Introduction to Conflict Management

Masud Rana A.M. Arju Saruar Md. Mamun Hossain Md. Farid Hossain Talukder Jannatul Ferdoushy

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Use of words like dispute, disagreement incompatibility and difference of opinion helps us to understand that there is conflict.

Conflict can be defined as a process of social interaction involving a struggle over claims to resources, power and status, beliefs, and other preferences and desires. The aims of the parties in conflict may extend from simply attempting to game acceptance of

a preference, or securing a resource advantage, to the extremes of injuring or eliminating

According to Oxford Dictionary Conflicts refer to a series of disagreement or argument, incompatibility between opinions, principles etc.

Example: The irreconcilable differences between political parties like the familiar conflict between Awamileague and BNP.

so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an alternative. defined conflict asAn interactive state in which the behaviors or goals of one actor are to some degree incompatible with the behaviors or goals of some other actor or actors. . or goals for the different participants are inherently incompatible. According to March and SimonConflict is a breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision-making. According to SmithConflict is a situation in which the conditions. practices.   Tedeschi et al.

Conflict arises due to a variety of factors            Individual differences in goal. Global shifting of power Political unrest Financial uncertainties Operational procedures Personnel. Changes in technology. Clientele Product line Financial climate Corporate philosophy . expectations. value.

Reduction Strategy: Since all conflicts are bad efforts should be made to find out the causes of conflict and correct them in order to improve individual and organizational conflict.     Belief: The traditional view of conflict of all kinds is harmful and must be avoided. It views conflict as a dysfunctional outcome.• Traditional View:  Duration: This view of conflict prevailed during 1930s and 1940s . According to this school of thought conflict serves no useful purpose because it distracts managers’ attention and diverts their energy and resources. .

 .  Belief: This school believes that conflict is natural and is an inevitable outcome in any group. The human relations view of conflict:  Duration: This view of conflict dominated from the late 1930s and 1940s. Reduction Strategy: Successful management of conflict does not mean total elimination of conflict rather it involves both sustaining a target level of conflict and selecting a reduction strategy to handle conflict.

apathetic and non – responsive to the need for change ands innovation. It is based on the belief that a harmonious. .• The inter actionist view of conflict: This school believes that conflict is not only a positive force in a group but also it is absolutely necessary for a group to perform effectively. peaceful and cooperative group is prone to become static.

 Structures refer to the organizational mechanisms.  Behaviors can include cooperation or coercion.  Structures • Each factor influences and is influenced by others. These are Attitudes. gestures signifying conciliation or hostility. processes and groups that influence recognition and identity needs .  .Conflicts are complex processes.  Attitudes include the parties’ perceptions and misperceptions of each other and of themselves.  Behaviors. There are three factors that influence conflict.

These are given below… Perspectives Cognitive Perspectives Interactional Perspectives .Researches have said that there are two types of perspectives.

These are…  How do individual and group differ tin their approach to conflict?  What tries to the best predict communication in conflict?  How do perceptions influence communication. they interpret and produce messages in unique ways. . values. Cognitive theory of conflict has some certain assumptions. These are Individual is fundamentally goal oriented  People are unique. attitudes. perception and attributes. Individual perception and interpretation of a Situation depends on his beliefs. This perspective tries to answer certain questions. • Therefore the personal characteristics of communicators play a central role in Understanding conflict.• This perspective of conflict emphasizes on how and what people think or on what goes On intellectually in given situation.

People create the situation what they perceive and what they perceive is also influenced by what they do. These are  What roles and structure do people use?  What instructional patterns exist in conflict?  How do people use message? • Example: If the boss instructs the subordinate sternly to the given • situation. • Three questions dominate the Interactional Perspective.• • • • This perspective focuses on how one behaves in a given situation to determine the way other individual will react. the subordinate will react accordingly. . The way of individual react is perceived.

Four different types of conflict are described by management philosopher. These are- Types of conflict Goal Conflict Affective Conflict Cognitive Conflict Procedural Conflict .

