The problem 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. Conflicts emanate from more than one source, and so their true origin may be hard to identify. Important initiators of conflict situations include: (i) People disagree. People disagree for a number of reasons (De Bono, 1985). (a) They see things differently because of differences in understanding and viewpoint. Most of these differences are usually not important. Personality differences or clashes in emotional needs may cause conflicts. Conflicts arise when two groups or individuals interacting in the same situation see the situation differently because of different sets of settings, information pertaining to the universe, awareness, background, disposition, reason or outlook. In a particular mood, individuals think and perceive in a certain manner. For example, the half-full glass of one individual can be half-empty to another. Obviously both individuals convey the same thing, but they do so differently owing to contrasting perceptions and dispositions. (b) People have different styles, principles, values, beliefs and slogans which determine their choices and objectives. When choices contradict, people want different things and that can create conflict situations. For example, a risk-taking manager would be in conflict with a risk-minimizing supervisor who believes in firm control and a well-kept routine. (c) People have different ideological and philosophical outlooks, as in the case of different political parties. Their concepts, objectives and ways of reacting to various situations are different. This often creates conflicts among them. (d) Conflict situations can arise because people have different status. When people at higher levels in the organization feel indignant about suggestions for change put forward

which encourages them to disagree. The cost of being in conflict may be measurable (in money terms) or immeasurable. One may fear setbacks. leading to conflict situations. These forces are instrumental in generating. People have different moral values and accordingly appreciate a situation in different ways. Why does it matter The Effects of Conflict Within an Organization . but ineffectual or even perilous in other situations (De Bono. it provokes conflict. 1985). (b) Force is a necessary ingredient of any conflict situation. but can also force a conclusion through acceptable to the conflicting parties. Here conflict is necessary. (De Bono. (c) Fairness refers to an individual's sense of what is right and what is not right. This sense of fairness determines the moral values of an individual. diversion of skilled labour. By tolerating and allowing such suggestions. suffering. 1985). fairness or funds (De Bono. It could be withdrawal of cooperation or approval.from their subordinates or associates. force. neglect or loss of morale and self esteem. (a) Fear relates to imaginary concern about something which might happen in the future. disgrace. being expressed in terms of human lives. strengthening and terminating conflicts. and even pleasurable. creating conflict situations. (f) People are supposed to disagree under particular circumstances. (d) Funds or costs can cause conflict. reprisal or hindrances. Certain thinking styles may be useful for certain purposes. 1985). which can lead to conflict situations. potential conflict can be prevented. (e) People have different thinking styles. a fundamental factor learnt in early childhood. (ii) People are concerned with fear. Force may be ethical or emotional. such as in sports.

This is especially detrimental when members are a part of the executive board or heads of committees. they . organizations risk dissolution. Violence When conflict escalates without mediation. Once members begin to leave. Organization members may have problems sleeping. resulting in legal problems for members and possibly the organization. intense situations may arise between organization members.Mental Health Concerns Conflict within an organization can cause members to become frustrated if they feel as if there’s no solution in sight. headaches and become unapproachable. It’s unfortunate. but organizational conflicts may cause violence among members. and homes. members take time away from focusing on the core goals they are tasked with achieving. Many times these costs are “hidden. Decrease in Productivity When an organization spends much of its time dealing with conflict. organizations can lose money. which adversely affects their professional and personal lives. where several members leave or an executive board steps down. or if they feel that their opinions go unrecognized by other group members. As a result. the organization has to recruit new members and appoint acting board members. Conflict causes members to focus less on the project at hand and more on gossiping about conflict or venting about frustrations. In extreme cases. organization members may avoid meetings to prevent themselves from experiencing stress and stress-related symptoms. As a result. communities.” that is. In some instances. Members Leave Organization Organization members who are increasingly frustrated with the level of conflict within an organization may decide to end their membership. members become stressed. donors and access to essential resources. Unmanaged conflict has the potential to cause several negative consequences in workplaces. loss of appetite or overeating.

. these costs are very detrimental to individuals.are not readily apparent. With this understanding. the manager should evolve an approach for resolving conflicts before their disruptive repercussions have an impact on productivity and creativity. and organizations ORGANIZATIONAL COSTS: The Dana Mediation Institute. The manager should understand the causes creating conflict. However. and various methods by which conflict can be managed in the organization. In today's environment. These have to be integrated and exploited efficiently to achieve organizational objectives. has determined a number of cost factors associated with conflict: #1: Wasted time #2: Opportunity cost of wasted time #3: Lowered job motivation and productivity #4: Lost performance due to conflict-related absenteeism #5: Loss of investment in skilled employees #6: Conflict-incited theft. A manager should be able to see emerging conflicts and take appropriate pre-emptive action. they may be differing departmental objectives. vandalism. several factors create competition. At the same time. & damage #7: Restructuring around the problem #8: Health costs #9: Degraded decision quality A lot of these conflicts are very subtle within an organization. individual objectives. the outcome of conflict. yet still have the power to negatively affect an organization’s bottom line. groups. competition for use of resources or differing viewpoints. Inc. conflicts can be used as motivators for healthy change. What to do about it Dealing with conflict Conflicts are inescapable in an organization. sabotage.

