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  1. 1. Managing Organizational Conflicts - An Islamic Perspective Khizra Samad, Mahhek Tahir , Asma Shaheen Computer Science Department, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences www.nu.edu.pk ksammad@gmail.com, mahhek.khan@gmail.com, asma.shaheen@msn.com Abstract — The purpose of this paper is to understand organizational conflict and examine Islamic perspectives on conflict management, resolution and conflict prevention within project managed environments. Existing research does not reveal any study that examines empirically the Islamic viewpoint on conflict management in contemporary organisational contexts but does indicate that conflict in Islam is considered to be inevitable and a part of human nature, and, if managed properly, is positive and constructive. This paper aims to address this gap, by presenting an empirical analysis of Islamic perspective of conflict management. This paper presents an approach to manage and resolve conflict and describes how it is being implemented in the light of Islamic perspective. The paper is mainly based on library research where material and data is extracted from published articles, Islamic books, Seminar papers, proceedings and relevant websites .The methodology used for giving reference of Islamic verses was keyword based search in relevant website , tool and also data extracted from different authentic Islamic and non Islamic books written on this subject, research papers and the lectures of Islamic scholar that are relevant to the subject. The main reference on Islamic perspective of the research is the Holy Quran followed by the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as well as the classical and contemporary works of the Muslims scholars. The paper concludes that existence of Islamic models for conflict management is visible and has potential for application by project managers without limitation. The paper concludes that existence of Islamic course of action for conflict management is visible and has potential for application by project managers without limitation. Keywords — Islam, Organizational conflict, Conflict management, Conflict resolution, Conflict prevention I. LITERATURE REVIEW Conflict is everywhere in our life. It occurs between individuals or groups. How do we handle conflicts in our personal and social relationships? Negatively or Positively. The outcome of conflict is important considering its negative and positive impacts. In the past No long-term studies were found on the topic of conflict management in Islam, although some documentation on Conflict management in organization based on Islamic patterns is starting to appear. Further research using Islamic values as part of an organizational process would be beneficial. There are numerous books written on conflict management as whole, most of the books written focus on political and ethnical conflicts rather than religious conflicts. Only few address the religious conflict but on surface level, and they do not provide solution or resolution from Quran and Sunnah. Matthew Hassan Kukah and Toyin Falola (1996) in their book entitled Religious, Militancy and Self Assertion; try to portray Islamic politics and militancy in Nigerian context. They cover the main area in Nigeria and talked about some conflict between Muslim and Christian under the umbrella of Islam.However, the book does not depicts the current religious violent or conflict as it was written in 1992[1]. Conflict Resolution- Building and Bridges is a book co- authored by Neil H. Katz and John W. Layer (1993). The authors deal with the nature of conflict and demonstrate some sources and consequences of conflict, as well as emotion in conflict. However, they particularize their book on the resolution of conflict in the school. Ethnic Conflict and International Relation is another book written by Stephen Ryan (1995)[1]. The book talks about the approaches to ethnic conflict as well as international dimension of ethnic conflict. The author’s way of approach the resolution in part two of the book is fantastic; he elaborates dynamics of ethnic conflicts and cements its resolution under three distinctions which are interrelated However, the author only deals with ethnic conflict and not religious conflict. Thomas and Kilmann (1974) also developed a model for handling conflict that utilizes five styles: competing, collaborating, avoiding, accommodating and compromising. Some researchers have suggested that successful conflict management involves using specific styles to resolve conflict situations; for example, that the integrative or
  2. 2. problem-solving style is most appropriate for managing all conflict (Blake & Mouton, 1964; Likert & Likert, 1976)[2]. Early research was often tainted by stereotypical assumptions about women in both the research design and in the interpretation of the data. For example, results from psychological studies, especially those prior to the 1980’s, suggested that men and women tend to endorse conflict management strategies that complement gender role expectations. The research aim has two purposes: to clarify the concepts of values, collaboration and conflict and their relationship with one another within organizations; and to provide data that supported or disconfirm values alignment as a proactive approach to conflict management. Most of these way-outs are non-religious perspectives. Majority of the books reviewed are based on civil or social conflicts, little focus on religious which this paper is focusing and aim to bring solution from Islamic point of view. Nevertheless, the efforts of those books will not be overlooked; they can serve as reverences in one way or the other. II. BACKGROUND Conflict is not a new phenomenon, it exists since the early of human race, QÉbil and HÉbil, both sons of Adam, the first man on the earth experienced the conflict. It exists since then until now, between individuals and groups. Conflict is derived from the Latin word “confliger”.It is defined as “a situation in which people, groups or countries are involved in a serious disagreement or argument in which there are opposing ideas, opinions, feelings or wishes; a situation which it is difficult to choose.”