Managing conflict

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MANAGING CONFLICT

Conflict, what is it? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, a: competitive or opposing action of incompatible: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) b: mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands. A lot of different types of conflict can occur in the workplace,among the communication and collaborations skills managers must have the ability to deal with conflicts. There two basic types of conflicts. Substantive conflicts these involve disagreements over such things as goals and tasks, allocation of resources, distribution of rewards policies and procedures. (Schermerhorn, 2010). Example of this type of conflict will be different ideas on how a projectshould be done. The other type of conflict outline in Schemerhorn’s Management book would be emotional conflict, and this is a result of feelings of anger, distrust, dislike, fear, and resentment. Not all conflict is strictly negative, when well managed it can be helpful and may lead to promoting creativity and even high performance. There can be forms of functional and dysfunctional conflict.Functional conflict is this that can lead to positive outcome; it is constructive and helps task performance. On the other hand dysfunctional conflict doesn’t improve the outcome but it is destructive and hurts task performance. According to Petra Cook (Head of policy at the Chartered Management Institute) on an article about conflict in the workplace she said that: “Most engineers would agree thatpositive and
MANAGING CONFLICT
Challenging interaction between team members can stimulate creative dialogues and innovation, but when a clash of personalities or views occurs and turns into a dispute, it is time for you to step in and take charge before the problem escalates.” She talks about engineers but it applies to any workplace. There are many things that can cause conflict some of theones that apply to the workplace include Role Ambiguities, this is when job expectations are unclear and other tasks are uncertain. This can cause that people may work on different directions instead of working to the same goal. Resource scarcities, having to share resources or compete for them may cause conflict specially if the resources are scarce. Other potential conflict cause is TaskInterdependencies, this is seen when individuals or groups must depend on what others do to perform well. Competing Objectives can also cause conflict, when roles are poorly set, or rewards are poorly designed, this may cause individuals to come into conflict by working to one another’s disadvantage. Conflict can happen when there are Structural Differences. When organizational differences occur and in thecharacteristics of the people staffing them create conflicts because of an incompatibility with the approach towards the work. Lastly conflict can occur when there are Unresolved Prior Conflicts, this tends to emerge in the future creating new conflicts.

Ideally conflicts should always be resolved. Conflict resolution means the removal of substantial and emotional reasons for a conflict. Butthere are two
MANAGING CONFLICT
primary approaches when it comes to dealing with conflict. Conflicts can either be resolved or they can be suppressed but this causes the conflict to remain but the situation and the behavior are controlled. Conflicts that are suppressed tend to re surface at a later time in similar conflicts. When it comes to conflict resolution many have different but similarapproaches to it. Petra Cook suggests, “To defuse an already heated situation, remember to stay calm and take time to consider your response. You may come to regret knee-jerk reactions. Make sure you let everybody involved have their say and conduct your discussions in a private room so that individuals can talk openly and honestly By encouraging each person to reflect on the causes of the...
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