they can react in four ways (De Bono. where winning and losing becomes a byproduct of the judicial process. losing and winning grounds. this may not be easy. which is an attempt towards creativity in making the conflict situation normal. as it involves 'tactics. It considers conflicts as situations rather than problems. but attempts to reach what might be created given a proper understanding of the views and situations of the conflicting parties. because of its influence on the situation. Third-party roles are very important in bringing the conflicting parties together on some common ground for negotiations. towards a settlement with the other party.Therefore. 1985). A third party participates actively in the design process rather than being just a an umpire. a manager should possess special skills to react to conflict situations. · Design. It is also possible that the situation may not become normal even after removing the identified cause. Designing is not confined to what is already there. and should create an open climate for communication between conflicting parties. Ways to resolve conflict When two groups or individuals face a conflict situation. sound or gratifying approach to dealing with a conflict situation. · Problem solve. However. offensive and defensive positions. Negotiations take place within the prevailing situation and do not involve problem solving or designing. They can: · Fight. The proposed idea should be appropriate and acceptable to the parties in conflict. which involves identifying and removing the cause of the conflict so as to make the situation normal again. and exposure of weak points. . which is not a beneficial. strategies. · Negotiate.' Fighting as a way of resolving a conflict can only be useful in courtroom situations.

From learning each others’ opinions on topics relevant to the organization’s growth to understanding each member’s preferred communication style. Conflict can inspire members to brainstorm ideas. There are also members who seemingly contribute little to the group and observe more than talk. Conflict can also cause members to actively listen to each as they work to accomplish the organizations’ goals. they are more willing to share their opinions with the group. Identify New Members Within organizations members actively participate in each meeting. enjoy serving on multiple committees and have an opinion on each topic the group discusses. Share And Respect Opinions As organization members work together to solve conflict.The pay off If managed well. while examining problems from various perspectives. Conflict within an organization can inspire typically silent members to step up and demonstrate their leadership skills by offering meaningful solutions to the problem the group is facing . some organization members view conflict as an opportunity for finding creative solutions to solve problems. Improve Future Communication Conflict can bring group members together and help them learn more about each other. conflict within an organization can give members the tools necessary to easily solve conflicts in the future. Inspire Creativity Fortunately. conflicts can.

such as transferring some group members. and helping the emergence of new leadership. adversely affecting organizational productivity. Members are disinclined to verbalize their unbiased views in order to avoid hurting the feelings of other members of the group. A modest level of conflict can be useful in generating better ideas and methods. Decisions are accepted as they are. A manager can choose several remedies to avoid group-think (Irving. a manager should: · · identify calibrate the the likely source of of the the conflict situation. . Conflict situations can also be introduced by making some organizational changes. A conflict situation can be induced by supporting individualistic thinking or favouring individual competition. Individualistic thinking can be initiated in the group by including some group members who can freely express their views. Group members attach greater importance to popularity. After stimulating the conflict situation. tranquillity and peace in the group rather than to technical ability and proficiency. which can encourage and prod others to do the same. situation. which results in poor decision and inadequate performance.' Group-think is a situation where conflict rarely occurs because of high group cohesion. such as by reducing some existing perks of the members of the organization. and stimulating the emergence of long-suppressed problems. A manager can also create a conflict situation by delivering shocks. and productiveness · neutralize the unproductive conflict situation. with the result that there is no serious appraisal of the situation and new ideas are not suggested.Practitioner points Summing up Conflicts are inevitable in any organization. 1971). inspiring concern and ingenuity. Stimulation of conflict situations is appropriate if the research manager identifies conditions of 'group-think. Competition between individuals can be enhanced by acknowledging and rewarding the better performers. Group-think prevails when there are lot of 'yes men' in a group. redefining roles. 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.