[3]It also refers to “as a condition in which one group engages conscious opposition to another group. [4]Conflict resolution or what could be called conflictology is defined as “the process of attempting to resolve a dispute or a conflict. It could also be called conflict management, dispute resolution or dispute management. [5] Conflict studies is a social science field that identifies and analyses violent and nonviolent behaviours as well as the structural mechanisms attending conflicts (including social conflicts) with a view towards understanding those processes which lead to a more desirable human condition[5,6].The triggers of this conflict are complex and interwoven. Factors include environmental degradation (resulting in conflict over access to resources), previous famines, political neglect resulting in a lack of development (poor health services, poor infrastructure, breakdown in education, poor economic development, etc), and outside interference (British colonialism, Libya, Islamic expansionism, conflict in the South etc) [6]. In a world where boundaries between cultures, religions and civilizations have collapsed, there is a profound need for cross-cultural and multi-religious studies of conflict management. Islamic approaches conflict resolution are important not only for the development and refinement of existing theories derived in the Western cultural context, but also for the promotion of cross-cultural dialogue and understanding. Muslim approaches to conflict resolution draw on religious values, traditional rituals of reconciliation and historical practices of communal and inter-communal coexistence. Studies of Islamic approaches to conflict resolution provide new angles of insight into universal human dilemmas, as well as important supplementation to studies to recognize contemporary Islamic activism not as backward-looking rejection of the modern world, but as deeply felt expression of cultural identity and a critique of domestic as well as international political orders III. INTRODUCTION Conflict is perpetual in every dimension of life. It can occur anywhere when two or more people interact. These conflicts can range from the very personal level to the greater field of international arena that leads to historical wars amongst nations. When talking about organizations, the conflicts is quite a natural phenomenon as an organization is a complex combination of individuals with diversified abilities, backgrounds, cultures, knowledge, temperaments and sometimes languages too and all these individuals interact with each other to achieve a common goal or objective that makes an organization stand out and prosper. But these differences increase the probability of conflicts in organizations. And organizational objects are very hard to achieve without unity and peace amongst the employees and one of the most important determinants of productivity, performance and efficiency, and finally job satisfaction is also the conflict as an independent variable of organizational behaviour. Employees with greater job satisfaction tend to have high level of performance along with greater level of commitment to the organization. [7] This is a common thinking that “everyone strives for the peace”, which can be established only on the absence of conflict. So, with the presence of different kinds of conflicts in our life, the process to avoid or resolve these has been a major concern for the social thinkers all around the world. In this context, Muslim scholars also give their suggestions on this topic to find out methods of conflict resolution and management, in the light of Islamic perspective of thinking, highlighted by our teaching of The Holy Quran and Sunnah of our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peach Be Upon Him). IV. UNDERSTANDING ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICT In each organization conflicts exists in circumstances where organization goals and interests or values are incompatible and they creates hurdles to achieve their goals. Some conflicts are in favour of organization also add value to improve organization performance and to help organization to achieve organization goals but some conflict impacts organization negatively and due to those conflicts organization performance suffers radically.
  3. 3. A. Types of Conflicts There are two basic types of conflicts [8]: 1. Functional conflict 2. Dysfunctional conflict Functional conflict – These are the productive conflicts which support organization goal and assist organization to improve team and overall organization performance because people focus on solving issues and dispute with mutual cooperation and understating. These conflicts help in reducing stagnant aggression between teams and find out a middle constructive agreed point of between different conflicting points of views of different people of organization. Innovations, new bright & creative ideas that can lessen aggression and negative conflicts in overall organization are highly encouraged in this domain. Dysfunctional conflict – Dysfunctional conflicts are opposite of Functional conflicts. These are destructive conflicts that create obstacles for organization to accomplish its goals. These conflict organization performance negatively and focus is to reduce organization performance because people focus is not on solving issues and dispute but they try to make it more critical and worse because of some bias or personal issues. The level of tension and stress vary from group to group. Decision making is weak because of lack of innovation and new ideas. B. SOURCES OF CONFLICTS The diagram below shows the major sources of organizational conflicts [9]. • Different goals and time horizons: Organization has different groups or teams with different goals and objectives and due to different goals and objective groups/ teams face difficulty to agree on one same point e.g. production team focus on efficiency and marketing team targets sales. • Overlapping authority: when two or more managers claim authority and ownership for the same activities or task leads to situation where conflict arise between managers and workers. • Organizational ambiguities. When organization goals and roles are not clearly defined conflict may occur in that case. In addition, in absence of standard approaches to achieve organization goals and objective may also cause conflict. • Task Interdependencies: Task indecencies often create conflicts in different teams or within teams because when one member of a team other team members unable to deliver their work on time that is required by other members to start their work. Due to dependences of work other teams or team member have to wait and which leads team fall behind from deadlines. • Incompatible Evaluation or reward system: evaluation criteria are different for accessing resources of same
  4. 4. level of designation. Reward is comparatively low in result of their achievements. Sometime one group gets reward for achieving their goal but another interdependent group is neglected either they get low reward or get nothing. Such incompatibility in distribution of rewards creates conflict in different teams within • Scarce Resources: When all resources are scarce, managers can have clash over allocations of resources because sometime for a key task only few resources are available and each manager wants that resources in his team to gat ten job done, in this situation manage can have conflicts on recourse allocation. • Inherent conflict: Standardized procedures, rules, and policies that are formulated to decrease the likelihood of conflict; when organization does not implement them properly or face resistance from team in imposing these policies and procedures sometime produce conflict. • Status inconsistencies: In an organization it happens that some teams have higher organizational status than others teams due to favouritism or other factors that can also cause conflict. C. LEVELS OF CONFLICTS The diagram below shows different level of organizational conflicts [9]. • Interpersonal Conflict – These are the conflicts between two or more individuals of the same organization. These conflicts arise because of personalities, experience, background, different individual goals, dissimilarity in views and diverse ways of doing same or different work