Conflict is often defined as expressed struggle between nothing less than two interdependent parties who seek to achieve incompatible goals. There could be many sources of conflict, conflict could commence from different views, beliefs, values or even desires. However, arguments could also come out of resources scarcity or rivalries. In traditional view; conflict should be avoided at all costs as according to this belief such conflicts are harmful. Human relations taught that conflict is natural and it is always unavoidable. Contrary to the popular opinion, Intergratitionists believed that conflict is not a positive force, but it is necessary to bring progress. Given different views and opinions, solving a quarrel is not an easy task. Manager has to take many circumstances into consideration before even trying to “tame” fighting parties.
Therefore, manager has to characterize the conflict. Conflict can be functional or dysfunctional. Functional conflict is a rarest type of conflict and it is a conflict that manager would love to have inside his organization. Functional conflict encourages people to get into constructive discussions, providing innovative thinking and great feedback. Such conflicts do not have to be tamed, instead they ought to be guided towards finding a solution. On the other hand, dysfunctional conflicts increase tension between co-workers, as they bring anxiety and stress to the workplace. With anxiety and stress workers are less efficient. And those with low conflict tolerance are likely to “explode” during the arguments. What is more, such conflicts also tend to decrease trust in managers as people often assume that managers should extinguish them at the very beginning.
Group conflicts can be divided into intragroup and intergroup conflicts. Intragroup conflicts are between the members of group. Such conflicts often commence in early stages of group development. Intergroup conflicts are between two or more groups, they often commence because of the rivalry. Individual conflicts, on the other hand can be divided into interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts. Interpersonal conflicts consists of two or more people, usually fighting over views of what should be done. Intrapersonal conflict occurs within an individual. Often caused by the threat to the person’s values.
Conflict management is often defined as a tool to handle arguments, however it can also strengthen workers’ relationships. There are five common ways to manage a conflict: avoidance, competition, accommodation, compromise and collaboration.
Avoidance is usually the worst way to handle an argument for a manager. Through avoidance, workers could feel inferior and frustrated what could eventually lead to finding a stack of anonymous complaints on CEO’s desk.
Normally, competition is better way of solving conflicts. Because winner is clear, competition is all about “I win, you lose”. But the are downsides. Competition creates the arena for the next conflict, and at some point some thoughtful people would understand that they participate in the rat race. What, ultimately would lead to many people leaving the job.
Accommodation is quite harsh as one side is forced to accept other’s terms. This works in the short term, but if one side just keeps loosing they will start to feel undervalued.
Compromise is something completely neutral. Two sides get something, but at last they do not get what they wanted. By some, it is considered a dead end. However, it strengthen the bonds and establishes friendships by showing some good will.
Collaboration is where everyone participate and anyone could feel like they won. It is hard to achieve when people have low conflict tolerance.
When managing a conflict, managers have to be wary of employee fragility. Manager can not just simply tell someone to change, it is quite offensive and it could decrease team’s morale. Someone competent should communicate a desire to work together in order to find the ultimate solution. For manager it ought to be spontaneous and frictionless, no one can just put on act and go with it. To reach people, managers have to express their interest and show their dedication. Such legitimate managers, identify with team’s problems and worries and they should also accept member’s reaction to any decision. In well-functioning workplace, everyone has to be treated with respect and trust. Instead of taking notes of any conflicts and passing them to director, manager should investigate them and make a quick decision on how to solve a problem.
To sum up, everyone should understand their personal triggers. Conflict situations can lead people to forgetting about the main goal and that can only be avoided when co-workers develop some self-control skills. Manager is not always going to help as some matters can not be handled by one person. As organization, I think it would be nice to try and identify hot-blooded workers and offer them classes that would help them to develop self-control abilities.
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