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Conflicts & Conflict Resolutions by Deepraj Naiko, Manish Cushmagee & Zouleikha Toorawa
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Conflicts & Conflict Resolutions by Deepraj Naiko, Manish Cushmagee & Zouleikha Toorawa



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  • 1. 1
  • 2. 2
  • 3.  The Workplace Protagonists of the Workplace Introduction to Conflicts Types of Conflicts The Conflict Process Views over Conflicts Symptoms of Conflicts Symptoms v/s Causes Causes of Conflicts Conflict Resolution Techniques Conflict Management Model Conflict Resolution Process Consequences of Conflicts Cases of Conflicts Groupwork Conclusions List of References The End 3
  • 4. “The location at, or from, which anemployee ordinarily performs theduties of his or her position or theactual building to which the employeereturns to prepare or submit reports,and where other administrative matterspertaining to his or her employment areconducted.” 4
  • 5. A virtual workplace is a workplace thatis not located in any one physical space.Rather, several workplaces aretechnologically connected (via theInternet) without regard to geographicboundaries. Employees are thus able tointeract and work with one another in acollaborated environment regardless ofwhere they are in the world. A virtualworkplace decreases unnecessary costsby integrating technology processes,people processes, and online processes.Contents 5
  • 6. The Employer :A legal entity that controls and directs aworker under an expressed or impliedcontract of employment with a salary. zz26nLnCQPtThe Employee :A person who works in the service ofanother person under an expressed orimplied contract of hire, under whichthe employer has the right to control thedetails of work performance.The factors designating someone as anemployee include:• A specific wage or salary,• An implied or written contract,• Control of the persons work by the employer 6
  • 7. And the relationship between these 2protagonists, technically tagged as the“Employment Relations” is veryimportant.“Employment Relations” is a broadterm used to refer to the generalmanagement and planning of activitiesrelated to developing, maintaining andimproving employee relationships bycommunicating with employees,processing grievances or disputes, etc. relations/HOWEVER, conflicts play a veryimportant role in this employer-employee relationship. & are inevitablein workplace settings, 7
  • 8. 8
  • 9. “Truth springs from arguments amongst friends” David HumesA state of disharmony betweenincompatible persons, ideas, or interestsA clash or opposition betweencharacters or forces in a work of dramaor fiction. (1998) defines conflict as :“A condition that arises when theperceived interests of an individual or agroup in such a way that strongemotions are aroused. Conflict, whenmanaged effectively, can contribute toorganisational effectiveness, but whenmishandled, can give rise to counter-productive behaviours, in which bothsides lose.” 9
  • 10. 10
  • 11. All Workplace conflicts almost alwaysfall into two primary CATEGORIES:Task or substantive conflicts:Involves employee disagreements aboutworkplace issues on the work itself.Personal or personality conflicts:Usually involves two or more individualswho are simply annoyed by the behaviorof another.Often, this type of conflict arises frommere “bad chemistry” between two ormore people. le_june09_workplaceconflict 11
  • 12. Thus, some of the different types of conflictare:Differences in Leadership Style.Leaders have different ways of leadingtheir teams & their preferred way forcompleting a job can differ.For example, one leader may be autocraticwhile another may be democratic.ORone person may just want to get the workdone quickly (task oriented), while anotheris more concerned about making sure thateveryone has a say in how the work getsdone (people oriented).If a leader himself does not adopt a goodleadership strategy, followers may befrustrated, which can then lead to Conflicts conflict-in-the-workplace.html 12