Efforts. • Intragroup Conflict – These are the conflicts occur within a group, team or department at different stages in group. These conflicts arise because of the incompatibility, incongruence, misunderstanding or disagreement among the members of a group in order to achieve group goals and performing functions, or activities of the group. • Intergroup Conflict – These are the conflicts occur between two or more groups or different groups, teams or departments of same organization. The causes of intergroup conflicts are competing goals, competition for resources in different group, cultural differences of group member and power discrepancies in different groups. • Inter-organizational Conflict – These are the conflict that arises across different organizations. The causes of inter-organizational conflicts are competition between different organization or businesses, mergers, takeovers and acquisitions. A large number of inter- organizational conflicts aids in increasing productivity of an organization instead of decreasing performance because of competition between different organization and some of inter-organizational conflicts are necessary for organization to progress and to compete market. V. PERSPECTIVE ON ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICT Conflict is one of key phenomena that come across in each organization by one way or other. Conflict is an essential matter of consideration for managers and higher management because conflict directly or indirectly affects organizational efficiency, stability, performance, and ability to achieve organizational goals. If organization does not consider the conflict and does not take any preventive action to cure it then it can lead to a position where conflict itself directs organization. Α. The Classical View of Organizational Conflict The classic view of organizational conflict based on different theories of early social sciences activists researches and findings and these are given below: [10] • Frederick Taylor scientific management theory • Weber's bureaucratic approach • Henry Fayol Administrative theory - Frederick Taylor scientific management theory Frederick Taylor (1917) was the pioneer of scientific management theory .His theory also known as "Taylorism". Frederick Taylor and his associates believed that by the use
  5. 5. of scientific management organization would improve its functions and performance. The basic principles of Taylor theory are given below [10, 11]: • The development of a true science of work that involves determining a fair day’s work. • Scientific selection and progressive development of workers. • Fitting of workers to their respective tasks. • Constant and intimate cooperation of managers and workers. • Provision of means to encourage each person to the utmost utilization of his or her capacity. • Development of organization structures to control the various phases of production. Taylor study showed promising results in production field and was successful at improving production of industrialized companies. His theory focused on acquiring the finest equipment and labor, and then carefully scrutinizing each component of the production process. But Taylor study was not fit well in modern companies because scientific management also did not help management to diminish or resolve conflict between individuals and groups in an organization. - Weber's bureaucratic approach Max Weber (1929/1947), a German sociologist, further expanded on Taylor's theories and derived ‘Bureaucratic approach’ that defines organization structure. .The study focused on the importance of division of labour and specialization. He believed that bureaucratic approach described efficient form of organization hierarchy. Weber bureaucratic approach based on the following principles [11, 12]: • Structure – In the organization, positions should be arranged in a hierarchy, each with a particular, established amount of responsibility and authority. • Specialization – Tasks should be distinguished on a functional basis, and then separated according to specialization, each having a separate chain of command. • Predictability and stability – The organization should operate according to a system of procedures consisting of formal rules and regulations. • Rationality – Recruitment and selection of personnel should be impartial. • Democracy – Responsibility and authority should be recognized by designations and not by persons. - Henry Fayol Administrative theory Henry Fayol (1916/1949), a French executive presented “Administrative Theory”. His theory somehow related to today’s organization theory. His theory focused on managerial functions, such as planning, organizing, command, coordination, and control, and he believed that these key things are important in managing organization. Fayol theory organization principles are given below [10, 11] • Work division – it increases productivity of technical and managerial work. • Authority and responsibility – These are vital for an organizational member to accomplish the organizational objectives. • Discipline – Members of the organization should honour the objectives of the organization. They should also comply with the rules and regulations of the organization. • Unity of command and direction – follow orders of immediate supervisor and all organizational members should work for same organizational goal. • Centralization – Management should involve centralization and de-centralization of authority while decision making. • Equity Fairness, justice and equity should prevail in the organization. • Job Stability – organization should ensure employee job security because Job security improves performance. • Initiative – organization should encourage and reward employees for taking initiative. • The concept of line and staff – The concept of line and Staff managers should be clearly defined in organization because it help in achieving organization goal .line personnel work directly to accomplish organizational goal. Staff personnel do basic work and provide timely help and support to line personnel. Fayol theory was extensive then Max Weber Frederick Taylor. Some of Fayol theory principles are widely used by today’s organizations. Β. Religion and Conflict Human has to face numerous conflicts since his existence. Conflict occurs due to dearth of resources, differences between people, groups or nations. There are also some key factors that cause conflict and these factors are ethnicity, race, resources and religion. [13] Religion provides a reliable guideline to its followers to perform their different activities and task throughout the life. Each religion has its own set of beliefs, views and values that streamline its believer’s minds according to
