In the contemporary workplace, communication plays an important role in an efficient administration since it encourages co-operation, knowledge sharing, and a feeling of a sense of a common purpose. Nonetheless, communication brings increasing interpersonal relationships, an unwanted and, in most cases, unmanaged side effects, which are referred to as conflicts. Managing conflict focuses on maintaining conflict at the right level in order to assist the organizational departments, teams or groups working together to reach their goals. Managing conflict does not imply completely eradicating conflict or conflict reduction (Miller, 2011).
The fundamental process of conflict management is the selection of the aspired levels of conflicts. These aspired levels of conflicts vary widely and depend on the perceived conflict requirements by the managers of various personnel (Miller, 2011). The stages of conflict management include diagnosis of the problem, problem statement, knowing both parties perceptions or viewpoints/understanding, mediation, brainstorming of alternative solutions, and identification of (an) agreed on solution(s) (Rout & Omiko, 2007). These stages of conflict management are briefly described below.
Diagnosis of the Problem In this stage of conflict management, the mediator listens to both parties who are involved in conflict with the intention of understanding and determining the existence of a genuine conflict, and not just an imagined one (Rout & Omiko, 2007). Problem Statement After recognizing that actually the problem really exists, the mediator now attempts to represent the problem to both parties involved in a non-defensive and direct manner. In other words, in this stage the mediator ensures that parties involved in the conflict actually understand the problem.
Besides, the second stage is meant to ensure that the mediator evaluates and sees the level of understanding of both parties in regard to the presence of the conflict, and the level of motivation to engage in conflict resolution (Rout & Omiko, 2007). Knowing both Parties Perceptions or Viewpoints/understanding This stage is where the mediator attempts to find what the parties involved think in regard to the problem at hand. The mediators should go through this stage carefully so as not to depict any slightest form of favoritism.
This involve attempting to understand the problem from various perspectives of those parties, and the mediator should probe to find out what the parties think as the cause of the problem, noting similarities and differences of viewpoints of the problem (Pammer, 2003). Mediation Mediation requires the mediator to remain impartial by keeping the discussion revolve around facts and issue-oriented rather than discussing personalities and maintaining a balance in the discussion so that one party does not dominate the discussion (Rout & Omiko, 2007).
Brainstorming of Alternative Solutions This stage involves generating of alternative solutions to the problem at hand after it is obvious that there are no more alternative solutions, the mediator should now engage both parties in a discussion of these possible solutions with the aim of getting of selecting the best solution (Zartman, 2008). In this discussion, the mediators should control the session so that none of the parties forces the other on agreeing with their own suggested solution(s).
Efforts should be made to ensure that both parties reach a consensus and then follow this with the implementation of the agreed solution (Rout & Omiko, 2007). Identification of an agreed on solution(s) This is the final stage of conflict management, and its main purpose is to determine the agreed on solutions, a plan of action, as well as follow-up steps in order to ensure that both parties are actively involved in the implementation process (Rout & Omiko, 2007).?
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