What is Conflict?
A few definitions of conflicts are:
1. A state of open, often prolonged fighting; a battle or war.
2. A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas,
or interests; a clash.
3. A state of opposition between ideas, interests, etc.; disagreement or
4. A state of opposition between two simultaneous but incompatible wishes or
drives, sometimes leading to a state of emotional tension
Context of Conflicts at work
As organizations continue to restructure work teams, conflicts will arise
from differences, and when individuals come together in teams, their
differences in terms of power, values, and attitudes contribute to the
creation of conflict.
Some disputes managers and employees alike may be subjected to in the
Unfair or unequal treatment
Angry/ Resistant individuals
Inability to saying no
Environments in transitions (i.e. changes)
Inability to ask for what one needs
Culturally diverse environment
Unclear or undefined organizational directives
Physical attributes of the workplace (e.g. health and safety issues)
An overlook of
Conflict between individuals due to differences in their goals or values.
Can be between colleagues, senior and junior team members, employee and
Common types of interpersonal conflicts
Conflict due to different needs
Conflict due to different values and attitudes
A Senior and Junior may have conflicts around how a poor done was done by the
Conflict within a group or team.
Conflicts may arise due differences of opinions around allocation of work,
different views in solving a problem, sharing of
recognition as well as risks.
An overlook of
Conflict between two or more teams, groups or departments.
Managers play a key role in resolution of this conflict
Intergroup conflicts often lead to a minimization of intragroup conflicts as people
come together to oppose another group
Business Origination team and Execution team regarding requirements
Between HR team and the Business Development Teams on recruitment
Conflict that arises across organizations.
Different businesses are competing against one another for a same
piece of business
Between an organisation and the client in terms of the nature of
work product delivery against the specification
Impact of conflict
When Conflict is constructive?
Results in clarification of important problems and issues
Results in solutions to problems
Involves people in resolving issues important to them
Causes authentic communication
Helps release emotion, anxiety, and stress
Builds cooperation among people through learning more about each other
Helps individuals develop understanding and skills
When is conflict destructive?
Takes attention away from other important activities
Undermines morale or self-concept
Polarizes people and groups, reducing cooperation
Increases or sharpens difference
Leads to irresponsible and harmful behavior, such as fighting, name-calling
As well as being able to handle conflict when it arises, One should first
focus on ways of preventing conflict from becoming damaging. A
constructive approach would be to:
Being open – if we have issues, we need to express and deal with them
immediately and not allow it to accumulate and dwell upon.
Maintain clear communication – articulate thoughts clearly, question and
Encouraging different points of view and evaluating each fairly without any
Not looking for blame – encourage ownership of the problem and solution.
Demonstrating respect for team members rather than resorting to blame
Keeping team issues within the team, talking outside results in conflict
Conflict in the video
A video capture from the sitcom “The
Conflict Resolutions in the
What is conflict management?
• The results of conflicts are not predetermined.
• Conflicts might escalate and lead to nonproductive results, or they can be
beneficially resolved to lead to high quality productive results.
• Learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team.
• Conflict management is the principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily
be resolved, but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of
• It involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness
about conflict modes, conflict communication skills and establishing a
structure for management of conflicts.
Dealing with Conflict
The accommodating strategy essentially
entails giving the opposing side what it wants.
The avoidance strategy seeks to put off
Collaboration works by integrating ideas set
out by multiple people. The object is to find a
creative solution acceptable to everyone.
The compromising strategy typically calls for
both sides of a conflict to give up elements of
their position in order to establish an
acceptable, if not agreeable, solution.
Competition operates as a zero-sum game, in
which one side wins and other loses.
Healthy and Unhealthy ways of managing
and resolving conflict
Inability to compromise or see other Ability to seek compromise and
Explosive, angry, hurtful, resentful
Calm, non-defensive and respectful
Withdrawal of love resulting in
rejection, isolation and
Readiness to forgive and forget and
to move past the conflict without
holding resentments or anger
Fear and avoidance of conflict; the
expectation of bad outcomes
Belief that facing conflict head on is
the best thing for both sides
Conflict Management Skills
Good and a patient listener
The pitch and the tone have to be taken great care of
Adopt a positive attitude
Never criticize anyone or make him feel small
Prefer the conference room, board room or any suitable place for
presentations, seminars and discussions
The superiors must ensure that the team members are assigned responsibilities
according to their KRAs and specializations
Avoid gossips and rumors
Conflicts must be avoided at workplace so that
employees do not carry tensions back home and are able
to give their best to benefit themselves as well as the
Importance of Conflict
Facilitates employees to concentrate on their
Strengthens bonds amongst employees
Helps finding a middle way – an alternative to
any problem and successful implementation of
Motivates employees to strive hard to live up to
the expectations and contribute to the
organization in the best possible way.
Prevention is better than cure.
"The better able team members are to
engage, speak, listen, hear, interpret, and
respond constructively, the more likely
their teams are to leverage conflict rather
than be leveled by it”