  6. 6. religious beliefs and values. One religion beliefs, views and values may differ with other religion and that build a basis of conflict when people of different religion interacts and work together. Different identities and individuality of people sometime also becomes the cause of religious conflict. It is a bit complicated process to categorize conflict as religious conflict because sometime the conflict that considered religious conflict is not religious conflict and is due to other factors such as economical or political. Researcher like Hoffman and Gurr gave point of view that many conflicts which are classified as religious conflicts are not actually religious conflicts. They base their argument on the fact that in many cases, the root causes of conflict is either political or economic factors [14]. They argue that religion is just a way of mobilising the people to participate in the conflict [15]. Stewart takes a different approach. Stewart’s approach is stated below: ‘while all conflicts have several motives with political and/or economic ones generally central, mobilization frequently occurs on the basis of particular identities, and conflicts can then be classified as ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’, or class or ideological, on the basis of how people are mobilized rather than with respect to the political or economic motives for such mobilization’[16,17] Χ. Islamic view of organizational Conflict Islam is the religion of peace and it guides its believers in every aspects of life by various mean. Conflict is an inevitable phenomenon. Islam concedes that conflict does occur in every phase or stage of human life and it also suffuse human relations or communications in different ways at different levels. Allah says that: “Then did Satan make them slip from the (garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: "Get ye down, all (ye people), from the Garden with enmity one to another. On earth will be your dwelling- place and your means of livelihood - for a time." (Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #36) The above verses proved that Allah indicated and warned mankind in advance about the existence of conflict which they will experience on earth. Islam declares that source of conflict resides inside human being and every human faces occasionally an internal conflict between the inherent intention of good & kindness & the inborn urges of evil & cruelty but there are some other factors that are also involve in creating conflicts. The Holy Quran often focuses on Satan or the relationship between human and Satan, according to Quran Satan play a key role in creating enmity and conflicts among humans. Satan always hunts the ways to distract human from the path of peace and humanity and urge them to fight with each other. Allah says in Holy Quran: “Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? “(Al-Maeda, Chapter #5, Verse #91) Another place Allay declared in Holy Quran: “Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception.” (An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #120) Although Satan is the biggest enemy of mankind but in Quran Allah clears that the satanic suggestion and plans are applicable only in that situation when man himself has the will & the voluntary consent. Thus, Quran deny that the Satan has any invincible or compelling power or authority over the human, the Quran has manifestly confirmed the human origin of the man. Allah says: “And say to My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) that they should (only) say those words that are the best. (Because) Shaitan (Satan) verily, sows a state of conflict and disagreements among them. Surely, Shaitan (Satan) is to man a plain enemy. “ (Al-Isra, Chapter #17, Verse #53) Islam recognizes that conflict is a significant part of organization and each organization has to face conflict somehow or other at different phases because when people communicate and work together they will definitely have disagreements, disputes due to misunderstanding and conflicting working styles or views ; these conflicts do effect organization performance and emphasis to reduce organization performance however, few conflicts are necessary to keep organization alive and progressing in market to compete with other organization. Allah says in holy Quran: “And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one Ummah [nation or community (following one religion i.e. Islam)] but they will not cease to disagree. (Hud, Chapter #11, Verse #118) These verses proved that Allah deliberately create differences among mankind so that they may think and solve problem in a creative way. However, it does not mean that human can behave according to their own accord as Islam provides guidelines and rules to its followers. Conflict that exits in organization can be of different types or forms. The Holy Quran has different stories of different prophets that confirm that conflict is of assorted nature. It can be of many forms, involve many parties & have various causes or sources. The dominant or direct cause may be religious (as in story of Adam’s two sons)[18], social/family (story of Josef &his brothers)[19], political (story of Talut &Goliath)[20].Islam states all forms & levels of the conflict even cover psychological forms. Allah says in Quran: “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted
  7. 7. with all that ye do. (Al-Maeda, Chapter #5, Verse #8) Allah also stated that fight should be only for Allah and for good causes and if anyone fight or create conflict for his personal consent he is in trouble and will receive Allah’s anger. “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. ( Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #190). In an Organization many people work together so it’s an obvious thing to have a conflict some time while performance measurement of employees and Islam also second this thing also justify the role manager or leader who assess the performance has a important role in this regard and for this purpose Allah state in Holy Quran “so whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be no intercourse nor fornication nor Quarrelling amongst one another; and whatever good you do, Allah knows it; and make provision, for surely the provision is the guarding of oneself, and be careful (of your duty) to Me, O men of understanding.” (Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #197) Allah also declared that the person who is in authority whether in organization or in any filed will have to face strong condemnation and criticism from subordinates so in this regard Allah said in Holy Quran: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you Quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end. (An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #59) VI. PROCESS OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT & RESOLUTION Islam being the complete solution of life has encouraged Muslims for unity and brotherhood [22]. As a yardstick and criterion in our lives, Islam has given us a clear definition of unity and brotherhood and how it can be realized managed and implemented. The Aqeedah of the Muslims are defined by this unity factor. [23] Islam believes in unity of Muslims irrespective of their race, nationality, and other factors which are irrelevant when it comes to bonding on an ideological creed. “The Mu’minoon are but a single Brotherhood.” (The Holy Qur’an, 49:10) "A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not oppress him, nor does he leave him at the mercy of others." (Sahih Muslim Book 032, Number 6219) Keeping this unity and brotherhood in mind, Islam suggests us possible ways which will enable us to control or minimize unnecessary conflicts in our organizations. The process of conflict management can be generally divided into 4 stages