict experienced by an individual when his own goals, values, or roles differ. An attorney may experience a conflict of values when representing a defendant, he knows is guilty of the charges leveled against him. A worker whose goal is to earn an MBA may experience an inter-personal conflict when he is offered a position that requires him to relocate to a different state.
- Inter-personal conflict: – Interpersonal conflict is conflict between two or more people due to differences in goals, values, and styles that need to be negotiated. Since this type of conflict occurs between individuals, conflicts can be very personal.
- Intra-group conflict: – Intragroup conflict is conflict within a group or team, where members conflict over goals or processes. For example, a board of directors may wish to take the risk of launching a set of products on behalf of their organization, despite disagreements among several members. Intragroup conflict occurs between them as they argue the pros and cons of taking such risks
- Inter-group conflict: – Intergroup conflict occurs when there is disagreement on various issues between groups inside and outside an organization. Conflict can also arise between two groups within the same organization, and this too would be considered as intergroup conflict. Within those types of conflicts, one may experience horizontal conflict, which is a conflict with others at the same peer level as you, or vertical conflict, which is a conflict with a manager or subordinate.
- Intra-organizational conflict: – Inter-organizational conflict refers to conflict within the organization. For example, between different functions, or between managers and employees.
- Inter-organizational conflict: – Inter-organizational conflict involves disputes between two or more organizations. The situation of inter-organizational conflict could be an ongoing battle between American businesses and their global rivals: Ford versus Hyundai, or AT&T versus Verizon.
What is Functional Conflict?
Meaning of Functional conflict: – Functional conflict is also known as Constructive Conflict or Positive Conflict. Such conflict will have a positive impact on individuals, groups and organizations. Such conflict is useful for solving problems relating to individuals and groups.
Characteristics of Functional or positive conflict: –
- Releasing Tension: – When conflicts are expressed, they can clear the air and reduce tension that might otherwise remain suppressed. The suppression of stress can lead to an imaginative distortion of truth, a feeling of hopelessness and tension, high mental exaggeration and biased opinions resulting in fear and mistrust. When the member expresses themselves, they get some psychological satisfaction. It also reduces stress in members involved.
- Creative thinking: – When a group faces a conflict, members display analytical thinking in identifying various options. In the absence of conflict, they could not be constructive or even become lethargic. Conflict can challenge ideas, opinions, rules, policies, goals and plans that a critical analysis is needed to justify these or to make changes.
- The Challenge: – Conflicts test the abilities and capabilities of individuals and groups. It creates challenges for them which they should be dynamic and creative. If they are able to overcome the challenge, it will lead to look for alternatives to existing patterns that lead to organizational change and growth.
- Group Cohesiveness: – Intergroup conflict brings closeness and solidarity among the members of the group. This group develops loyalty and greater sense of group identity to compete with outsiders. It increases degree of group cohesion that can be used management to achieve organizational goals effectively. As harmony grows, differences are forgotten.
- Awareness: – Conflict creates awareness of what problems exist, who is involved and how to solve the problem. Taking in view of this the management can take necessary action.
- Identify Weaknesses: – When a conflict does arise, it can help identify vulnerabilities in the system. If vulnerabilities are discovered, one can always take steps to overcome them.
- Better Decision: – When conflicting, individuals express their opposing views and points of view, higher quality decisions are made. People share their information and examine each other’s logic to make new decisions.
What is Dysfunctional Conflict?
Meaning of Dysfunctional conflict: – Dysfunctional conflict is conflict that leads to an overall decline in communication or performance of a group. Dysfunctional conflict is also known as Destructive conflict or Negative conflict. At times conflict can be harmful and destructive. Such conflict has negative effects on individuals, groups and organizational levels. The effects can be to divert energy, hurt group cohesion, promote interpersonal animosity, and create a negative work environment.
Characteristics of Dysfunctional or Negative Conflict: –
- High tension: – A dysfunctional conflict can lead to a high level of tension among the group members and in some cases, it becomes difficult for the management to resolve such conflict. This heightened tension can result in anxiety, uncertainty, hostility, and frustration among group members.
- Increase in dissatisfaction: – Dissatisfaction may increase among party members who have lost in the conflict. During conflict this conflict also reduces the concentration at work and thus it can adversely affect the productivity of the whole group as well.
