Conflict means an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions principles. Conflict management is the process of handling the situation while interacting with the different people in the organization. It is the management ability and skill to handle a situation. When people work together in a team, there is always the chance of raising conflict on different issues. It is a very challenging task for the manager because of differences among the people in perception, value, culture, the level of education, interest, attitude, goals, power, resources, background and feeling. Conflict may arise in the organization in the course of goals, allocation of resources, distribution of rewards, policies, procedure, and assignment. A conflict might have an adverse effect on the organization. It may have an impact on the organizational performance like delay in work, lack of teamwork, distrust between employees, decrease loyalty towards the organization, etc. Therefore, the manager must be active in handling and managing the conflict without any delay.
In the organization, conflict may be the symptoms of strikes, destruction, obstruction, agitation, poor-cooperation, coordination and communication. So, we came to know that there is always a negative relationship between conflict and performance. It means that a higher level of conflict, lower the level of performance.
Views and Approaches to Conflict
There are two different views and approaches to the conflict which are given below:
Traditional approach: This approach was first developed in the late 1930s and early 1940s. According to the traditional view, any conflict in an organization is view as bad, negative, destructive, harmful and unnecessary for the organization. It only sees conflict as dysfunctional and destructive. It suggests that organizational conflict must be eliminated by identifying the major causes of the problem.
Modern approach: During that period, the view of management and organization behavior was changed. It refers to the human relation view on organizational conflict presented a significantly different perspective on the topic. In the organization, a conflict occurs naturally, which simply cannot be eliminated. The human relation view of the organizational conflict teaches us to accept conflict. It also defines the conflict can be valuable to the group and organization. If the manager can handle conflict properly, then the performance of the group may increase. It advocates that a minimum level of conflict is actually beneficial for the group because it maintains a certain level of creativity, self-evaluation, and competition among the individuals. Therefore, the conflict should be accepted and resolved positively.
Characteristics of Conflict
Natural Phenomenon It is a natural phenomenon. It occurs naturally. In the organization, every managers and worker must face it on a regular basis while performing the task.
Conflict is Inevitable Conflict is a natural phenomenon, so it exists everywhere. No two person are the same because of individual differences. The difference may be in terms of value or otherwise. Although inevitable, conflict can be minimized and resolve. Conflict happens because we are dealing with people lives, job, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission. So, conflict is inevitable and often good.
Being a Part of Life Every person and organization have unlimited needs and different values but limited resources. Thus, this is the cause of conflict. Therefore, conflict is not an exact problem, but if it is poorly managed then it becomes a problem.
Interaction of Human Behavior and Relationship In every field, people show their own personal and psychological behavior in the workplace. Mostly, they perform their activities as a group or team. Therefore, conflict is the outcomes of human behavior, interaction, and relation.
Consequences of Poor Coordination and Loss of Communication The major cause of conflict is the lack of proper coordination and ineffective communication. The core of the success of management depends on effective and proper communication.
Types or Level of Conflict
Conflict Within the Individual It refers to the conflict that occurs solely. It is also called the intrapersonal conflict. Conflict arises from a person's own psychology. The causes of such conflict are frustration and much more. Generally, it is faced by employees, when they feel that the organization does not recognize his/her expectation and want to search for new opportunities.
Interpersonal Conflict It is the conflict between individuals. Generally, it arises from the disagreement between two or more people on certain issues. The main cause of conflict is due to the internal power of competition, position, wealth, and capacity. These kinds of conflict often occur due to personal clashes. Positive ego and the constructive view among employee will be beneficial to the organization and vice versa.
Intergroup Conflict Intergroup conflict refers to the conflict between two or more group of an organization. Various kinds of group form in the organization like a formal and informal group for the purpose of performing the task and they also have different goals and objective. If the roles of the groups are conflicting and not supportive of each other, then the conflict may arise. Therefore, intergroup conflict basically arises due to organizational matters.
Inter-organizational Conflict It refers to the conflict between two or more organization. Conflict arises basically due to competition among two or more organizations. Hence, the inter-organizational conflict is the disagreement between competing firms on their product, markets, brands, resources, price, and promotion.
Sources/ Causes/ Reasons for Conflict
There are many causes for rising conflict in an organization. It can be categorized into two groups, which are given below:
Sources of Intergroup Conflict: Intergroup conflict refers to the disagreement that arises between two or more groups within an organization. It may arise due to diversity, incompatible goals, poor communication, and an unfair reward system.
Sources of Interpersonal Conflict This is the main reason for the rising conflict. In this source, conflict occurs between two or more people working in an organization. This conflict can be people focused or issues focused. People focused can be related to emotion and feeling, directed toward personal attack whereas issues focused related to events. The main reason for interpersonal conflict are given below:
Personal Differences This is the common source of interpersonal conflict. In this source, every person is different in terms of the set of values, perception, and expectation which arise conflict.
Inadequate Information: Itis another source of conflict in which communication is not effective.
Role Incompatibility: In this conflict, if there are differences between goals and responsibilities assigned to an individual, conflict may arise.
Techniques of Conflict Management
The main job of every manager is to control and resolve conflict as much as possible. There is some technique that helps to manage conflict.
Withdrawing This technique is also known as an avoidance technique in which issues are postponed for a later time. It means that the manager does not want to face the current problem. Therefore, ignoring and imposing is the main technique to avoid conflict in the organization.
Diffusion Technique The organization tries to cool down the conflicting parties. In this technique, the organization takes time to decide conflicting issues. After that, the issues will be resolved with the consent of both parties.
Conflicting Containment Technique In this technique, management plays an important role in resolving conflict with the logical and appropriate ground. Bargaining and liaison group are the methods of managing conflict.
Conflict Management Process
It is the process of identifying the source of conflict and finding the best solution to such conflict, which is beneficial to the people and organization. Following is the step of identifying and resolving the conflict.
Source Identification In this step, the manager should identify the major source or causes of conflict. The manager should spend a lot of time for the purpose of understanding the major source of conflict and without knowing the reason for conflict the problem cannot be resolved. He/she should also analyze whether the source of conflict is interpersonal or intergroup.
Information Gathering If the manager understood the major source of conflict. He/she should process furthermore for the purpose of deep underlying needs, concern, and interest of an employee. The aim of the gathering is to identify a major source of problem or issues clearly which is affected by the employee and organization.
Problem Identification It is the process of applying managerial skill for the identification of what the problem is. He/she finds out the solution which is mutually beneficial to employee and organization.
Negotiating a Solution In this process, the conflict is resolved by negotiating various parties with the purpose of mutual benefit.
Management study guide. 2016. Electronic. 2008. http://www.managementstudyguide.com/conflict.html