which are explained below. [24] A. Stating the conflicting view First important thing is to state that the conflict exists. The nature of conflict, the reason and the resources that are involved in the conflict needs to be stated so that we can easily identify what is at stake and how can be solve it easily in minimal time and effort. Most of the time people are acting on what they hear from others and what they see without investigating into the real scenario. Quran has forbidden us to do so. It has been clearly stated in Quran not to believe on things that you are not sure about and you have no knowledge of. Quran says: “And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing or of seeing of (feeling in) the heart will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)” [al-Isra 17:36] Also “But they have no knowledge, therein, they follow nothing but conjecture; and conjecture avails nothing against truth” [al-Najam 53:22] Also “ O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are a sin” Qur'an, [49:12] B. Agreeing that a conflict exist All the parties involved in the conflict should agree that they are facing the conflict and are part of this process. The denial of this can cause hindrance in the ways of solving the conflict as the people who are not mentally ready to accept the conflict are the one who are least bothered about getting the conflict resolved. While dealing with conflicts some people remain in the state of denial because they believe that if they accept that they are the part of conflict or the reason for conflict then they might be panellized, which is not true if we consider the Islamic teachings of life. Things to consider are that first of all making of mistakes are part of human nature and no one is free of mistakes or forgetfulness or sins. By His mercy towards weak man, Allah has opened the gate of repentance, and has commanded him to turn to Him, every time sin overwhelms him [23] “And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31] “O you who believe! Turn to Allaah with sincere repentance!” [al-Tahreem 66:8] “Will they not turn with repentance to Allaah and ask His forgiveness? For Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Maa'idah 5:74] So to summarize one should accept that he is part of the conflict process even if he thinks that he is at mistake or accepting this can cause him trouble as Allah has defined a pattern of life that always has a margin for the people who seek forgiveness.
  8. 8. C. Learning the differences The next important step after identification of the people and the stating of the conflict are listening and learning the differences. Most of the times the parties involve hear with no intension to actually solve the problem. They are ruled by their ego that things to get worst at the end of the conflict resolution process. Egoistic thinking has been forbidden in Islam [24] as it has been mentioned in the Holy Quran: "So enter the gates of Hell to dwell therein. Indeed evil is the abode of the proud.” [An-Nahl (16):29] "Pride is dissatisfaction with the truth, and belittling the people." [Muslim] So the first step is to listen to everyone and listen with patience. Understand what your differences and problems are. This activity can be conducted under the supervision of a manager or supervisor but its better that people at individual levels should cooperate and come forward to form a trust building relationship where they start to believe on what other people are referring to so that it can help in the process of solving the conflict. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “(God) has revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one oppresses another.” [Riyadh-us-Salaheen:1589] The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “Avoid jealousy, for it destroys good deeds as fire destroys wood.” [Riyadh-us-Salaheen:1569] ∆. Solving existed conflict 1. Providing Expert Opinion On many occasions it happens that the resources that are facing the conflict doesn't have complete knowledge of the situation or to judge what is right for them and what not. In such situations the decision of these people can further complicate the situation. The best possible solution in this scenario is to bring up a manager, a supervisor or any third person to help these resources. The important aspects to make sure while selecting a supervisor are as following:[25] • Should have all the information regarding the conflict and the participants. • Should be a neutral person. Biasness can cause a wrong decision that can effect the organization and their important resources can eventually burnout. • Should have knowledge and preferably experience of how to deal with these kinds of conflicts including the Islamic prospective. • Aware of all the organizations rules and policies. This person is supposed to consider all factors, make a decision and discuss with the resources in a manner that is agreeable to all. Privacy concerns should be noted during this phase. Convincing all resources regarding the expert’s judgment is important to settle the conflict. Islam has also mentioned the important of listening to people whom are charged with authority amongst you. As it is mentioned in the Quran: “Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those to whom they are due.” [al-Nisa' 4:58] 2. Negotiation Negotiation is the process in which the conflicting resources try to talk their conflict out. And hence an agreement is made between them which is made considering the betterment of individuals and organization on the whole. Allah says in the Quran: “If ye fear a breach between them twain, Appoint two arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers; if they wish for reconciliation, Allah will cause their reconciliation: For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted will all things” [al-Nisa 4:35] The result of the negotiation can be either a win-win situation or a win-lose situation. Win-win situation is unrealistic in most of the cases. And win-lose situations are mostly not acceptable by all. But the the resources should try to find a situation that doesn't fully effect just one of the party and would be in the benefit of the organization as the whole as well. Some things to consider while doing the negotiations process in light of Islamic teachings are [25]: • Avoid the doubtful as doubt create nothing but conflict. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “That which is lawful is clear, and that which is unlawful is also quite clear. Between these two is that which is ambiguous, which most people do not know. One who avoids the doubtful safeguards his faith and his honor.” [Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 588.] • Learn to forgive others. The Prophet Muhammad (s) said: ““It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.”[Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1011.] The Prophet Muhammad (s) said: “Whoever is offered an apology from a fellow Muslim should accept it unless he knows that the person apologizing is being dishonest.” [Mishkat al Tabrizi, Vol 3, Hadith no. 5052.] • Be generous and merciful where required 1. The Prophet Muhammad (s) said: “Indeed, an ignorant man who is generous is dearer to God than a worshipper who is miserly.”