  • 13. Differences in Background/Gender.Conflicts can arise between people becauseof differences in educational backgrounds,personal experiences, ethnic heritage,gender and political preferences.For example, a Christian with dreadlocks istransferred to a new section under the aegisof an Indian manager. Stereotyping about“Rasta” being “undisciplined” may occur.Interdependence Conflicts.It occurs when a person relies on someoneelses co-operation, output or input in orderfor them to get their job done.For example, a sales-person is constantlylate in inputting the monthly sales figureswhich causes the accountant to be late withhis or her reports. conflict-in-the-workplace.html 13
  • 14. Goal Conflict:Conflict arises when an individual selectsor is assigned goals that are incompatiblewith each other.For example, your Manager asks you tosubmit the minutes of this morning‟smeeting at the same time you weresupposed to submit the updated statistics tothe Assistant Manager. conflict-7124674Cognitive Conflict:It occurs when thoughts and ideas withinan individual or between individuals orgroups are incompatible.For instance, if the CEO wants to engagemore in CSR, while the chairman wants toincrease profits of the organisation conflict-7124674 14
  • 15. Affective Conflict:Affective conflict is rooted with anger,personal criticism, emotions,selfishness, defensiveness, andresentment. It is evident in showingemotional persuasion, verbal attack toanother team member, pointing thefinger with accusations of fault, orargumentation for selfish reasons. Resolution/737003Procedural conflict:Procedural conflict exists when groupmembers disagree about the procedureto be followed in accomplishing the taskor goal. is-conflict-7124674 15
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  • 17. • Potential Opposition(Symptoms)1 • Cognition and Personalisation2 • Manifest Behaviour3 • Resolution4 • Outcomes5 17
  • 18. Stage 1: Potential OppositionIt is to be noted that all conflictingsituations start with an antecedentwhich leads to a situation where thereare signs of disagreement. Some Factorsthat can lead to conflict:Communication – Poor communicationor not enough information or too muchinformationStructure– Size; degree ofspecialization, and standardization inthe tasks assigned to group members;heterogeneity (gender) of the group;leadership styles; the culture of theorganisationPersonal variables –People‟s personalityand personal values is-conflict-7124674 18
  • 19. Stage 2: Cognition and PersonalizationHere the person becomes aware and issomehow frustrated by it. When aconflict is personalized, the person feelsfrustration, tension, anxiety (nervous)about it.Two types of conflict may arise here: Perceived Conflict – Awareness by one or more parties of the existence of conditions that create opportunities for conflicts to arise. Felt Conflict – Emotional Involvement in a conflict that creates anxiety, tenseness, frustration or hostility is-conflict-7124674 19
  • 20. Stage 3: Manifest BehaviourNow an action is actually taken thatconflicts with another parties‟ desires orgoals.Here, involved parties become aware ofthe conflict and a method to handle theconflict is initiated.This stage includes statements, actionsand reactions made by the conflictingpartiesStage 4: ResolutionThe conflict may be resolved usingappropriate techniques. But can alsoget worse if not resolved carefully. is-conflict-7124674 20
  • 21. Stage 5: OutcomesThe action-reaction interplay betweenthe conflicting parties results inconsequences. The are two main typesof outcomes:1. Functional outcomes – “Conflict isconstructive when it improves thequality of decisions, stimulates ormotivate creativity and innovation,encourages interest among groupmembers, and fosters an environment ofself-evaluation and change.” (Robbins)2. Dysfunctional outcomes are seenwhen the conflict has destructive formsof consequences that disrupt a group‟sor organizations performance. is-conflict-7124674 21
  • 22. 22
  • 23. 1. Traditional ViewAll conflicts are bad and are detrimentalto the organization and is not welcomedin business situations where innovationand change are common features.2. Human Relations ViewConflict is going to happen, so cope withit! When people work together inbusiness, conflict is inevitable.It is a mix between the traditional viewand the interactionist view.3. Interactionist ViewConflict is essential to innovation andcontinually improving in business.Conflict can be either advantageous(Functional) or can be disadvantageous(Dysfunctional). The only thing thatmatters in differentiating between thetwo is if it improves or harms a group‟sperformance. is-conflict-7124674 23
