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What is a conflict ?
“Conflict may be understood as collision or disagreement.” The conflict may be within an individual when there is incompatibility between his or her goals or events; may be between two individuals, when one does not see eye to eye with another, and in the process tries to block or frustrate the attempts of other, or between two groups in an organization. Chung and Megginson define conflict as “ the struggle between incompatible or opposing needs, wishes, ideas, interests, or people. Conflict arises when individuals or groups encounter goals that both parties cannot obtain satisfactorily.” Conflict may be cognitive or affective. Cognitive conflict refers to differences in perspectives or judgements about issues. Affective conflict is emotional and directed at other people. Many a times conflict and competition are used interchangeably but there is a vast difference between them. In conflict one does not try to frustrate the attempt of another but in conflict one does. This difference is clearly is illustrated in sports. Track events are example of competition rather than conflict where all participants run in their own track and they do not obstruct others path while in events like football all players of one team try to interface the activities of the members of another team. In an organization conflict can be constructive and destructive depends upon the level of conflict. Conflict upto a certain level can be positive but after that it gives negative effects.
Positive Effects Of Conflict:
Increased involvement Increased cohesion Increased innovation Personal growth & change Clarification of key issues Organizational vibrancy Individual & group identities
Negative Effects Of Conflict:
Unresolved anger Personality clash Less self-esteem Diversion of energy from work Psychological well being threatened Wastage of resources Negative climate Group cohesion disrupted
Competition Collaboration Compromise Avoidance Accommodation The graph shown below shows various styles with respect to two factors: Co-cooperativeness: Desire to satisfy other person’s concerns. Assertiveness: Desire to satisfy one’s own concern. 2|Page . On the other hand declining graph shows that due to high conflict the overall productivity if organization is affected because the employees will be more involved in solving their conflicts rather than doing some creative activity. There are basically five conflict management styles: 1. Conflict Management Styles: When conflict becomes negative it is very much necessary to resolve it and this is the reason for establishing conflict management styles.CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES Relation between conflict and organizational performance in form of graph Here the graph shows two characteristics: It increases for a while & then it decreases. leading to high level of performance & thus increases the overall productivity. The increasing side of graph shows that some level of competition can be helpful in increasing the overall performance of an organization for e. 5.g. 3. 2. a certain level of competition among employees for increment or incentives may be helpful in developing a desire which reflects their effort. 4.
Here cooperativeness is high while assertiveness is low. Collaboration: It is a situation where every organization or individual is interested in not only satisfying its own needs but also the needs of others. 5. 4. Competition: It is a situation where every organization or individual tries to satisfy its own needs without considering the needs of others. In this situation every organization or individual may even try to use unethical means to satisfy their needs. 3. In this situation as both the parties are not satisfied fully so chances of bigger conflict exist. It is a lose-lose situation where both cooperativeness & assertiveness are low. In this style no party remains empty handed & this style may lead to great partnerships. Avoidance: In this situation an organization or an individual is neither interested in fulfilling its own motives not the motives of others. This style may later give rise to great business partnerships. Here both assertiveness & cooperativeness are intermediate. 3|Page . Here Assertiveness is high while cooperativeness is low. Here both assertiveness & cooperativeness are high. Sharing: It is a situation where both the parties are come to a compromising situation & share the profits with each other.CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES Relationship between various conflict management styles with respect to assertiveness & cooperativeness According to the graph following are the definitions of all the styles: 1. Accommodation: It is a situation in which an organization or an individual keeps its own motives aside and gives others a chance to satisfy their motives. 2.
To merge insights from people with different perspectives. To allow subordinates to learn from their mistakes. 2. To gain commitment by incorporating concerns in to consensus. 3. 6. 5. When others can resolve the conflict more effectively. 4.CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES Situations Where Conflict Management Styles Are Appropriate: Competition: 1. decisive action is vital. As a back-up when collaboration or competition is unsuccessful. Compromise: 1. but not worth the effort or potential disruption of more assertive modes. When gathering information supersedes immediate decisions. To find an integrative solution when both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised. 3. 2. When goals are important. or more important issues are pressing. When you perceive no change of satisfying your concerns. When your objective is to learn. 2. 2. When an issue is trivial. To built social credit for later use. Against people who take advantage of non-competitive behaviour. To minimize loss when you are outmatched and loosing. 5. 6. On important issues where unpopular actions need implementing. When harmony and stability are important. When issues seem tangential of other issues. When opponents with equal power are committed to mutually exclusive goals. 4. To work through feelings that have interfered with a relationship. When you find that you are wrong & try to show your reasonableness. 4. 3. When potential disruption outweighs the benefit of resolution. Accommodation: 1. 7. 3. 4|Page . 4. Collaboration: 1. 5. 5. 3. On issues vital to the organization’s welfare & where you know that you are right. When issues are more important to others than yourself to satisfy others and maintain cooperation. Avoidance: 1. To let people cool down & regain perspective. 2. To achieve temporary settlements to complex issues. When quick. 4. To arrive at expedient situation under time pressure.
Energy free for other pursuits. Conserve for fights that are more important. Others may view you as supportive and future perspective of developing a successful partnership may develop. Alienates others. Incomplete comprehension of work environment. Avoidance: Pros: Cons: Less stimulation. 5|Page . Others dependent on you may not feel you “go to bat” for them and may decide to leave. Less creative problem solving. Absence of your unique contribution to the situation. Little muss or fuss. Little understanding of the needs of others. Exercise own sense of power.CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES Pros & Cons Of Using Various Conflict Management Styles: Competition: Pros: Cons: Chance to lose everything. Exiting gamesmanship because both the parties try to win by hook or by crook without considering the loss or damage to others. no features ruffled. Discourages others from working with you which may result in loss of current or future partnership. Loss of power. No energy or time expenditure. Chance to win everything. Accommodation: Pros: Cons: Lower self-assertion & self-esteem which may affect the creativity of individuals of an organization. Potentially larger scale conflicts in the future which may affect the overall development.
6|Page .CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES Compromise: Pros: Cons: Since neither sides are fully satisfied so chance of conflict may occur later. Maintains relationship. Loss of sense of autonomy. No one returns home empty handed. New level of understanding of solution. Peace is maintained. Both sides win. Improved quality of solution & commitment. Better chance for long term solution. Collaboration: Pros: Cons: Lot of time is wasted. Neither sides determines self-determination fully. May or may not encourage creativity. Creativity is problem solving.
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