Managing Conflicts… | Conflict (Process) | Mediation

Managing Conflicts…

 People

belong to different

Background Point of View Values, Need Personalities When they interact tension are developed, Dissension, Confusion, Hostility, Disunity, Harsh treatment, Lack of cooperation are common features. “IT IS A PART OF LIFE”


• A process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected ,or or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about. • It involves collision between ideas and disagreement between/amongst people. • Conflict tends to obstruct cooperative action , create suspicion and distrust and decrease productivity.

Views on Conflicts
• Traditional View: All conflicts are harmful and must be avoided. • Human Relation View: A conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in any group. • Interactionist View: It is a positive force in a group and a absolute necessity for its effective performance.However all conflicts are not beneficial.On this basis there are two types of conflicts – a)Functional Conflict- Supports the goals of the group and aids in its performance b)Dysfunctional Conflicts- Hinders the group performance.

Types of Conflicts
Task Conflict – Conflicts over goals and content of the work. Relationship Conflict – Conflicts based on interpersonal relationship. Process Conflicts – Conflicts over how work gets done.

Levels of Conflict....(1/3)
Conflict between individual
People have differing styles of communication, ambitions, political or religious views and different cultural backgrounds. In our diverse society, the possibility of these differences leading to conflict between individuals is always there, and we must be alert to preventing and resolving situations where conflict arises.

Conflict between groups of people Whenever people form groups, they tend to emphasise the things that make their group "better than" or "different from" other groups. This happens in the fields of sport, culture, religion and the workplace and can sometimes change from healthy competition to destructive conflict.

Levels (3/3)
Conflict within a group of people Even within one organisation or team, conflict can arise from the individual differences or ambitions mentioned earlier; or from rivalry between sub-groups or factions. All leaders and members of the organisation need to be alert to group dynamics that can spill over into conflict.

-The different stages

Stage 1- Potential opposition or incompatibility- One of the
following conditions are necessary for a conflict to arise. a.Communication : Differing word ,connotations, jargon, insufficient exchange of iformation, and noise in the communication channel are all barriers to communication and potential antecedent condition to conflict. b.Structure : Conflicts are directly related to the size,dependency, and specifiactions and specilaistion requirements of a group.Also younger the group members,the more likely is the conflict to arise. c.Personal varaiables : It includes personality,emotions and values.If a person is dogmatic,authoritarian or does not respects emotions,then the conflicts are more likely to arise.

Stage 2. Cognition and Personalisation
•This is the actualisation stage for opposition and incompatibility. •The conflict is defined in this stage •The emotions are sensed(negative or positive) and the perceptions are formed accordingly.

Stage 3. Intentions
•These refer to the decisions to act in a given way. •The primary conflict handling intentions are :a)Competing – A desire to satisfy one’s interests, regardless of the impact on the other party to the conflict. b)Collaboration- A situation in which the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties. c)Avoiding – The desire to withdraw from or suppress a confict. d)Accommodating- The willingness of one party in a conflict to place the opponent’s interests above his or her own. e)Compromising – A situation in which easch party to a conflict is willing to give up something.

Stage 4. –Behaviour
It includes the statements , actions, and reactions made by the conflicting parties. It involves minor disagreements, verbal attacks, threats and ultimatums.
Signs of conflict between individuals

In the organisation leaders and members should be alert to signs of conflict between colleagues,. Typical signs may include: •colleagues not speaking to each other or ignoring each other •contradicting and bad-mouthing one another •deliberately undermining or not co-operating with each other,to the downfall of the team
Signs of conflict between groups of people

Similarly, leaders and members can identify latent conflict between groups of people in the organisation or the community •one group being left out of organising an event which should include everybody •groups using threatening slogans or symbols to show that their group is right and the others are wrong

Stage 5. – Outcomes

These outcomes can be functional and dysfunctional.

Functional – Conflict that support the goals of the group and improve
the performance are functional or Constructive form of conflict. It is Creatively managed conflict that shakes people out of their mental ruts and give them new points of view.

performance due to poor communication, lack of openness & trust between people,failure to be responsive to the needs & aspirations of the others

Dysfunctional- A conflict that hinders group

MANAGING AND RESOLVING CONFLICTS Collective bargaining Especially in workplace situations, it is necessary to have agreed mechanisms in place for groups of people who may be antagonistic (e.g. management and workers) to collectively discuss and resolve issues. This process is often called "collective bargaining", because representatives of each group come together with a mandate to work out a solution collectively. Experience has shown that this is far better than avoidance or withdrawal, and puts democratic processes in place to achieve "integrative problem solving", where people or groups who must find ways of cooperating in the same organisation, do so within their own agreed rules and procedures.

Conciliation The dictionary defines conciliation as "the act of procuring good will or inducing a friendly feeling". South African labour relations legislation provides for the process of conciliation in the workplace, whereby groups who are in conflict and who have failed to reach agreement, can come together once again to attempt to settle their differences. This is usually attempted before the more serious step of a strike by workers or a lockout by management is taken; and it has been found useful to involve a facilitator in the conciliation process. Similarly, any other organisation (e.g. sports club, youth group or community organisation) could try conciliation as a first step.

