What is Conflict? A disagreement between people that may be the result of different: – Ideas – Perspectives – Priorities – Preferences – Beliefs – Values – Goals – Organizational structures
The discord that arises when goals, interests or values of different individuals or groups are incompatible and those people block or thwart each other’s efforts to achieve their objectives.
Conflict is inevitable given the wide range of goals for the
different stakeholder in the organization.
Lack of conflict signals that management
emphasizes conformity and stifles innovation.
Conflict is good for organizational performance
although excessive conflict causes managers to
spend too much time achieving their own ends.
Conflict Can cause organizational distress • Low morale • Complaints and bickering • Minimum creativity • Lack of team spirit • Absenteeism and turnover
The Effect of Conflict on Organization Performance
Sources of Conflict
Sources of Conflict • Ambiguous jurisdictions: “ I don’t know who has the sign off on that issue.” • Conflict of interest: “ Doesn’t she belong to the College too?” • Communication barriers: “ They never return phone calls.” • Unresolved prior conflicts: “ We always have a problem with the Feds about the final report.” • Over dependency of one party: “ We will have to wait until the Budget is announced.”
Misconceptions about Conflict
Harmony is “normal”
• Conflict is “abnormal”
• Conflicts and disagreements are the same
• Conflict is the result of “personality problems”
• Conflict and anger are the same
Conflict between individuals due to differences in their goals or values.
Conflict within a group or team.
Conflict between two or more teams or groups.
Managers play a key role in resolution of this conflict
Conflict that arises across organizations.
Types of Conflict
Individual Thought or
Blocked from satisfying
Determine the problem
Behavior is based on beliefs
The conflict is resolved in one
Problems are resolved
Unifies a group
Leads to negativism
Conflict is destructive when it • Takes attention from important activities • Undermines morale or self-esteem • Polarizes people and groups • Jeopardizes teamwork • Leads to negative behavior • Creates stress
Conflict is constructive when it • Identifies and clarifies important issues • Solves problems • Results in “something for everyone” • Causes authentic communication • Leads to sharing information • Encourages cooperation • Builds/strengthens interpersonal skills
• Phase Two
– Conceptualization of cause
• Phase Three
– Behavior directed at cause
• Phase Four
– Outcome as a result of the behavior
Assumes that the problem is caused
by the other person.
Develops a private diagnosis and
Tries to get other person to change
logic, indirect influence, or critique.
If other person resists, that confirms #1.
Responds to resistance through intensifying pressure, protecting, or rejecting the other person.
If efforts are unsuccessful, it’s the other person’s fault.
Going Beyond Defensive Coping
Begin with communication
Focus on active listening techniques
Separate the problem from the person
Use “I” statements
Phases of Conflict Management
Collect data: know the cause and remain objective.
Probe: ask open-ended questions and listen actively.
Save face: work toward a win/win result.
Common interests: redefine the conflict.
Reinforce: give support to common ideas.
Negotiate: suggest partial solutions or compromises.
How Do You Cope With Conflict? Five strategies exist for coping with conflict
Five Modes for Handling Conflict
Avoidance: steering clear of and denying the
existence of the conflict and disagreement.
Accommodate: letting the other person decide
totally what the resolve is to be.
Compete: aggressively pursuing ways to win from
my own perspective.
Compromise: looking after both parties interests.
Collaborate: assertively looking after my interests but equally concerned
with the interests of the other person.
Coping With Conflict Avoidance.
Most preferred strategy during initial stages.
Individuals fail to address the conflict.
-Nothing to lose.
-Lack of time.
-Inappropriate time or place.
-Individuals are angry.
Postponing a resolution hinders group progress.
A power-oriented strategy.
One party pursues his/her own concerns.
- Results in one winner and one loser.
- Usually based on limited resources.
The resolution decreases cooperation within
Competition should be based on whether winning the
conflict is beneficial to individuals or the group.
A strategy for resolving immediate needs.
Contains an element of self-sacrifice.
- The issue is more important to the other party.
- You discover that you were wrong.
- Preserving harmony is important.
Accommodation emphasizes common interests
and deemphasizes differences in the group.
A strategy for finding an expedient solution.
Resolution is mutually acceptable for all parties.
- A temporary settlement for complex issues.
- Group goals outweigh assertive strategies.
- Individuals of equal status are equally committed.
Compromise works towards partially satisfying both
parties, but each party must honor the resolution for
A strategy that fully satisfies both parties.
Encourages teamwork and cooperation.
- There must be a high level of trust.
- A need to gain commitment from others.
- A need to work through hard feelings.
The best decisions are made with collaboration, given
the presence of trust, respect, and communication
among group members.
Three Assumptions in Disagreement
Lose-Lose: everyone loses when people try to
work out their disagreements.
Win-Lose: someone wins and someone loses; the
best that can be hoped for in disagreements.
Win-Win: everyone can win.
High Low High You Others Lose/Lose Win/ Win Win /Lose Lose/ Win Outcome of Conflict
ASSERTIVENESS COOPERATIVENESS Compete Collaborate Avoid Accommodate Compromise Low High High Modes of Handling Conflict
When it keeps people from getting work done.
When it threatens the relationship; destroys
confidence and trust.
When it becomes personal; feelings are hurt.
When it dictates conformity; people are forced to
When it increases the involvement
When it leads to growth.
When relationships are clearly defined.
When it provides an outlet for stress, anxiety,
When it leads to cohesion within the group.
Wilson’s Method of Conflict Management 1. Evaluate interpersonally: know and understand the conflict. 2. Define interpersonally: share feelings and perceptions publicly. 3. Identify shared goals: this may mean developing some ideas about both parties would like to have as a result. 4. Generate possible resolutions: develop a list of all possible ways the differences can be resolved.
5. Weigh the resolutions against the goals: find out how well each of the possible resolutions satisfy or meet the goal or goals generated in step 3. 6. Select best solution: identify which among the alternatives is the best, most satisfying and agreeable one. 7. Evaluate resolution: when the resolution has been put into place or acted upon, ascertain whether it had its intended effect
Conclusion: Conflict Management
Individual worth and integrity remain intact or are