Conflict is actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. A conflict can be internal to individuals. Conflict as a concept can help explain many aspects of social life such as social disagreement, conflict of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organizations. When an interpersonal conflict does occur, its effect is often broader than two individuals involved, and can affect many associate individuals and relationship, in more or less adverse.
A clash of interests, values, actions or directions often sparks a conflict. Conflicts refer to the existence of clash. Psychologically, a conflict exists when the reduction of one motivating stimulus involves an increase in another, so that a new adjustment is demanded. The word is applicable from the instant that clash occurs. Even when we say that there is a potential conflict we are implying there is already a conflict even though a clash may not yet have occurred.
Conflict management refers to the long term management of intractable Conflicts. It is the label for the variety of ways by which people handle grievances - standing up for what they consider to be tight and against what they consider to be wrong. Those ways includes such diverse phenomena as gossip, ridicule, lynching, terrorism, warfare, feuding, genocide, law, mediation, and avoidance. Which forms of conflict management will be used in any given situation can be somewhat predicted and explained by the social structure - or geometry- of the case.
Conflict management is often considered to be distinct from conflict resolution. In order for actual conflict to occur, there should be an expression of exclusive patterns, and tell why the conflict was expressed the way it was. Conflict is not just about simple inaptness, but is often connected to a previous issue. The latter refers to resolving the dispute to the approval of one or both parties, whereas the former concerns as ongoing process that may never have a resolution. Neither is it considered the same as conflict transformation, which seeks to reframe the positions of the conflict parties.
Types of conflicts:
Conflicts can occur at variety of levels. They can be seen in day to day life. Some of the common conflicts are stated below:
• Racial conflict
• Emotional conflict
• Group conflict
• Organization conflict
• Military conflicts
• Workplace conflicts
Conflict maybe called as natural disagreement between individuals or groups who may have differences between beliefs, attitudes, values and needs. Many conflicts can also arise if trying to negotiate before the timing is right or needed information is available. The following may be the causes of conflict in day to day life:
• Communication failure
• Methods, values or goal difference
• Different personality
• Lack of co-operation and co-ordinations between individuals and groups.
Among these conflicts, as stated above, in this short paper, I am going to focus on Organizational conflict and its management. There can be conflict at various levels in organization. Some of them are stated below:
1. Intrapersonal conflicts:
This type of conflict is seen within a person. It can involve some forms of goals, cognitive or affective conflict. They always arise when there are several alternatives available and the outcome is really important to the individual whether positive or negative. Several types of emotional issues also results in intrapersonal conflicts.
2. Interpersonal conflicts:
This is outcome of human nature. Human's various activities and interactions result in to conflicts. It involves two or more individuals who believes that their goals, methods, attitudes are different and in opposition. There may be several reasons for this type of conflict, like personal issues and characteristics, interactional issues, different perception of issues, etc.
3. Intra-group conflicts:
This type of conflicts is conflict within one group. This exists due to clashes among some or all of a group member's. This is very dangerous conflict which affects the progress and effectiveness of the groups. It can alter the dynamics of the group whether in positive or negative direction. There are several types for it, like (1) relationship, (2) task, (3) process. (Jehn and Mannix, 2001)
4. Intergroup conflicts:
This type of conflict is seen among the different groups. This occurs due to various reasons, like competition among groups. If the reward system exists, it can results in group conflicts. When one group tries to gain its objectives at the expense of the other group, this will result in intergroup conflict.
5. Inter-organizational conflict:
This conflict can be seen at the larger level. When two or more organizations try to achieve one goal, there is always rivalry among them. This conflict affects at all levels, like from top to bottom or from board of directors to bottom level employee.
Common causes of conflict in organization:
• Divisions and departments often have different objectives. If their members cannot find common values and goals, they will not cooperate.
• If employee works as a single, he is more comfortable being solo contributors than being thorough members of a team. The clashes are increased when there is reward system or competition with one another. Teamwork is the concept that one must learn and it should be applied throughout the organization.
• If employees are not trained or prepared to negotiate for sharing the area of responsibility, there is always rising of conflict.
• Supervisors must know how to state their expectation of employee job performance. This can be helpful in a way that can be heard and understood effectively.
• Organizational problems should be analyzed either from individual or departmental viewpoints. It should not be analyzed as the organization as a whole.
• To motivate each employee to contribute maximum productivity, Managers should do work themselves to be example.
• Good decisions are made by the significant information given by the front line employee to the executives. But, the executive seldom know how to ask for meaningful information, input or feedback from employees.