  9. 9. 2. The Prophet Muhammad (s) said: “Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people.” • Be Honest and speak the truth “An adulterer will not commit adultery when he has full faith (in Allah), and a thief will not steal when he has full faith (in Allah)..” A true action leads to the path of virtue and good deeds, and virtue paves the way of a person to Paradise, and the said person continues to speak the truth till in the sight of Allah he is named Siddiq or Truthful. Lying leads to vice, and vice leads to indecent acts and if a person goes on lying till in the sight of Allah he is named a liar. The Prophet (s) as reported by Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (r) in Bukhari and Muslim. • Show patience and moderation “Be patient (in adversity); for, verily, God will not let the reward of the righteous be wasted.“ [The Holy Quran, Chapter 11, Verse 115] Make things easy and convenient and don’t make them harsh and difficult. Give cheer and glad tidings and do not create hatred.[Prophet Muhammad (s) in Riyadh us- Saleheen, Volume 1:637.] • Show humanity and Ihsan (Excellence) “The (true) servants of (God) the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, replies with (words of) peace.” [The Holy Quran, 25:63.] Allah loves, when one of you is doing something, that he [or she] does it in the most excellent manner. Muhammad (p) cited in Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf, Dawr Al- Qiyam Wal-Akhlaaq Fi Al-Iqtisaad Al-Islaami. Maktabat Wahbah, 1995. 3. Arbitration As the communication gap between then resources increase the need for arbitration increases and any further delay in this process can worsen the conflict. The validity of arbitration has been recognised by the four sources of Sharia; the Koran; Sunna (the acts and sayings of the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him)); Idjma’ (consensus of opinion) and Qiyas (reasoning by analogy). [26] However, there was a debate between classical Muslim jurists over the concept of arbitration.[26] According to one view, arbitration is a form of conciliation, close to ‘amiable composition’, which is not binding on the parties.[27] Those favouring this view hold that the arbitrator’s decision is neither binding nor final, unless it is accepted by the parties. Thus arbitration dose not have any jurisdictional nature, but close to conciliation. Proponents of this view supported their view by the following verse form the Quran: “If you fear a breach between them twain (the man and his wife), appoint (two) arbitrators, one from his family and the other from her's; if they both wish for peace, Allâh will cause their reconciliation. Indeed Allâh is Ever All Knower, Well Acquainted with all things”[4: 35] The second view is that Sharia knew arbitration in its modern sense. This view is based on the following verse from the Quran: Verily! Allaah commands that you should render back the trusts to those to whom they are due, and when ye judge between people, that ye judge with justice: verily how excellent is the teaching which He given you. For Allah is He who heareth and seeth all things” [al-Nisa 4:58] To them if one is authorized to judge, one is authorized to make judgements with a binding decision. [28] In organizations the arbitration can takes many forms. It can be handled by a neutral manager, a commitment created by the organization to resolve conflicts and or the official authority, again the arbitrator should have the knowledge of the conflict; the resources involved the regulations of the organization and the Islamic prospective regarding the conflict resolution process.[29] Arbitration should be done by keeping in mind the organization prospective and reputation plus the motivational interest of the employees. As human beings are the most important assets of an organization in organization behavior and management and their retention have been an important subject of study in every context of a successful organization.[29] Losing them can cause serious damage to the organization's repute, projects and clients. Bad decisions can not just cause an important employee to lose eventually but also create a negative impact in the mind of the rest of the employees regarding the policies of the organization. So the decision should be made considering in mind all such factors but more importantly the Islamic prospective of judging other justly and fairly should be kept in mind all the time “if you do judge, judge between them justly. Allah loves the just.” (Surat al-Maida, 42) You who believe! be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa’, 135) We sent Our Messengers with the Clear Signs and sent down the Book and the Balance with them so that mankind might establish justice. (Surat al-Hadid, 25) Even when it comes to Islamic perspective Islam teaching us to be fair and balance when it comes to justice. [30] Muslims are also ordered to firmly stop this transgression.
