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

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

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

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

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

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. enjoy serving on multiple committees and have an opinion on each topic the group discusses. Conflict can inspire members to brainstorm ideas. while examining problems from various perspectives. Inspire Creativity Fortunately. Share And Respect Opinions As organization members work together to solve conflict. conflict within an organization can give members the tools necessary to easily solve conflicts in the future.The pay off If managed well. From learning each others’ opinions on topics relevant to the organization’s growth to understanding each member’s preferred communication style. 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 . Conflict can also cause members to actively listen to each as they work to accomplish the organizations’ goals. Identify New Members Within organizations members actively participate in each meeting. There are also members who seemingly contribute little to the group and observe more than talk. conflicts can. they are more willing to share their opinions with the group.

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

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

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

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

The outcome of a negotiation depends on the approach. 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.You can't negotiate effectively unless you understand your own interests and your own no-deal options. not yours. they must engage in a communication process to decide what kind of a deal would be acceptable to both. 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. both before it actually gets underway. Before you can change a person's mind. In other words they must negotiate to reach an agreement. Here what is important is that all the parties concerned must want a solution. 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. Although this approach is marked by competitiveness and may create ill will. Since the other side will say "yes" for its reasons. That is why this is also called the win-lose approach. only proposals can. Negotiating is a delicate process and a lot of thinking must go into it. and while it is going on. negotiation can be handled in different ways. Arguments cannot be negotiated. Approaches to Negotiation As with conflict management. you have to first learn where that person's mind is. But there is much more to it than that. This demands that emotions be kept under control. And for this they must put up or encourage proposals. Successful negotiators agree that overcoming this self-centered tendency is critical. agreement requires understanding and addressing the other party's problem as a means to solving your own. not hold on to whatever grievances they have or whatever arguments they deem right. .

if two managers each need a full-time secretary. Determine the needs of both parties. sometimes people compromise. a win-win solution. Win-Win Orientation When the needs of the negotiating parties are compatible. because everyone ends up feeling satisfied. 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. the two parties can sit together and come up with several solutions that would satisfy everyone’s . Once the basic issues have been identified. The win -win approach is superior to other problem-solving styles. This approach works well when the following five steps are followed. but budget restrictions make this impossible. 1. Compromise is a good option when disputed resources are limited. For instance. 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. However. 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. everybody ends up being a loser. If both parties can identify what issues are important to the other. Develop a list of possible solutions. Both parties give up a part of what they had originally sought. Compromise A lose-lose situation is hardly a desirable outcome.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. To avoid this. they would find it easier to work toward a mutually acceptable solution. and settle for something less than that. In effect. becomes possible. 2. which satisfies the needs of all parties.

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

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