  • 24. 4. Unitarist PerspectiveFrom the HRM school of thought, the beliefis that conflict is rather a manifestation ofpoor HRM policies and the whole teamshould work on the conflict aroused togetherwithout the need of Unions ofconflict.html5. Pluralist PerspectiveThe Pluralist approach recognizes that firmsare made up of sectional groups whoseinterests may coincide or may conflict withrival sources of leadership and attachment,thus leading to conflict of interest betweenemployers and employees (Geare et al. 2006). ofconflict.html6. Marxist PerspectiveMarxist-based social theory argues thatindividuals and groups from different socialclasses within society have differing amountsof resources and that the more powerfulgroups exploit groups with less power.Conflict will arise as long as they differ inclasses. 24
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  • 26. Conditions brought on by otherrelated situations; signs of abasic problem that may arise.• Tensions• No Desire to communicate• Work not done Properly• Disastrous Meetings• Decrease in Productivity• Absenteeism• Escalating Costs• Work-Related Accidents• Slamming Doors 26
  • 27. • A „blame culture‟• Bullying and harassment• Low morale and motivation• Unreasonable use of managerial authority• Rude and aggressive behaviour• People leaving or seeking transfers – high unit turnover 27
  • 28. Symptoms are Conditionsbrought on by other related situations;signs of a basic problem that may arise.WhereasCauses are The basic problems;situations that give rise to symptoms.The difference between a cause and asymptom is that a cause is usually theresult of a decision, whereas a symptomis the direct or indirect result of acause. 28
  • 29. 29
  • 30. Bell & Hart identify 8 causes :1. Conflicting ResourcesWe all need access to certain resources –whether these are office supplies, helpfrom colleagues, or even a meeting room– to do our jobs well.When more than one person or groupneeds access to a particular resource,conflict can occur.2. Conflicting StylesEveryone works differently, according tohis or her individual needs andpersonality.For instance, some people love the thrillof getting things done at the last minute,while others like to complete it theearliest possible. conflict.htm 30
  • 31. 3. Conflicting PerceptionsAll of us see the world through our ownlens, and differences in perceptions ofevents can cause conflict, particularlywhere one person knows something thatthe other person doesnt know, butdoesnt realize this.4. Conflicting GoalsSometimes we have conflicting goals inour work.For instance, one of our managers mightwant to aim at obtaining more loyal andlong term customers, while anothermanager simply wants to get themaximum number of customers to boostfigures. Its sometimes quite difficult toreconcile the two! conflict.htm 31
  • 32. 5. Conflicting PressuresWhat happens when you need a reportfrom your colleague by noon, and hesalready preparing a different report forsomeone else by that same deadline?Conflicting pressures are similar toconflicting goals; the only difference isthat conflicting pressures usually involveurgent tasks, while conflicting goalstypically involve projects with longertimelines.6. Conflicting RolesSometimes we have to perform a taskthats outside our normal role orresponsibilities. If this causes us to stepinto someone elses "territory," thenconflict and power struggles can occur. conflict.htm 32
  • 33. 7. Differing Personal ValuesImagine that your boss has just askedyou to perform a task that conflicts withyour ethical standards. Do you do asyour boss asks, or do you refuse? If yourefuse, what will be the consequences?There may be times when youre askedto do things that clash with yourpersonal ethics.8. Unpredictable PoliciesWhen rules and policies change at workand you dont communicate that changeclearly to your team, confusion andconflict can occur. In addition, if youfail to apply workplace policiesconsistently with members of yourteam, the disparity in treatment canalso become a source of dissension. conflict.htm 33
