Conflict is inevitable. It happens between siblings at a young age and it happens between adults in their personal lives and throughout their careers. What exactly is conflict? According to Liddle (2017), there are two kinds of conflict: The first kind of conflict is dysfunctional conflict. It goes by many names: grievance, bullying, harassment, feud, quarrel, complaint. This is the kind of conflict that costs money, wastes time and creates stress. The second type of conflict is functional conflict. Functional conflict examples include healthy debate, dialogue, disagreement and problem-solving. Functional conflict is at the heart of most healthy, happy and harmonious relationships. The purpose of this paper is to better understand why conflict resolution is important, the impact of conflict on organizational performance and strategies to resolve conflict.
Why is conflict resolution so important? Everyone at some point or another will have to deal with conflict. The ability to identify and resolve conflict is an extremely important competency. When conflict is resolved successfully, there can be benefits, including accomplishing individual and team goals and strengthening personal and work relationships. Within an organization, when people share their own unique opinions, they are able to achieve corporate and personal goals. Conflict, when not handled appropriately, causes personal problems, prevents advancement in career opportunities and healthy relationships (T. Schmitz, 2017). Conflict resolution allows for constructive change to occur. If problems and disagreements are ignored rather than being handled constructively, things can only go one of two ways; either things stay the same, or they get worse. But, when people discuss their differences and work through them together, the stage is set for positive change to occur. Although it might be easier in the short term to leave things as they are, this struggle helps everyone involved in the conflict to work through the problem while developing stronger relationships (Jacobson, 2017).
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (2018), workplace conflict is inevitable when employees of various backgrounds and different work styles are brought together for a shared business purpose. Conflict should be managed and resolved. The first steps in handling workplace conflict belong, to the employees who are at odds with one another. The employer’s role is to develop a workplace culture designed to prevent conflict among employees to the extent possible.
Depending on who you ask, there are many different strategies to resolving conflict. Everyone, however, agrees that it’s an important and necessary part of life. According to The American Management Association (2017), there are five primary ways to resolve conflict. The first action is to identify the source of the conflict. The more information you have about the cause of the conflict, the more easily you can help to resolve it. The second action is to look beyond the incident. Often, it is not the situation but the perspective on the situation that causes anger to fester and leads to a shouting match or other visible, disruptive, evidence of a conflict. Requesting solutions is also an important step in resolving conflict. After identifying all of the parties involved and gaining their viewpoint, the next step is to identify how the situation can be changed. The mediator of conflict resolution should be cautious to listen and identify solutions that both parties can agree upon. This fourth step is important as all parties need to feel their opinions are being valued. The last step is agreement. All parties should agree upon the resolution to ensure that the issue does not come back up in the future.
Most people would be able to provide stories about conflicts they had at one time or another during their lives. Depending on level of experience, the conflict may have been resolved to their satisfaction, or it may have left them with a negative experience to reflect back on. Understanding conflict and why it happens is one of the first steps necessary to address a situation when it arises. The understanding the importance of conflict resolution and how it impacts personal relationships is fundamental in deciding how to resolve it. In doing research there are a lot of opinions on how to resolve conflict. Ultimately, it is up to the individuals involved to be open to talking through situations and resolving conflict.
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