Conflict is the process that begins when one
person perceives that another person has
negatively affected, or is about to negatively
affect, something that the first person, a group,
or an organization cares about.
According to Martires and Fule (2000),
Conflicts arise when the interests of people
do not coincide.
Conflict is a type of relationship.
Conflict tends to acquire a life of its own, if
Conflict requires energy.
Conflicts can ultimately degenerate into
Conflict is a part of organizational life.
The essence of conflict is incompatibility.
“Regardless of forms, the essence of conflict is incompatibility.”
1.) Goal conflict
Goal conflict occurs when two or more
desired or expected outcomes are incompatible.
Michella may set goals of earning 3,000 pesos per week
and achieving a 1.25 grade point average while being enrolled
full-time during the coming semester. After a month, Michella
may realize that there aren’t enough hours in the week to
achieve both goals.
2.) Cognitive conflict
Cognitive conflict occurs when
the ideas and thoughts within an individual or
between individuals are incompatible.
Manager A and Manager B may have different
strategies to get things done in the organization.
Thus, the differences of their plans may arise to
3.) Affective conflict
Affective conflict occurs when the
feelings and emotions within an individual or
between individuals are incompatible.
A boy might feel that the girl he is courting likes him
back because of the kindness that the girl shows toward him.
But in the perspective of the girl , the kindness she gives back
is just a sign of politeness for the effort exerted by the boy.
The truth is that, she doesn’t feel the same way for him.
3.) Procedural conflict
Procedural conflict exists when group members
disagree about the procedures to be followed in accomplishing
the group goal. New procedures may be formulated and a new
agenda suggested. Even the group goal may be modified.
Procedural conflict, like task conflict, may be productive (Barker
et al. 1987).
Union and management negotiations often involve procedural
conflicts over who will be involved in the negotiations, where
they will take place, and when sessions will be held (and how
long will they be.)
Two views of conflict have evolved over time.
One is the classical view.
• Traditionally, conflict has been viewed as
dysfunctional and unnecessary.
• It disturbs peace and harmony.
• Where conflict is present, it is deemed to be
caused by management failure to apply
sound management techniques.
And the other one is called the contemporary view.
• In this view, conflict is seen as inevitable. It
arises from many sources and it can be present
no matter how well-designed organizations
• For instance, while conflict can cause tension,
it can also lead to a search for better solutions
to organizational problems.
Underlying Assumptions About Conflict
Classical View Contemporary View
1. Conflict is avoidable.
2. Conflict is caused by management
errors in designing and managing
3. Conflict results from breakdown in
communication and lack of trust and
understanding between individuals and
4. Conflict disrupts operations and
prevents optimal performance.
5. Optimal organizational performance
requires the removal of conflict.
1. Conflict is inevitable.
2. Conflict arises from conditions which
are inherent in organizations:
competition for limited rewards, goal
differences, and so on.
3. Conflict results from individual and
group differences such as those in
education, training, and experience.
4. Conflict enhances and inhibits
organizational performance in varying
5. Optimal organizational requires a
moderate level of conflict.
Conflict can have both destructive and constructive
outcomes for organization. James Stoner suggests that the net impact
of conflict on organizational performance would be functional or
dysfunctional, depends on three factors:
• Neither too much nor too little conflict is
good for the organization. Instead, moderate
levels of conflict have far more potential
• As the level of conflict rises, the tendency is
to engage in destructive behavior toward rival
• The flexibility of organizational structure and
climate also determines the conflict outcome.
• The more open the structure and climate are to
changes, the more beneficial conflicts are likely to
• Conflict can draw attention to the existence of
problems and can lead to better ways of doing
• On the other hand, if an organization rigidly resists
changes, the conflicts may never be resolved.
• A manager’s skill in conflict diagnosis and
management will largely influence which
outcome eventually occurs.
The skills include the following:
a) The ability to diagnose the nature and sources of the
b) The ability to initiate confrontation.
c) The ability to engage into active listening.
d) The ability to choose the right approach.
