Conflict is something that arises in any workplace. Conflict by definition is competitive or opposing action of incompatibles and a mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands. Many will attempt to avoid conflict, when it is unavoidable in the work place. If conflicts are managed correctly the results can be positive as opposed to negative. Conflict management is the principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved, but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of nonproductive escalation. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict strategies, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment.
Reported in Bloomberg businessweek by Karen Duncum (2010) there are six ways in which conflicts can be turned into a constructive dynamic: •
Stop ignoring conflict; it won’t make it go away.
Act decisively to improve the outcome.
Make the path to resolution open and honest.
Use descriptive language rather than evaluative.
Make the process a team building experience.
Keep the upside in mine.
Karen Duncum further states “Focusing on the best characteristics of ourselves and those around us is easy. It’s the ability to roll up our sleeves and dig into problems that separates’ top performer from everyone else. Managers who successfully deal with conflict in their organizations will calm unrest, reduce turnover, motivate employees, and accelerate growth” (2010). While it may seem, at times, that anything can start a conflict where you work, conflict typically stems from a limited number of causes. Amelia, Newcomb, of Christian Science (2001), states “there are traditionally eight causes of conflict. The first cause is conflicting needs. Employees often have to compete for resources, recognition and power, which ultimately leads to some type of conflict. The employees ‘without’ resources and power nearly always complain and disagree with the employees ‘with’ resources and power. The second cause is conflicting styles. All employees have individual ideas of how to handle situations and typically, no two employees agree on the same way. The third cause is conflicting perceptions. Perceptions are a lot like styles and all individuals view them in different ways. When the perception received is wrong, it results in conflict. The fourth cause is conflicting goals. This conflict usually occurs when two or more employees are responsible for different duties in achieving the same goal. The fifth is conflicting pressures. This can occur when two or more employees are responsible for separate actions with the same deadline. The sixth cause is conflicting roles. Conflicting roles occur when an employee has to perform outside of his or her job description. The seventh is different personal values. Differing values can lead to untruths that cause conflict. A major cause of this type of conflict is the new diversified workforce. The eighth cause of conflict is unpredictable policies. If company policies are changed or applied inconsistently, it often leads to misunderstandings. To avoid this type of conflict companies should have clear, documented policies in place. (Christian Science Monitor, 2001) Anger and Conflict Management written by Dunne G. and Aberson D. (2003) gives several strategies in the handling of anger and conflict: One type of conflict management strategy is called 'compromising'. This strategy can be defined as attempting to resolve a conflict by identifying a solution that is partially satisfactory to both parties, but completely satisfactory to neither. This type of management strategy requires the individual to be both partly assertive and partly cooperative in their actions and overall message. One's main goal with this particular strategy is to reach an advantageous solution...
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