Goal incompatibility refers to the extent to which an individual’s or group’s goals are at odds with one other. A month into the semester. or when there are trade off between several types of task or outcomes when Multiple task or goal exist. Several types’ goal conflict has been identified. when people are asked to Achieve multiple outcomes while performing a single task.2000. the student may realize that there are not enough hours in the week to achieve targeted grate and earning tk2000 a Week he student may then face inner conflict because of the difficulty of achieving grade point and earning TK.2000 a week and to achieve an 8-grade point Average while being enrolled full-time during the coming semester. . It can occur when an externally imposed goal conflicts with one’s personal goal. Example: A student may want to earn TK.Goal conflict arises when an individual selects or assigned goals that are Incompatible with each other.

lower productivity and less creativity. Interpersonal conflicts as well as antagonism Between groups are examples of affective conflict. More affective conflict is focused on personalized anger or resentment. Example: Mr. It comes from perception that one is being attacked or criticized. This is known as Affective conflict.Affective Conflict can be defined as the incompatibility feeling and Emotions within The individual or between the individuals. It effects can be seen in poor decision quality. But X is a senior to Y. Y. Y are two salesmen of ABC Company. X and Mr. X behavior affects the smooth operation of Mr. . usually directed at specific individuals rather than specific ideas.

It occurs when ideas thought within an individual or between individual are incompatible. . The effects of cognitive conflict are mainly positive. like better decision quality. Example: A hallmark of high performing teams is their ability to critically consider and evaluate ideas. Successful teams use a variety of techniques that help them keep ideas separated from people. higher productivity and more creativity.

Procedural conflict can be productive. . Union management negotiations often involve procedural conflict before actually begin. a new agenda can be suggested or the group goal can be modified.Procedural conflict exists when group members disagree about the procedures to be followed in accomplishing the group goal. To handle such a conflict new procedure can be formulated.

Researcher highlights two models of conflict Models of Conflict Process Model Structural Model .Models of Conflict can help us to understand the processes and Factors involved in conflict episode.

Views conflict between two or more parties in terms of internal dynamics of conflict episodes Stages of Process Model Frustration Conceptualization Behavior Interaction Outcome .

Stage-1: Frustration Emotion arises when one party perceives the other party as Interfering with the satisfaction of his own needs. In the Frustration stage there are three factors participating the condition for conflict Communication  Structure  Personal variables . wants. objectives etc.

The strategic objectives which match with orientation III. The tactical behavior to achieve the objectives set. .Stage-2: Conceptualization Focuses on the way each party understands and perceives the situation. Influences affect the result in three areasI. Stage-3: Behavior One can observe the actions that result from the perception of conflict. influences the behavior of each party. The orientation in handling conflicts II.

. we see the result that range from agreement to long-term hostility.Stage-4: Interaction The interaction between two parties either escalates or deescalates the conflict Stage-5: Outcome When conflict exists.

Four parameters of Structural Model: Behavioral predisposition: . negotiation. Social Pressure: . . Rules and procedures: . Incentive Structure: ..e. conflict of interests in competitive issues and common problems.the pressure arising from cultural values. abilities and personality.Structure model Identifies the parameters that shape the conflict episode. which constrain and shape the behavior of those conflicting parties. organizational work group norms.this parameter includes the decision making machinery. i.the objective reality which gives rise to conflict viz. decision rules.this includes one party’s motives. and arbitration procedures. interest and so on.

For Example. Functional conflict is created when employees would disagree or debate on how to best achieve a certain goal. so there is a positive conflict two agents. .Functional conflict: Conflict in organizations can be a positive force. •It can lead to the choice of a superior way to reach the goal.Two agents of destiny X and Y.Because they get commission as their client number. and does not focus on the goal itself. •It is constructive because the effects lead to a better or efficient and ingenious way to solve the conflict. Broth agents try to increase their client for their commission . This conflict is called functional conflict.

and (3) Focus on the concerns instead of the individuals themselves. (2) Oblige individuals to be direct. . and high interest with employees. and to encourage problemsolving. the encouragement of ingenuity and improvement.Functional conflicts are said to be constructive when they: (1) Bring up rather than hide matters in which there may be disparities. Functional conflict are qualitative decision-making.

Dysfunctional conflict can be understood as an undesirable experience that is avoided.Firm A and firm B make a joint venture for one purpose . This type of conflict is called dysfunction conflict. . It is destructive because they put a stop to improvement or accomplishment of an aim. For example. disagreement or differences of opinions may arise because of any unexpected reasons. As a results the two firm are confronted to each other and it creates negative effects on their business. It has serious negative effects. Any misunderstanding . This occurs when managers identify that the conflict obstructs the achievement of the goals.

or at least diverge on how the conflict should be interpreted . – (4) It lack communication. – • The members fail to voice out what is needed to solve a problem.• A conflict is said to be dysfunctional when: (1) The members repudiate to work together in finding a solution. – (3) One or both the members decline to accept the superiors arbitration. – (2) A superior is indisposed or incapable to mediate.


alienation and divisiveness within or among groups. • Member’s attention gets diverted from the goals of the group to focus on the conflict. • It may increase bitterness .• Conflict within a group can allow dissatisfied members to voice their complaints leading to internal tension and disruption. .