• Differences in various things; like personality, approach to tasks and individual values, create more friction and tension than they are caused by racial or cultural background differences.
• Good communication, trust requires in any organization. Most organizations fail to demonstrate these things well from executive level downward to front line employees.
• Small and large changes occur constantly within organizations. Employees will fail to adapt to change if they are not prepared, included and supported.
Conflict Management - Conflict resolution:
Managing conflict is a major task for any organization. Conflict has enormous impact on the workplace because it consumes lots of amount of energy, time, money, and emotions. So, the effective management of the conflict has been the major issues now-a-days. Conflict management increases competency and proficiency of the employee at the workplace because conflict management provides various alternatives and access points for the employees.
Conflict occurs when two or more people have a perceived opposition or a different opinion for one thing. There is possibility that conflict has been existed for long time and sometime it is very acute in origin. For coming to a decision for a conflict, one thing should always be remembered that the resolution of a conflict must be the most beneficial to both parties. Conflict management does not settle the problem in a ways that one party wins and other loses. That's why conflict management requires identifying the causes of problems, searching the various alternatives as a resolution and implementing the idea which is the best according to the situation. Weitzman and Weitzman have suggested a model known as PSDM model.
PSDM Model: Problem Solving and Decision Making Model
1. Identify the cause of problem
2. Identify, select and implement the solution
3. Implement resolution
1. Identify the cause of problem:
This step of the management is very important. It can be done in various phases, for example, data collection. Obtaining data is very critical. This can reflect the objectives of the both parties. Leaders should analyze the perspective and behaviours of both sides. Another way to identify the problem is by asking questions. By these, leaders can understand the viewpoints of both parties. The management should consider few points, like was the conflict addresses promptly by both parties or avoided? Did either party want to resolve the conflict or discuss the viewpoint? These things can solve major cause of conflict which is a breakdown in communication.
2. Identifying, selecting and implementing the solution:
Mutual agreement to implement the solution is important for the success of the conflict resolution and future conflict resolutions depend on the success of the primary solution. There is chance that alternatives are few or many. Once they are identified, a joint decision should be made on the solution for solving conflict. This begins by understanding the strategies, being open to dialogue. And maintaining open mind. Following are the few strategies which are useful for the finding the solution.
• The win/win approach:
in this approach the leaders has no role or less role to play. Both the parties need to come together as a single group instead of different group, in this way it is easy to find out a middle way out.
• Creative response:
the problems can be converted in positive opportunities.
communication plays the most important role, effective communication helps to build rapport and makes easy to express your ideas to others, hence reducing the chances of conflict.
• Appropriate belligerence:
make the right use of strategies which solves the problem without hurting any person.
• Managing emotions:
whenever you are working in a group, it is very necessary to manage emotions. The leader can express his anger in order to have positive change.
• Willingness to resolve:
at times there are personal issues which would make work difficult for those two people working in a same group. If they have the same goal and both of them need each other's help they should be willing to resolve their problem.
• Mapping the conflict:
by communicating to both sides, try to figure out common issues which can be useful in resolving the conflict. The management should try to chart down common interest, goals, and needs.
• Creating various alternatives:
both sides should try to build up new idea and come up with creative solutions which be beneficial to both sides
in this phase, partial solutions or compromises should be formulated and presented to the parties involved. Leaders must continue to reinforcing common ground towards successful resolution.
this strategy was developed by E. E. Schattschneider, who said that conflict is very contagious. An organization will lose control if the conflict is stretched by the both sides. Conflict should be kept private, limited, and therefore, controllable.
• Purposeful expansion of conflict:
sometimes intentional expansion is done. This will directly affect the common people and the client of the organization, who will pressurize them to put an end to the dispute.
• Broadening perspective:
everyone must understand the need of the meeting. So, the goal of the meeting must be reaching to the solution. In other steps, such as choosing the right time to resolve the conflict and avoiding threatening or insulting behaviour also contribute to resolution. Even humour is useful for diffusing a tension situation.
These are the few strategies which can be helpful in finding and implementing the solution of the conflict.
3. Implementing the resolution:
This is the final step of the resolution. Once the common ground has been figured out, leaders should review and confirm the area where the both sides reach the agreement. This step requires the approval of the both sides and helps to solidify the final compromise.
Following this sequence of phases allows all the parties in conflict to arrive at a successful resolution. Otherwise, discussion may slow down or stop at some point. Frustration will increase and destructive conflict can occur.