“It is any tension which is experienced when one person perceives that one’s needs or desire are likely to be thwarted or frustrated.” Eollett simply defines Conflict as, “the appearance of difference of opinions, of interest”. Features:–
1. Conflict occurs when individuals are not able to choose among the available alternatives courses of actions. 2. Conflict between two individuals implies that they have conflicting perceptions, values and goals. 3. Conflict is a dynamic process as it indicates a series of events. Each conflict is made up of a series of interlocking conflict episodes. 4. Conflict must be perceived by the parties to it. If no one is aware of a conflict, then it is generally agreed that no conflict exists.
LEVELS OF CONFLICT
1. INTRA-PERSONAL CONFLICT: Some conflicts that affect behavior in organizations involve the individual alone. It can be of three of types: (a) Approach-approach conflict: It occurs when a person must choose between two positive and equally attractive alternatives. An example has to choose between a valued promotion in the organization or a desirable new job with another firm. (b) Avoidance-avoidance conflict: It occurs when a person must choose between two negative and equally unattractive alternatives. An example is being asked either to accept a job transfer to another town in an undesirable location or to have one’s employment with an organization terminated.
(c) Approach-avoidance conflict: It occurs when a person must describe to do something that has both positive and negative consequences. An example is being offered a higher paying job whose responsibilities entail unwanted demand on one’s personal time. 2. INTER-PERSONAL CONFLICT: It occurs between two or more individuals who are in opposition to one another. It may be substantive or emotional or both. 3. INTER-GROUP CONFLICT: It occurs among members of different teams or groups. 4. INTER-ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICT: It occurs as the competition and rivalry that characterizes firms operating in the same markets.
The process of conflict management has the following steps:– STAGE 1 :– POTENTIAL OPPOSITION OR INCOMPATIBILITY
This stage concludes the conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise. The conditions are as follows: 1. Communication :– Communication becomes a source of conflict due to semantic difficulties, misunderstandings, and “noise” (distortion) in the communication channels. 2. Structure :– The term structure includes variables such as size, degree of specialization, jurisdictional clarity, member-goal compatibility, leadership styles, reward systems, and the degree of dependence. 3. Personal Variables: – Personal Variables include individual value systems and personality characteristics. Certain personality types lead to potential conflict.
STAGE 2 :– COGNITION AND PERSONALIZATION
Antecedent conditions lead to conflict only when the parties are affected by and aware of it. Conflict is personalized when it is felt and when individuals become emotionally involved.
STAGE 3 :– INTENTIONS
The primary conflict-handling intentions are represented as follows:– 1.Cooperativeness :– “the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy the other party’s concern.” 2. Assertiveness: – “the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns.” 3. Competing :– When one person seeks to satisfy his or her own interests, regardless of the impact on the other parties to the conflict.
4. Collaborating :– When the parties to conflict each desire to fully satisfy the concerns of all parties. 5. Avoiding: – A person may recognize that a conflict exists and want to withdraw from it or suppress it. 6. Accommodating: – When one party seeks to appease an opponent, that party is willing to be self-sacrificing. 7. Compromising: – When each party to the conflict seeks to give up something, sharing occurs, resulting in a compromised outcome.
STAGE 4 :– BEHAVIOUR
The behavior stage includes the statements, actions and reactions made by the conflicting parties. This conflict behavior s are usually overt attempts to implement each party’s intentions.
STAGE 5 :– OUTCOMES
Outcome may be functional—improving group performance or dysfunctional. Functional Outcomes are:
1. Improves the quality of decisions
2. Stimulates creativity and innovation.
3. Encourages interest.
4. Provides the medium through which problems can be solved and tensions released.
Dysfunctional Outcomes are:
1. Undesirable consequences include a retarding of communications.
2. Reductions in group cohesiveness.
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT APPROACHES
These are two types of conflict management approaches
Direct Conflict management approaches
There are five approaches to direct conflict management. They are based on the relative emphasis on cooperativeness and assertiveness in the relationship between the conflicting parties.
They are as follows: 1. Avoidance
Indirect Conflict management approaches
It includes reduced interdependence, appeals to common goals, hierarchical referral and alterations in the use of scripts. Hierarchical referral means conflicts are reported to the senior levels to solve.