  • 34. Other Causes of conflict include :Poor CommunicationPoor communication is one of the maincauses of conflict between employees inthe workplace.This can result in a difference incommunication styles or a failure tocommunicate.Failing to communicate in theworkplace may cause employees tomake incorrect assumptions and believeworkplace gossip.Poor communication in the workplacenot only causes conflict but decreasesproductivity and employee morale. workplace-21264.html 34
  • 35. Contract of Employment not wellformulatedThe contract of employment, being alegal document, is also a central featurein Employment Relations.No contract can be final or fullyexhaustive, but it should be carefullyformulated so as to avoid conflicts,whether of rights or of interest.If an employee is working and wants toimprove further, and thus makes somedemands, an issue of interest is aroused.If management does not consider thedemands, conflicts may occur. 35
  • 36. Issue of RightIt may also happen that employees noticethey are not being treated as per theircontract, and thus raise voice. This leadsto an issue of right.Issue of rights, if not carefully considered,may lead to conflicts, or even strikes inworst cases. 36
  • 37. Competition (Cause or Consequence?)Unhealthy workplace competition is acause of employee conflict. Someindustries foster competitiveenvironments more than others.When salary is linked to employeeproduction, a workplace mayexperience strong competition betweenemployees.Competition that is not properlymanaged can result in employeessabotaging or insulting one another,which creates a hostile workenvironment.Unhealthy workplace competitiondiscourages teamwork and promotesindividualism. workplace-21264.html 37
  • 38. Stress (Cause or Consequence?)The body produces both physiological andpsychological reactions, called stress, to thedemands of life.Any time your brain identifies a possiblethreat, it releases a signal to the body torelease hormones which produce a fight-or-flight response. You either confront thesituation or avoid it.Stress can either lead to conflict or be anoutcome to conflict. (Cause or Consequence?)Employees have a lot of reasons for callingout “sick” other than genuine illness.Here‟s one you may not have thought of:They‟re afraid of, or angry at, a co-worker. absenteeism/ 38
  • 39. 39
  • 40. To Resolve Conflicts Effectively, we need tounderstand two theories that lies behindeffective conflict resolution:-1. The „Interest-Based Relational Approach‟This type of conflict resolution respectsindividual differences while helping peopleavoid becoming too entrenched in a fixedposition.In resolving conflict :1) Create an environment conducive to harmony2) Non-personalization of problems3) Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Stephen Covey)4) Set out the “Facts”5) Explore options together as a team 40
  • 41.  Kenneth and Kilman’s Theory 41
  • 42. Different Conflict ResolutionMethods Include:Passive conflict resolutionIt is the most common method & involvesjust ignoring the conflict. The leader maynot want to get involved or may feel thatthe workers are better off working theproblem out on their own.Structured problem solvingConflicts can be resolved by gatheringdata regarding the problem and havingthe data analyzed by a disinterestedobserver to add weight to the claims ofone of the conflicting parties.Preventing conflictThe best way to win an argument is toavoid it. Skilled leaders use differenttechniques to create an environment thatis relatively free of conflict by carefullydefining goals, rewards, communicationsystems in a firm conflict-7124674 42
  • 43. Win-win SituationSatisfying both side‟s needs by balancingdemands. This happens when the managerdetermines what each person in the conflictwants as an outcome and looks forsolutions that can satisfy the needs of bothparties. (Foster)Confronting conflictListening the problem actively to help thesubordinates resolve conflicts. Thisprovides a means for coming to a solutionof the conflict. (Foster)Selecting a better alternativeChoose an idea neither of the partiesconsidered. The leader then asks theconflicting parties to pursue an alternativeplan of action. (Foster)Choosing a winnerChoose the winner, then deal with thenegative feelings between the two parties 43