C. To manage them. Conflicts: A Better Way to Resolve Them. therefore. Time Pressure . Below are some common negotiation challenges and strategies for handling them. which reduces the productivity and creativity of those involved. A manager should manage conflicts effectively rather than suppress or avoid them. S.H. Organizational Behaviour.to get at the root of a problem. Glenview IL: Scott. you will be in a better position to handle them effectively. you will be less likely to inadvertently use one yourself. New York. Anticipating challenges and developing strategies to deal with them can be helpful when they happen. & Carroll. Interpersonal Conflict Resolution.Basic problems in inter-group behaviour are conflict of goals and communication failures. By being able to recognize them. New York NY: Xicom. Tosi. Conflict Mode Instrument.J. In the process of resolving conflicts. 1986.R.and not 'Who?' . which can be overcome by improved communication. London: Harrap. A. A basic tactic in resolving conflicts. R. they can be damaging. as they waste a lot of energy and time.W. & Kilman.. K. By being conscious of them. a manager needs to ask 'What?' and 'Why?' . E. and invoke tension. NEGOTIATION egotiation Challenges Reprinted from: Tero's Beyond Compromise: A Better Way To Negotiate Training Manual A number of things can occur in a negotiation that can be especially challenging.. De Bono. Foresman. Tuxedo.. 1985. Rizzo.L. J. Some conflicts arise because of simple misconceptions. and to ensure proper communication and interaction. 1974. If conflicts are not managed properly. H. Thomas. is to find goals upon which scientists or groups can agree. 1975. many problems can be identified and solved by removing obstacles and creating a new environment of individual growth. Filley.

the start date for a project. That way you can arrive at an agreement with which you both feel comfortable. beware if the other party puts you under unexpected time pressure and attempts to push you straight to your fallback position. he or she will see it will not work and be less inclined to try it on you in the future. you can use the time for some last-minute preparation. Your defense is to remember that every time he or she raises another issue. . is always to bring some work or reading along with you. He or she leaves the room and returns five minutes later saying that the boss will not agree unless another x percent is conceded.The other party. The other party knows that your defenses are down as the negotiation nears completion and they ask for another concession." Sidestepping the request and signaling that you need information is a good countermeasure because you have agreed that you want to learn the needs of the other party. just give me your best price". if the new point is not genuine." With this countermeasure you are not only sidestepping the attempted manipulation but also effectively encouraging the other person to be open and honest. As in. points that have been previously agreed to can be brought back for discussion using the word if. Insist on discussing matters with the decision-maker or resurrect matters that the other party thought were already agreed. Whether you are negotiating a price for a product. if the time available for the meeting becomes too tight you may have no alternative but to reschedule. the other party will understand. "If you want delivery in two weeks and an x percent discount we'll have to take another look at quantity. you discover that you are not talking to a decision-maker. Try responding. An Early Concession Some negotiators begin with an early concession and then wait for you to reciprocate and in the spirit of relationship-building. squeezing several additional concessions from you each time. Last-minute Wavering Just when you think that negotiations are over and you have reached agreement. That way the attempt at pressure becomes a gift of time during which you do some work that you would not otherwise have done. you probably will." If the new point is genuine the other party will not mind resurrecting a previously agreed to one. I don't know what my best price is. the other party begins wavering over some seemingly trivial point. Delay Tactics This is a tactic that senior people frequently use on more junior people. or that the effect on your schedule will cause you to feel under pressure and so you will agree to what they want in order to keep the discussion short. early in the negotiation. "I'd like to give you my best price but until I've learned more about your requirements. says 'let"s skip the haggling. they don't even leave the room . Alternatively. "I'm calling the shots around here because I'm the more important person. That point is negotiated and the party disappears again asking for another concession. Finally. the other party will retract it. . Sometimes. or how many resources you can temporarily loan to another department. Another Decision-maker Well into the negotiations. An effective countermeasure. "I can consider this new point but only if we reconsider ." Their hope is that you will become more nervous. assuming you do not want to reschedule the meeting. . It is a way of saying. the other party can waver several times. If the delay was genuinely unavoidable. Actually.they simply say "my boss would never agree to that". If it was an attempt to manipulate you.