  10. 10. Once its stopped, they need to re-conciliate the two parties. Allah said: “but if one transgresses beyond bonds against the order then fight ye against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah, and if complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair for Allah loves those who are fair” [al-Hujrat 49:9] VII. EFFECT OF CONFLICT ON JOB PERFORMANCE The below diagram depicts relationship between the level of conflict and effect on job performance in any organization [31]. In this diagram point A is starting level and point C is ending level of conflict. At point A the conflict is low on the other hand at point C the conflict is very high and overall on both Points (A and C) performance is suffered because too little conflict and too much conflict causes issues in team and organization and hence in result performance is suffered. At point B the level of conflict is optimum and it is the most favourable point where there is a high level of organizational performance and the medium level of conflict because at this point the conflict is not too low and not too high and optimum level of conflicts leads to effective decision making and high performance. VIII. PROCESS OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT & RESOLUTION Robert Bacal, M.A. in his book “Conflict Prevention in the workplace” [32] defined 4 main reasons why conflicts are not prevented efficiently in organization. We will discuss these 4 reasons according to Islamic prospective. 11 Non Action: Doing nothing is an ugly way to avoid conflict. Most of the time people “do nothing” about conflict situation for some reasons like fearing of bringing it out, or fear of discomfort associated with anger. But this is an ugly way to prevent conflict as it will appear soon. So as long as the organization believes “we don't have conflict here” the issues underlying conflict can’t be solved hence causing conflict. Islam also give importance to “doing something. Putting effort regarding issues that an organization faces is of vital importance. As long as you avoid the problem they accumulate and form a bigger issue. Islam teaches us to put effort on our part solve issues. As it says in the Quran “Indeed Allah will not change the condition of people, until they change what is in themselves [13:11] 11 Administrative Orbiting: It means keeping appeals for change or redress always “under consideration”. The managers keep saying “we are dealing with the problem” but the problem never get addressed. Islam advice the managers and leaders to listen to their sub ordinates, their problem and act wisely to solve their issues. That is a duty of a true leader in Islam. Leadership is about teamwork because leaders cannot accomplish anything without their followers (and of course Allah’s help)[33]. Three things are required • Asking the people to help him dignifies the people by making them a partner in solving the problem. • It gives them a stake the success of the solution. • It also gives them a sense of responsibility for owning and maintaining the solution they have arrived at. “So by the Grace of Allah, [O Muhammad], you were soft and gentle with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and seek protection for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” [3:159] “…And (the believers conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation…” [42:38] 11 Secrecy: A common mean of avoiding conflict (or repressing it) is to be secretive. This can be done by employees and managers. The notion is that if nobody knows what you are doing, there will be little conflict. But this is absurdity. Because this just means you are delaying conflict. When ground realities will come to the surface it will have far more emotions attached to it than would have been the case if things were more open. Secrecy has a great deal of importance in Islam. It can be divided into two parts. First is keeping someone's secret. [34] Its important to keep someone's secret if they asked you to do so or if that can affect them in a bad manner.
  11. 11. “He who does not expose a Muslim, Allah will not expose him in this world and in the Hereafter” (Bukhari andMuslim) But more the most important thing is the phenomena of honesty, telling the truth and not hiding under lying facts is also very important in Islam if that can affect other people. A true Muslim must have both traits of honesty and truth[35]. Both the Quran and hadith has emphasized on being honest and truthful in all the matters of life: “O you who believe! Fear God, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” (Quran 9:119) “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. In addition, a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to wickedness and evil-doing, and wickedness leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before God, as a liar”. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari) “Honesty descended from the Heavens and settled in the roots of the hearts of men (faithful believers), and then the Quran was revealed and the people read the Quran, (and learnt it from it) and also learnt from the sayings and traditions. Both the Quran and the traditions strengthened their honesty. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari) 11 Law and Order: Managers try to suppress employees by using law and order, regulations, and power, by using the approach “lean on” people to repress the outward manifestations of conflict. Of course it doesn't make conflict go away. It just sent it to the underground where is many grow and comes out more dangerously. Islam has emphasized on the use of law and order as defined in Quran and Sunnah. Quran and Sunnah have defined a complete pattern of maintaining law and order from the state level to every sphere of life. Whereas Islam has advised us to follow our leaders and those charged with authority amongst us it has also advised the leaders to use this authority justly. "Shall I seek other than God as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book (the Quran) fully detailed [6:114] "Had God willed, they would not have committed Shirk. We did not appoint you as a guardian over them, nor are you a trustee over them.