  • 44. We also have Alternative DisputeResolutions (ADR) methods that help toresolve conflicts:Third Party Mediation:Typically, a third party, the mediator,assists the parties to negotiate asettlement.The process is private and confidentialwhere the mediator acts as a neutralthird party and facilitates rather thandirects the process.Collective Bargaining:The interests of the employees arecommonly presented by representativesof a trade union to which the employeesbelong.The collective agreements reached bythese bargaining aim at the welfare ofthe bargaining party. 44
  • 45. Conciliation:A process whereby the parties to adispute agree to utilize the services of aconciliator, who then meets with theparties separately in an attempt tobringing about a negotiated settlement.Arbitration:A legal technique for the resolution ofdisputes outside the courts, where theparties to a dispute refer it to one ormore “arbitrators“, whose decision islegally binding for both sides.Negotiation:Negotiation is the process where eachparty intends to reach an understandingto produce an agreement or compromiseto their advantage. 45
  • 46. Psychological ContractA psychological contract represents themutual beliefs, perceptions, andinformal obligations between anemployer and an employee. It sets thedynamics for the relationship anddefines the detailed practicality of thework to be done. It is distinguishablefrom the formal written contract ofemployment which, for the most part,only identifies mutual duties andresponsibilities in a generalized form. 46
  • 47. Step 1 – Set theScene Step 2 – Gather Information Step 3 – Agree the Problem Step 4 – Brainstorm possible solutions Step 5 – Negotiate a Solution 47
  • 48.  The first step involves makingthe people involved the conflict to usediscussions and negotiations ratherthan raw aggression. Emphasize on the fact that youare presenting your perception of theproblem and use active listening skillsto ensure that you hear and understandother‟s position and perceptions. Make sure you are using anassertive approach rather than asubmissive or aggressive style. 48
  • 49.  We ask for the other persons view to get to the underlying interests, needs and concerns, and confirm that we respect his/her opinion and need his/her cooperation to solve the problem. Try to understand the conflict in objective terms:  Is it affecting work performance?  Damaging the delivery to the client?  Disrupting teamwork? Hampering decision making? We should:  Listen with empathy and see the conflict from the other persons point of view  Identify issues clearly and concisely  Use I statements  Remain flexible  Clarify feelings 49
  • 50.  Often different underlying needs, interests and goals can cause people to perceive problems very differently. Is the problem really a problem??? Before finding a mutually acceptable solution, we need to agree the problems that we are trying to solve. Sometimes, people will see different but interlocking problems – if you can‟t reach a common perception of the problem, then at the very least, you need to understand what the other person sees as the problem. 50
  • 51.  If everyone is going to feel satisfied with the resolution, it will help if everyone has had a fair input in generating solutions. Brainstorm possible solutions and be open to all ideas, including the ones you never considered before.“A problem cannot be solved at the same level it was created” - A. Einstein 51
  • 52.  Now, the conflict may be resolved: Both sides may better understand the position of the other, and a mutually satisfactory solution may be clear to all. However, you may also have uncovered real differences between your positions. This is where a technique like win-win negotiation can be useful to find a solution that at least to some extent, satisfies everyone. The three guiding principles at this stage:  Be Calm  Be Patient  Have Respect 52
  • 53. 53
  • 54. As previously mentioned, the outcomesof conflicts can be CATEGORISED asFunctional (Advantageous) orDysfunctional (Disadvantageous).Unmanaged conflict has the potential tocause several negative consequences inworkplaces. Many times these costs are“hidden,” that is, they are not readilyapparent.However, Conflicts can also lead topositive consequences. s/personal/interpersonal_skills/conflict_resolution.htm 54