- Build distrust: – Conflict can result in an atmosphere of distrust among the group members and also in the organization. This can reduce the level of cohesion among group members, who tend to have negative feelings towards other group members and avoid interactions with them.
- Goal struggle: – Conflict can distract members of a group from the organizational goals they are about to achieve, but during a conflict members may waste their time and energy trying to emerge as winners in ongoing conflict in the group and their attention may be diverted to organizational goals. Individual victory becomes more important to the members involved in the conflict and organizational goals take hold.
- High Rate of Employee Turnover: – Some employees may leave the organization if they are not able to resolve the conflict in their favor. In such a situation, it is an organization that has to bear the loss of its valuable employees.
What is Conflict Prevention?
Meaning of Conflict Prevention: – Conflict prevention is a broad term that refers to various activities and strategies in the field of peace-building that are deployed to neutralize potential triggers of pre-emptive and post-widespread violent conflict.
Following are the ways of Preventing Conflicts:
- Reduce interdependence: – The main reason for inter-group conflict is the interdependence between them e.g. Line and Staff Manager. As such, the lower the interdependence, the less will be the amount of conflict between them. In organizations, such interdependence cannot be completely avoided. However, instead of separating units organizationally, they can be separated physically. Physical separation is not a permanent way of managing conflict.
- Trust and communication: – The greater the trust between the members of the unit, the more open and honest the communication will be. Individuals and groups should be encouraged to communicate openly with each other, so that misunderstandings can be removed and they are in a position to understand each other’s problems when needed.
- Co-ordination: – After communication the next step should be proper coordination. Properly coordinated activities reduce conflict. Where there is a problem of coordination, an office of expertise should be established to deal with these problems.
- Reduction in shared resources: – Another cause of intergroup conflict is the sharing of scarce resources by groups. Managing conflict suggests minimizing sharing. One of the techniques for this may be to increase the resources, so that each unit is free to use them. But since resources are scarce, they cannot always be increased. Thus, the best possible option is the optimal allocation of scarce resources.
- Personnel Exchange: – Another way to reduce and manage conflict is to exchange personnel from conflicting groups for a specified period of time. Exchange of people is similar to role reversal. It aims to create greater understanding among people by forcing each to submit and defend the position of the other.
- Establishing common goal: – Incompatible goals are the main reason for the development of conflict. This is especially true in the case of conflict between groups and between individuals and an organization. The basic strategy for reducing conflict should be to find common goals that groups can agree on and to re-establish legitimate communication between groups. The interdependence of groups can be brought about through superordinate goals because there are goals that are of high value to the group.
- Appeal to higher officer: – If the conflict cannot be resolved by two organizational members or by two groups, it may be referred to a common superior, who will resolve the conflict by adjudicating. Such a decision may not necessarily bring consent, but it will usually be accepted because of the recognized superior of the higher-ranking authority.
What is conflict resolution?
Meaning of Conflict resolution: – Conflict resolution is a way of finding a peaceful solution to a disagreement between two or more parties. Disagreements can be personal, financial, political or emotional. When a dispute arises, negotiation is often the best course of action to resolve the disagreement.
Conflict resolution strategies
- Competing: – Competing is assertive and uncooperative demanding apologies and redress.
- Avoidance: – Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative apologizing and conceding the issue to the other party.
- Accommodation: – Accommodating is unassertive and cooperative refusing to acknowledge that a problem exists.
- Compromise: – Compromise is moderate in both assertiveness and collaborativeness. Considers the need to improve or maintain the relationship as a problem, both parties should be involved
- Compilation: – Cooperative and cooperative bargaining are both supported until a decision or solution is reached.
Conflict-Stimulation Techniques in Managing Conflicts
- Communication: – Using ambiguous or threatening messages to raise conflict levels.
- Bringing Outsiders: – Adding employees to a group whose background, values, attitudes or managerial style is different from current members.
- Restructuring the organization: – Reorganizing work groups, making changes in rules and regulations, increasing interdependence and making similar structural changes to disrupt the status quo.
- Appointing a devil’s advocate: – appointing a critic to deliberately argue against majority positions held by the group