Managers may, depending on the situation,
opt to stimulate, resolve, or prevent
conflict. The issue for the manager is to
select the most appropriate approach and
use it at the right time.
• Conflict is energizing.
•Workers become more enthusiastic to perform
better than before.
•Conflict can drive people out of complacency.
• Faced with opposition, people seek new and
higher levels of achievement.
• Conflict provides a means for early detection
of problems before they get out of hand.
• Manifest conflict behavior means that there
are disagreements beneath.
• When conflict eventually breaks out into the
open, it may be a lot more difficult to handle it
• Conflict triggers a search for new and
creative solutions to problems.
• The protagonists are exposed to different
views and perspectives about problems.
• In the process, they are forced to re-examine
themselves and the way they have been doing
•They may discover their own mediocrity and
then seek to change that.
• Conflict serves to stimulate participants to
work hard to accomplish the task at hand.
• Individual differences within groups tend to
be submerged as effort is concentrated on
finishing the work to be done.
• Overall goals of the organization are achieved
when the departments do their jobs well.
• Conflict provides feedback to the
• Usually, protagonists have a distorted
perception of themselves. They may
overestimate their own skills and abilities.
They may also overvalue their importance in
• Conflict serves to regulate perceptions to keep
them in closer alignment with reality.
• Conflict induces tension and anxiety.
• The resulting stress can cause emotional and
physical fatigue that lead to a decline in
• While conflict reflects symptoms, there is
risk that the underlying causes may be
•Worse, the symptoms might be mistaken for
• People in dispute may become more rigid in
holding on to their positions rather than
become more flexible.
• Rather than accepting new ideas, they reject
• During conflict, people’s judgement is altered
and they may not see the merit of other points
of view. They cling to the old ways of doing
• Conflict can dull the need for cooperation
and teamwork with other parties.
• Information is withheld and communication
between parties breaks down.
• Conflict can result in loss of self-esteem.
•Self-image which may have been held so
highly is injured.
• This is the most common source of
intergroup conflict in organizations.
• Each departmental goal will have to be
achieved in order to achieve overall
• The achievement of one group’s goal may
frustrate the achievement of another group’s
Goal differences between the marketing and
manufacturing departments provide instances that can
lead to conflict. Marketing wants flexibility in order to
respond quickly to market demands. This means
frequent changes in production schedules and shorter
production runs. Manufacturing, however, wants stable
production schedules and longer production runs in
order to minimize costs.
Their respective goals are incompatible; and that
places the groups directly in conflict with each other.
• Often, departmental units require materials,
resources, information, or services from other units to
be able to perform their respective tasks effectively.
• In general, the higher the degree of
interdependence, the higher the potential for conflict.
• Furthermore, the more the units have to coordinate
their efforts, the more contact they should have; the
more likely goal conflict is brought to the surface.
• Although task interdependence among
departmental units may be minimal, there is
normally resource interdependence among them.
• The units compete with each other for their own
share of organizational resources – money, materials,
men, office or factory, space, etc.
• Competition for resources tend to be minimal when
the organization is growing up and there are enough
resources for everyone.
• The incentive and reward system affects the way
subgroups relate with one another.
• The system’s design influences the extent of
cooperation or conflict that is sustainable among
• When departments are rewarded on the basis of
their contribution to organizational goals, cooperation
among them is greater.
• Sometimes, there is a lack of clarity as to how a task
is to be done or who is to perform it in the
• The absence of guidelines or policies in these areas
arouse confusion and provoke arguments.
• Also, there may be tasks in the organization that
do not, however, fall squarely into any group’s
• The various tasks in the organization will require
people with different education, training, skills,
attitude, and experience. Thus, they tend to look at
• So, for instance, if a common problem is presented
to them, it is very likely that they will look at it from
different points of view.
•When these people have to coordinate their work,
that is when conflict emerges.