 Three methods of resolving situations that have reached the stage of open conflict are :-

•Negotiation: This is the process where
mandated representatives of groups in a conflict situation meet together in order to resolve their differences and to reach agreement. It is a deliberate process, conducted by representatives of groups, designed to reconcile differences and to reach agreements by consensus. The outcome is often dependent on the power relationship between the groups. Negotiations often involve compromise - one group may win one of their demands and give in on another. In workplaces Unions and management representative usually sue negotiations to solve conflicts. Political and community groups also often use this method.

•Arbitration: means the appointment of an independent person to act as
an adjudicator (or judge) in a dispute, to decide on the terms of a settlement. Both parties in a conflict have to agree about who the arbitrator should be, and that the decision of the arbitrator will be binding on them all. Arbitration differs from mediation and negotiation in that it does not promote the continuation of collective bargaining: the arbitrator listens to and investigates the demands and counter-demands and takes over the role of decisionmaker. People or organisations can agree on having either a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators whom they respect and whose decision they will accept as final, in order to resolve the conflict.

•Mediation: when negotiations fail or get stuck, parties often call in and independent mediator. This person or group will try to facilitate settlement of the conflict. The mediator plays an active part in the process, advises both or all groups, acts as intermediary and suggests possible solutions. In contrast to arbitration (see below) mediators act only in an advisory capacity - they have no decision-making powers and cannot impose a settlement on the conflicting parties. Skilled mediators are able to gain trust and confidence from the conflicting groups or individuals.


 In An Organisation Marketing – Manufacturing Areas of Potential Goal Conflict
Goal Conflict Conflict Area
Breadth of product line:

MARKETING Operative goal is customer satisfaction Typical Comment
“Our customers “ demand variety.” “New products are our lifeblood.” “We need faster response. Lead times are too long.” “Why don’t we ever have the right merchandise in inventory?” “Why can’t we have reasonable quality at low cost?”


MANUFACTURING Operative goal is production efficiency Typical Comment

“The product line is too broad, all we get are short, uneconomical runs.” “Unnecessary design changes are prohibitively expensive.” “We need realistic customer commitments that don’t change like the wind direction “We can’t afford to keep huge inventories.” “Why must we always offer options that are too expensive and offer little customer utility?”

New product introduction: Production scheduling:

Physical distribution:


Look around you - in your classroom, the cafeteria, the schoolyard - no two people are the same. Unfortunately, the differences that make us unique can also cause conflicts between us. There are many ways we differ from others:  gender  age  race  culture  ethnicity  religion  sexual orientation  body shape and size  interests  level of ability  social class

We all want to fit in and be accepted. People discriminate against others because they are scared of their differences .

For example, Some people have an irrational fear of gays and lesbians (this is called homophobia). This fear may prevent them from associating with people who are gay or lesbian.

Stereotyping is forming a general idea about a group of people based on limited information.

•For example, someone may have had one bad experience with a person of a particular race. They may then use that one experience to justify being mean to anyone who belongs to that race.

Consequences-You may feel scared, hurt, angry and isolated.

Conflict Resolution Conflict resolution always includes two components: Communication — both verbal (i.e. spoken) and non-verbal (i.e. body language) Listening — really hearing what the other person has to say. Active listening, which involves really hearing the other person by checking to see if you have understood them correctly. There are three different types of problem-solving approaches that you can use when trying to resolve a conflict: Negotiation involves meeting face to face to openly discuss both peoples' needs in order to resolve the dispute Mediation involves using a third party to act as a go-between in order to resolve the dispute . •Try talking to your guidance counsellor, teacher or principal. If that doesn't help, ask your parents to contact the school board for support. Consensus decision-making is usually used when a conflict involves a group of people - it involves working together to come up with a plan that makes everyone comfortable.

 A Peek - A – Boo into a Personal Experience of a Conflict
This relates to a personal narration of a conflict which I had experienced around a year back.It happened during my college time.I was heading my college group for the inter-college dance competition.There were 8 participants from our college.The 8 of us were selected after auditions .Then we all used to gather together for the practises. In the initial days of or practises it was observed that there was a mismatch of consensus over various issues.Every one came with their own selection of songs and the choreography.There was a conflict of interest as everyone came up with own ideas. I being the group leader had to face great difficulties in making the right choices out of the various availabilities. Some clashes creeped into the group as everyone had their own backing behind their selection.However, these issues remained low in intensity and were restricted to the initial stages of the process and task of the group work.These were functional conflicts as it didn’t last long and only aided in the best selection out of the rest. Soon, these issues were resolved by me by going through all the suggestions,having a healthy discussion and finally every one gave their free consensus to the decision made..Thankfully it did not affect the inter-personal relations.We finally practised our steps,synchronised and co-ordinated with them and we finally came out with flying colours!!!


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