Conflict is something that happens often in my organization. However, there are different styles to manage conflict and some are more effective than others. Before I explain these different styles, it is important to understand what conflict is. "Conflict occurs whenever disagreements exist in a social situation over issues of substance or whenever emotional antagonisms create frictions between individuals or groups" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2002 pg.127, Conflict). There are two distinctive types of conflict, "substantive conflict" and "emotional conflict".
Substantive conflict happens when one person fundamentally disagrees with another person or group in the course of doing business. For example, my boss bought a package of step vans used in delivering bakery products. He wanted to market the trucks for electrical and mechanical applications where I thought they should be remarketed for another bakery operation. This is just a disagreement of opinions, but management still has to develop a way to manage this type of conflict, which can be very challenging depending on the personalities involved.
Emotional conflict intrudes into the feelings of a situation, such as anger, mistrust, dislike, fear, resentment, and the like. This is commonly called "clash of personalities" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2002, pg.127,). This type of conflict can sometimes be more draining, and take away from the more important work that needs to be done. Usually this happens between co-workers who may not like one another, or with customers who are not dealt with properly. I have witnessed both types of conflict in my organization and the different styles used in managing these types of conflicts.
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES
According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn there are five ways to manage conflict. The first style I want to write about is Smoothing or Accommodation style. This is when a manager agrees with the other side of the conflicting situation....