Conflict Management

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Conflict and Conflict Management
Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. Conflict on teams is inevitable; however, the results of conflict are not predetermined. Conflict might escalate and lead to non-productive results, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team. Although very few people go looking for conflict, more often than not, conflict results because of miscommunication between people with regard to their needs, ideas, beliefs, goals, or values. Conflict management is the principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved, but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of non-productive escalation. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment. The differences between "competition" and "conflict"

"Competition" usually brings out the best in people, as they strive to be top in their field, whether in sport, community affairs, politics or work. In fact, fair and friendly competition often leads to new sporting achievements, scientific inventions or outstanding effort in solving a community problem. When competition becomes unfriendly or bitter, though, conflict can begin - and this can bring out the worst in people. Common causes of Conflict

Causes or sources of organisational conflict can be many and varied. The most common causes are the following: * scarcity of resources (finance, equipment, facilities, etc) * different attitudes, values or perceptions

* disagreements about needs, goals, priorities and interests * poor communication
* poor or inadequate organisational structure
* lack of teamwork
* lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities
How to manage and resolve conflict situations
Collective bargaining
Especially in workplace situations, it is necessary to have agreed mechanisms in place for groups of people who may be antagonistic (e.g. management and workers) to collectively discuss and resolve issues. This process is often called "collective bargaining", because representatives of each group come together with a mandate to work out a solution collectively. Experience has shown that this is far better than avoidance or withdrawal, and puts democratic processes in place to achieve "integrative problem solving", where people or groups who must find ways of co-operating in the same organisation, do so within their own agreed rules and procedures. Conciliation

Conciliation is "the act of procuring good will or inducing a friendly feeling". South African labour relations legislation provides for the process of conciliation in the workplace, whereby groups who are in conflict and who have failed to reach agreement, can come together once again to attempt to settle their differences.

Negotiation
The process where mandated representatives of groups in a conflict situation meet together in order to resolve their differences and to reach agreement. It is a deliberate process, conducted by representatives of groups, designed to reconcile differences and to reach agreements by consensus. The outcome is often dependent on the power relationship between the groups. Negotiations often involve compromise - one group may win one of their demands and give in on another. In workplaces Unions and management representative usually sue negotiations to solve conflicts. Political and community groups also often use this method. Mediation

When negotiations fail or get stuck, parties often call in and independent mediator. This person or group will try to facilitate settlement of the conflict. The mediator plays an active part in the process, advises both or all groups, acts as intermediary and...
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