Conflict is a natural phenomenon where interaction between individuals or groups occurs. According to Scott (2000), “They happen because people have different interests, goals, and priorities, or because resources are limited, or because there are communication problems, power struggles, mistaken perceptions and assumptions, and personality clashes” (p. XV). Even as a common occurrence, individuals generally view conflict as negative; a difficult and possibly stressful situation in which there exists a winner and loser. The feeling of negativity regarding conflict is amplified when examined under the added stress of a competitive situation such as the workplace. Although conflict would certainly exist under any circumstance in which we are expected to interact, the workplace in particular can be excessively mired in negative conflict.
This research paper will briefly review one possible cause of workplace conflict, competition. It will begin with a definition of conflict, continuing with an origin of conflict resulting from competition, both positive and negative. The research will conclude with a positive view of conflict resulting from collaboration in the workplace, ending with a brief overview. To properly understand conflict we must first define conflict.
According to Van Slyke (1999), “Conflict is the competition between interdependent parties who perceive that they must have incompatible needs, goals, desires, or ideas.” He continues by explaining competition as the process of striving for an objective (p. 5). By definition, conflict is created where a competitive situation exists between individuals or groups. A workplace by nature is a competitive place from the onset. We must compete to first gain employment. We also must show ourselves more capable and better at our jobs in order to be promoted and obtain a better position within the organization. It is certainly no...