Conflict Management

Source:Vitech - Vitech Corporation
Source:Vitech Corporation


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 chance of raising conflict on different issues. It is 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. Conflict might have adverse effect on the organization and they are it may 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 negative relationship between conflict and performance. It means that higher level of conflict, lower the level of performance.


There are two different views and approaches in conflict. which are given below:

1) Traditional approach

2) Modern approach

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 were 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

1) Natural phenomenon: It is the natural phenomenon. It occurs naturally. In the organization, Every managers and worker must face it on regular basis while performing task.

2) Conflict is Inevitable: conflict is a natural phenomenon, so it exists everywhere. No two person are 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.

3) Being a part of life: Every persons 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.

4) Interaction of human behavior and relationship: In every field, people show their own personal and psychological behavior at the workplace. Mostly, they perform their activities as a group or team. Therefore, conflict is outcomes of human behavior, interaction, and relation.

5) 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 success of the management depends on the effective and proper communication.

Types or Level of conflict

1) Conflict within the individual: It refers to the conflict that occurs solely.It is also called Intrapersonal conflict. Conflict arises from the person's own psychology. The causes of such conflict are the 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.

2) 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 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.

3) 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 formal and informal group for the purpose of performing task and they also have different goals and objective. If the roles of the groups are conflicting and not supportive to each other, then the conflict may arise. Therefore, intergroup conflict basically arises due to organizational matters.

4) 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 Or Causes Or Reasons of Conflict

There are many causes for rising conflict in an organization. It can be categorized into two groups, which are given below:

1)Sources of interpersonal conflict: This is the main reason of 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 set of values, perception, and expectation which arise conflict.
  • Inadequate information is another source of conflict in which communication are not effective.
  • Role incompatibility: In this conflict, if there are differences between goals and responsibilities assigned to an individual, conflict may arise.

2)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 unfair reward system.

Technique of conflict management

The main job of every manager is to control and resolve conflict as much as possible. There are some technique that helps to manage conflict.

  • Withdrawing: This technique is also known as 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 are main technique to avoid conflict in the organization.
  • Diffusion technique: Organization tries to cool down the conflicting parties. In this technique, the organization takes a time to decide the 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 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 of such conflict, which is beneficial to the people and organization. Following are the step of identifying and resolving the conflict.

1) 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.

2) Information gathering: If the manager understood the major source of conflict. He/she should process furthermore for the purpose of deeply 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.

3) Problem identification: It is the process 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.

4)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. - - 2016. Electronic. - - 2003.

Views and Approaches to conflict

1) Traditional approach

2) Modern approach

Characteristics of conflict

1) Natural phenomenon

2) Conflict is inevitable

3) Being a part of life

4) Interaction of human behavior and relationship

5) consequences of poor coordination and loss of communication

Types or level of conflict

1) conflict within the individual

2) Interpersonal conflict

3) Intergroup conflict

4)Inter-organizational conflict

Sources or Causes or Reason of conflict

1) Sources of interpersonal conflict

  • Personal differences
  •  Inadequate information
  • Role incompatibility 

2) Sources of intergroup conflict 

Technique of conflict management

  • Withdrawing 
  • Diffusion technique
  • Conflicting containment technique

Conflict management process

1) Source identification

2) Information gathering 

3) problem identification

4) Negotiating a solution




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