  • 55. The positive consequences ORFunctional Outcomes (experiencedusually when the conflict has beenresolved) can be said to :• Bring Positive Change• Trigger Creativity• Bring Innovation• Help to gain new information and new ways of looking at things• Increase cohesiveness within the group. s/personal/interpersonal_skills/conflict_resolution.htm 55
  • 56. The negative consequences ORDysfunctional Outcomes (experiencedusually when the conflict has NOT beenresolved) are:• Strikes• Increased costs (time, money) devoted to dealing with the conflict• Wasted resources and energy spent dealing with the conflict• Decreased productivity• Lowered motivation• Poor decision-making• Complaints and blaming• Backstabbing and gossip• Dissatisfaction and stress ing/Consequences%20of%20conflict.html 56
  • 57. Conflict can also be costly to anorganization. The trouble isnt necessarilythe fact that conflict exists. Its how wedeal with those conflicts or what happenswhen they arent resolved. The impact ofconflict in the workplace can bedevastating - to the parties involved, tocolleagues and teams, to clients, and tothe business as a whole. 57
  • 58. 58
  • 59. Delivery drivers v/s DominosPizza (Australia) Sept 2012The Dominos drivers have beenengaged in a dispute with managementon the key issue of an overnight 19%wage reduction.Meanwhile, the drivers have been soldout by their current union, which hasdone nothing to fight the cuts.They had called for an InternationalDay of Solidarity with the DominosDrivers on Saturday, September 15,2012.The goal is informational actions withthe main point to have Dominoswave out the 19% wage reduction. callout-dominos-pizza-drivers-dispute 59
  • 60. Symptoms:• Poor Quality of product• Bad Service• CompetitionCauses:• Low sales/orders• Increasing Manufacturing CostsHow to Manage:• Do market research to find the root of the problem for a possible solution• The wage reduction could have been made temporary through good communication skills for managing this crisisConsequences:• Massive turnover (drivers quitting) making Dominos temporarily suspend home delivery service until new drivers are recruited• Lose the home delivery market• Harm to Brand Image of Domino‟s Pizza 60
  • 61. UOM v/s UOM TrustThe UOM Trust engaged in a dispute withthe UOM in August 2012 after the ViceChancellor, Mr. Ramesh Rughooputh andRajesh Jeetah, Minister of TertiaryEducation, claimed that the UOM Trustis operating illegally.The UOM Trust started in 2006 inpartnership with the MauritiusEmployers‟ Federation (MEF). But inDecember 2009, the Statutory Bodies Act1972 is amended, stipulating thatinstitutions like the UOM cannot establishanother “filiale.”Mr. Tim Taylor, président of the UoMTrust, is doing his best to save the Trust.But the issue here is whether to closedown the UOM Trust. And if so, what willhappen to the 310 students of the Trust. entre-le-gm-et-le-priv%C3%A9-%E2%80%93- pol%C3%A9mique-sur-la-l%C3%A9galit%C3%A9.html61
  • 62. Symptoms:• Clashes between UOM AdministrationCauses:• Statutory Bodies Act amended in 2009• Competition• Conflict of InterestHow to Manage:• Creation of UOM Trust Enterprise Ltd making it a Private Trust Company (PTC)• Allowing the Enforcer of the Trust to give a final verdictConsequences:• Psychological Disturbance to Students• Tarnishing the image of Trust & UOM 62
  • 63. Mauritius Sugar Planters Association(MSPA) v/s Joint Negotiating Panel(JNP) 63
  • 64. Symptoms:Causes:How to Manage:Consequences: 64
  • 65. • Conflict can be good for a business & when it isn‟t good, the conflict must be resolved. If not handled effectively, the results can be damaging.• Different methods exist to resolve conflict & no one method is best for any conflict.• Conflicting goals can quickly turn into personal dislike, teamwork breaks down, talent is wasted as people disengage from their work.• Adopt a good HRM Strategy and use good leadership skills to try prevent or minimize Conflicts. 65
  • 66. Thank You For Your Attention © BBM 1 Team, UTBS, 09 October 2012 66
  • 67. • pizza-drivers-dispute••• absenteeism/• workplace-21264.html• samsung-is-worsening/• Resolution/737003• ixzz26nLnCQPt• onsulting/Consequences%20of%20conflict.html• entre-le-gm-et-le-priv%C3%A9-%E2%80%93- pol%C3%A9mique-sur-la-l%C3%A9galit%C3%A9.html•• relations/• conflict-in-the-workplace.html•• conflict.htm• icle_june09_workplaceconflict• /personal/interpersonal_skills/conflict_resolution.htm•• is-conflict-7124674• Conflict.pdf• 67