[6:107] Any man-made religious "fatwa" is in violation of God's exclusive right as the Only Law Maker. [36] A. Techniques of Self Conflict Prevention: Following are the techniques of self-conflict prevention. [35, 36] • Cooperative Communication The idea behind cooperative communication is that there are certain ways of expressing ourselves that encourages people to listen, hear, and work with us in cooperative way. Cooperative communication helps people see us on the same side as they are. [35] Islam also teaches us to communication with others in a way that is soft and effective to win hearts. Allah describes the time when Luqman advised his son on how he should behave with people: "Go at a moderate pace and lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is the braying of donkeys" [31:19] The other occasions the root word "‫غض‬ (to lower/reduce)" has been used in the Qur'an are as follows: "It is those who lower their voices in the presence of Allah's messenger and whose hearts Allah has proved to be aware - they will have forgiveness and a great reward" [49:3] • Good Character (Husne Khalq) With a good character one can always avoid all kinds of conflict in organization. At individual level the employee should try to maintain a good character should which not just be at the personal level but also at the level of his colleagues and to benefit the organization. If all of the people in organization follow this trend the organization will have less conflicts and even if there are some issues that can be solved internally with mutual understanding. We were sitting with 'Abdullah bin 'Amr who was narrating to us (Hadith). He said that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: 'The best among you are the best in character (having good manners). [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.61 Narrated by Masruq] Yahya related from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "I was sent to perfect good character. [Al-Muwatta Hadith 47.8] • Respect Humanity (Ihtarame Insaniyat) Islam has taught us to respect humanity, that is the key for a peaceful environment at all level of the world. Indeed We have honored the Descendants of Adam and transported them over land and sea, and gave them good things as sustenance, and made them better than most of Our creation. [17:70]
  12. 12. “And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know." [2:30] • Atmosphere of Coordination (Khairkuwahana Fiza) The usual atmosphere of the organization should be based on coordination, cooperation, sacrifice, support, mutual understanding, and brotherhood. Whenever they should meet they should say Salam. Cruelty, backbiting, fraud, ill naming, jealousy, envy, curiosity, accusation, insult and all such negative things should be avoided when people are working in a workspace. [37] O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful. [49:12] And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. [5:2] • Brotherhood (Bhai Chara) All Muslims are brothers to one another. They should want the same for his brother what he wants for himself. [38] If everyone in an organization thinks this way there will be lesser conflicts and a better environment in the organization. And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. [3:103] • Equality (Masawat): All people should be considered equal in humanity [38]. No one should be looked down upon. If such a thinking is encouraged in an organization then people at high post will not blame or insult their subordinates that encouraging a healthy environment which reduces conflict in the organization. As it’s mentioned in Quran “O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [49:13] “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. “[4:1] B. Conflict Prevention Teaching as a Peace Education Curriculum. [39] It is time for a comprehensive Islamic peace education curriculum, a non-biased, human rights–based education. Private and public secondary schools, technical colleges and universities, and seminaries need to institute peace and conflict-resolution studies programs, where students can acquire essential conceptual and theoretical conflict- resolution knowledge. A vigorous peace education curriculum will allow students to study and also practice the art of applying conflict resolution theory to their own lives and communities. C. Treating non-Muslims in organization avoiding conflicts Non-Muslims are taught to be treated in a good manner in an Islamic community. Our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) has always kept good relationship with non-Muslims where ever he go. When we examine the relations of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) with the people of the Book during the first years of Islam, we see that he co-operated with Christians. When Muslims were subjected to cruelty by pagans in Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) told them to migrate to Ethiopia, a place where Christians lived at that time. King Negus, the Christian ruler of that country, accepted the migrant Muslims and protected them against oppression. [40] The tolerant attitude adopted by the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) towards Jewish communities also sets a good example for all believers. During the period of the Constitution of Medina, the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) treated Jews kindly and tolerantly. He encouraged that there be co-operation, counselling and goodness between Muslims and Jews. Indeed, this was put into practice in daily life. This just and tolerant attitude of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) surely applied to all people from all religions and races. Despite treachery, attacks and plots, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) always forgave the perpetrators in compliance with the verse “those who pardon other people” [3:134]. And as the verse suggests, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and kindly instruction, and discuss (things) with them in the politest manner.” [16:125], he always summoned people to Islam with gracious advice. [40] To sum it up, following the footstep of our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) the non-Muslims should be cooperated in organization. And Muslims should maintain a friendly
  13. 13. environment with them and should not abuse them for being a non-Muslim. IX. CONCLUSION Conflict in an organization is a natural process which is likely to occur in an organization because organization is a place where people from diversified background, knowledge and personalities meet and work together. The important thing is how well conflicts are managed. The management of conflict lies in the hand of the organizational management and the employees itself. The management should try to introduce conflict prevention in the culture and roots of the organization so that it is avoided in the first place. Even still if conflicts occur then management of conflict should be done considering the processes mentioned in the term paper. Islam has a complete definition of life and Islamic rules are defined in the light of Quran and Sunnah. If the managers and the employees consider the Islamic perspective of teaching and exercise in their daily work life then all kinds of organizational conflicts are less likely to occur and easier to solve without effecting the performance of employees. This will not only enhance the work performance of the staff members but will also help the organization to run effectively and efficiently to achieve its goals and objectives. REFERENCES [1] Iqbal Unus (Dr.), “Conflict Management: The Salam Model“,http://www.islamist.org/index.php? file=/services/resources/book_excepts /index.html&file2=conflunus.14 September 2004 [2] The Noble Qur’an, trans. Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi- ud-Din al-Hilali, Daar al-Salaam, Pakistan, n.d. [3] A.S. Hornby, Oxford advanced dictionary, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 239. [4] Pandmashri Dr. S.S. Shashi, editor-in-chief, Encyclopedia of humanities and social science (New Delhi: Anmol Publication, 1992), 9:1091. 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