• Power and status differences among different units
of the organization evolve in accordance with the
relative value of their contributions to the
achievement of overall goals.
• Those units whose contributions are regarded as
more important tend to gain higher power and status.
• Conflict arise as departments overvalue their
importance to the organization and, subsequently,
demand more power and status.
If a group sees itself in
conflict with another, members
quickly begin to close ranks to
present a solid front to defeat the
other group. Members become
closely-knit and cohesive.
The relationship between the
competing groups deteriorates.
Hostility toward the rival group
increases. Interactions with the
rival group decrease and become
characterized by distrust.
Tension is released, and every
member of the winning group
feels happy. In the short run,
people prefer to rest on their
laurels, and become more
Initially, the members deal
with the reality of failure either by
denying or distorting it. Rather
than accepting defeat, they tend to
look for scapegoats and excuses.
The negotiators often
experience substantial conflict in
having dual roles: that of being a
good group member and a good
• An executive may opt to impose a solution to resolve
or suppress conflict by invoking higher authority.
• This often happens when disagreements between
two departments are referred to their common
superior for resolution.
• Once a decision is made at the higher level, conflict
is not allowed to continue under threat of sanctions
• To resolve conflict, a manager may choose to
separate the contending parties away from each
• This is characterized by either or both parties
withdrawing from the scene of conflict.
• Sometimes, this is one of the easiest and fastest
way of reducing conflict. Interaction is not allowed or
its incidence is diminished.
• Smoothing over the conflict is another method that
can be used by the manager. The manager plays down
the magnitude of the conflict.
• Attention is drawn on similarities rather than the
differences between the contending groups.
• In using this approach, the manager may appeal to
the Filipino value of pakikisama or getting along well
• Conflict may be resolved through face-to-face
negotiations between the protagonists. Each party
goes to the bargaining table and engages in a mutual
exchange of concessions to arrive at a compromise.
• In essence, they “split the difference” between them
in order to reach an agreement.
• Information exchange is tightly controlled, while
discussion is limited to what can be given and what
can be taken in terms of concessions.
• In the problem-solving approach, the protagonists
meet to discuss problems and issues related to the
• The aim is not victory or compromise but
integration of the respective needs and viewpoints of
• They define the conflict as a mutual problem and
together search for a creative solution.
• A third party consultant is invited to mediate the
conflict. The consultant provides structure for
interaction, maintains direction towards resolution,
and offers new perspectives which may have been
• The consultant may come from inside or outside the
organization so long as he does not belong to any of
the groups involved in the conflict.
• Intergroup training as a means of resolving
conflicts has gained prominence over the years.
• Under this method, the groups are required to
attend a training seminar and/or workshop outside
•A facilitator structures the interactions between
them. The objective is for the groups to learn more
about themselves and about each other.
• The achievement of overall organizational goals and
effectiveness should be stressed so that departmental
goals do not become the only ones to be pursued.
• Thus, organizational goals serve as subordinate
goals. This helps departments see their respective
contributions from a broader perspective.
•Departments should be rewarded on the basis of
their contribution to the total organizational
performance rather than on their individual
• Group contacts should be encouraged.
• Frequent communication and exchange of
information prevent the development of
misperceptions about the intentions, skills, and traits
of the other groups.
• Organizational rewards should be based partly on
the ability of groups to work and cooperate with each
• Frequent rotation of members among departments
promotes mutual understanding.
• The members can explain to their new department
the problems and goals of their original departments
while obtaining insights about those of the new
departments which he can then share his original
• Empathy for each other’s problem is developed.
• Groups should never be put in the position of
intense competition for the same organizational
resources and rewards since, ultimately, this will
force one group to be the loser.
• Emphasis should be placed on pooling resources to
attain maximum organizational effectiveness.
• Rewards should be shared in accordance with each
other group’s contribution to total effectiveness.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We
ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually,
who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing
enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We
are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God
that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we
unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from
our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
- Marianne Williamson