This attitude recognizes that conflict occurs in an organization whenever interests collide. conflict can also be used to build as well as to break relationships. alternative.sabotage. conflict has both positive and negative impact on the performance of the organization . low quality of work.• All sum up. Conflict may sometimes be desirable and at other times be destructive. Although some conflict can be avoided and reduced.employees will think differently . A balanced attitude to conflict is to be sensitive to the sequences of conflict .ranging from negative outcomes ( loss of skill employees . they need to be managed constructively.rather it can be used as a tool. other have o be resolved and properly managed. It is neither good or bad . increased motivation and commitment . Sometimes . stress and even violence ) To positive outcomes (creative. It is important to be confronted rather than to be ignored. For example – As hammer can be used to build a house as well as to destroy things . • • • • • . When these differences divide interdependent individuals . want to act differently and seek to pursue different goals .high quality of work and personal satisfaction).want to act differently.

increment in conflict intensity badly affects performance. so does the level of performance. After a this point. There are three zones of conflict: Zone 1: Low level conflict Zone 2 :Optimum level conflict Zone 3: High level conflict .As conflict intensity increases. But it has a certain limit.

Zone-1 Low level Conflict Zone-2 Optimum level conflict Zone-3 High level Conflict High Performance Boredom. Dissatisfaction Creative problem solving progress Exhaustion illness low self esteem Low Low Conflict High . Fatigue.

• Constructive conflict should be increased in organization. stagnant & non-responsive. Employees do not try to improve their performance. • Ways to shift low level conflict zone to effective zone: • Stimulating conflict in order to help the individual or group move toward the effective zone.• The behavior of the employees is observed to be apathetic. • For example: Employees of Bangladesh Railway have poor performance. • It results complacency & poor performance due to lack of innovation & low motivation. They have very little level of conflict with the authority. • It is called dysfunctional conflict. The organizational performance is bad. . • Employees should feel conflict as challenge.

 It depends on the tolerance level of individual and it determined by job compatibility.  It is the effective zone leading to high productivity outcome. conflict is characterized as functional conflict. .critical and innovative.  Proper care should be taken to ensure that the level of intensity does not cross the upper limit. In this level.  The behavior of the employees is observed to be feasible.  Upper limit of the effective zone varies from person to person. personality make-up etc. self. job experience.

• For conflict to foster creativity. • It is very difficult to retrieve from this zone to effective zone. • Maintaining conflict at an optimal point. chaotic & uncooperative behavior. . • For example: Recently garments workers are involved with different types of conflicts with the authority then the performance of organization is badly affected. disruptive. • • Ways to shift high level of conflict to effective zone: Identifying optimal level of conflict for a specific situation by understanding individual involvement and their assignment • A degree of creativity to determine strategies for reducing conflict. it must be channeled and directed. • The performance of the employees in this zone is badly affected.• Extreme conflict becomes dysfunctional.

• Effect of conflict: • The effect of this conflict include behaviors like distraction in member’s attention. . reduction in their ability to think clearly and encouragement of perceptions of hostile intensions in other’s actions. • This conflict negatively affects individual satisfaction and commitment to team. • It has negative effect on team performance.• Affective conflict is a perception of incompatibility that others members are preventing the accomplishment of goal.

Organizational Performance is affected by this conflict. Team relationship is negatively affected. .• Process conflict exists when team members disagree about the procedures to be followed in accomplishing the team goal • Effect of conflict: • As the intensity of conflict increases. the performance • • of the team is adversely affected.

higher productivity and more creativity. like better decision quality. • Researches have shown that task conflict was effective where decision were made quickly but not when the decision were decided on slowly. • Extremely high task conflict can lead to member dissatisfaction and low commitment to the team.• Task conflict occurs when ideas and thoughts within an individual or between individuals are incompatible. • Effect of conflict: The effects of this conflict are mainly positive. • .