one person could ask the other. While price is an important factor in most deals. Price-only Negotiation Negotiators who pay attention exclusively to price turn potentially cooperative deals into adversarial ones. ask many questions. Neglecting the Other Side's Problem . Letting Positions Override Interests Despite the clear advantages of reconciling deeper interests. People care about much more than the absolute level of their own economic outcome. Linking Logic This is based on the assumption that if a person is correct in one thing. They get us what we want. he or she must be correct in another. poor relationships. and retaliation. remember the concession for later. but only in the short term and at a long term cost. withdrawal of goodwill. So.underlying concerns that would be affected by the resolution Reconciling interests to create value requires patience and a willingness to research the other side. and continue exploring. If we communicate with people openly. it is rarely the only one. people have a built-in bias toward focusing on their own positions instead. acknowledging that economics aren't everything. Since the answer is probably no. perceived fairness.one party's stands on the issues Interests . we tend to avoid these problems. focus on important non-price factors such as relationships (short and long-term) and the larger interests. While communicating with people this way does not guarantee that we shall achieve our short terms goals (although the chances are certainly increased) we usually experience long term benefits because people prefer being treated this way. he or she has just strengthened his/her argument. self-image. and so on. Aggressive Behaviors Sarcastic comments. Sometimes these aggressive behaviors work. They are designed to help the other person "win" at your expense. "Would you give up your cell phone?". lack of initiative from other people when problems arise. attempts to make you feel inferior. This is especially true cross-culturally. in a debate about modern technology. bullying. belittling remarks and dismissive words are all forms of inappropriate influencing. honestly and above all. Less experienced negotiators often undervalue the importance of developing working relationships with the other parties. Competing interests include relative results. Issues . The fact that your resistance to the technology the other party is promoting and your decision to carry a cell phone are unconnected may escape your attention. Your best defense against this form of manipulation is asking questions. This hardwired assumption that our interests are incompatible implies a zero-sum pie in which my gain is your loss.topic on the table for agreement Positions . Successful negotiators. respectfully. reputation. bribery. putting the relationship at risk by overly tough tactics of simple neglect.Thank them. attempts to make you feel guilty. and listen. patronizing. Behaviors such as these can create resentment. lack of ownership of what has been agreed to. You need to get to the bottom of the other person's point to see if the logic he or she is applying is sound or not.

you have to first learn where that person's mind is. . Spend time trying to understand how the poor man or woman on the other side of the table is going to sell this deal to his or her boss. Successful negotiators agree that overcoming this self-centered tendency is critical. Approaches to Negotiation As with conflict management.You can't negotiate effectively unless you understand your own interests and your own no-deal options. Before you can change a person's mind. this is sometimes the best approach when the other party is determined to take advantage of you or when your interests truly conflict with those of the other party and compromising is not a satisfactory option. only proposals can. Although this approach is marked by competitiveness and may create ill will. not yours. Orientation Bargaining This approach is based on the premise that one person can win only at the expense of the other – that any victory by one party must be matched by the other’s loss. Negotiation When the parties involved in a conflict want to work toward an amicable resolution. The outcome of a negotiation depends on the approach. negotiation can be handled in different ways. they must engage in a communication process to decide what kind of a deal would be acceptable to both. And for this they must put up or encourage proposals. agreement requires understanding and addressing the other party's problem as a means to solving your own. This demands that emotions be kept under control. and while it is going on. Since the other side will say "yes" for its reasons. Arguments cannot be negotiated. In other words they must negotiate to reach an agreement. not hold on to whatever grievances they have or whatever arguments they deem right. But there is much more to it than that. both before it actually gets underway. Here what is important is that all the parties concerned must want a solution. Negotiating is a delicate process and a lot of thinking must go into it. That is why this is also called the win-lose approach.

Both parties give up a part of what they had originally sought. The win -win approach is superior to other problem-solving styles. but budget restrictions make this impossible. and settle for something less than that. Determine the needs of both parties. A compromise is the best way out when it is impossible for both parties to convince each other or when even the partial attainment of one party’s goals depends on the satisfaction of the other. Win-Win Orientation When the needs of the negotiating parties are compatible. they would find it easier to work toward a mutually acceptable solution. a win-win solution.Lose-Lose Orientation This is adopted when one negotiating partner feels his own interests are threatened and reacts by doing all he can to ensure that the outcome of the negotiation does not serve the other party’s interests either. If both parties can identify what issues are important to the other. Lose-lose outcomes occur when negotiating partners ignore one another’s needs or when the need to hurt each other outweighs the need to find some kind of an acceptable solution. sometimes people compromise. For instance. which satisfies the needs of all parties. such a solution is only possible when the needs of the parties involved do not conflict. they may have to compromise by sharing one secretary. the two parties can sit together and come up with several solutions that would satisfy everyone’s . This approach works well when the following five steps are followed. everybody ends up being a loser. Compromise is a good option when disputed resources are limited. Develop a list of possible solutions. becomes possible. Once the basic issues have been identified. However. In effect. Compromise A lose-lose situation is hardly a desirable outcome. 2. To avoid this. if two managers each need a full-time secretary. 1. because everyone ends up feeling satisfied.

meet with the other parties involved and discuss how the solution is working out. If anyone’s needs are still unmet. are most and promising then are implement adopted. Once the best solution is decided upon. All possible solutions are put down. Even the best plans need to be monitored after they have been implemented. Choose the most appropriate solutions. 4. At this stage each solution is evaluated and the ones understands that it. 3. it.needs. A while after the plan has been put into action. . make sure everyone 5. you could go back to the problem-solving procedure and identify another solution. without any of them being evaluated. Follow up on the solution. Implement the solution.