Human Resources Management
For the human resources professional, it is important to be able to expect conflict to occur in our organizations, identify conflict in the workplace and know how to quickly and effectively resolve the underlying issues in a positive way. Resolving conflict in a positive manner can lead to much-improved professional and personal relationships. Mastering a few fundamental conflict resolution skills can enable you to become a better leader, decision-maker, co-worker and friend.
Whether dealing with a disagreement between co-workers or breaking through a standstill in a job contract negotiation, conflict resolution is best approached through a deliberate process that considers the different conflict resolution styles of each participant. Done well, conflict resolution can save relationships, time and resources, while improving productivity and helping move projects forward toward completion. DEFINING CONFLICTS AND IT’S ORIGINS
Conflict is defined as an interactive process manifested in incompatibility, disagreement, or dissonance within or between social entities (i.e., individual, group, organization, etc.). Some of the manifestations of conflict behavior are expressing disagreement with the opponent, yelling, verbal abuse, interference, and so on. Conflict occurs when one or more social entities:
are required to engage in an activity that is incongruent with his or her needs or interests; hold behavioral preferences, the satisfaction of which is incompatible with another person’s implementation of his or her preferences; want some mutually desirable resource that is in short supply, such that the wants of everyone may not be satisfied fully; possesse attitudes, values, skills, and goals that are salient in directing one’s behavior but that are perceived to be exclusive of the attitudes, values, skills, and goals held by the other(s); have partially exclusive behavioral preferences regarding joint actions; are interdependent in the performance of functions or activities.
EFFECTS OF CONFLICTS
Conflict has both positive and negative effects. It can be positive when it encourages creativity, new looks at old conditions, the clarification of points of view, and the development of human capabilities to handle interpersonal differences. All of us have experienced a surge of creativity when we permit the ideas of others to trigger our imagination, as for example in a brainstorming session. Several states emphasize that it seems entirely likely that many, if not most, organizations need more conflict, not less. "The absence of conflict may indicate autocracy, uniformity, stagnation, and mental fixity; the presence of conflict may be indicative of democracy, diversity, growth, and self-actualization." However, conflict can be negative when it creates resistance to change, establishes turmoil in organization or interpersonal relations fosters distrust, builds a feeling of defeat, or widens the chasm of misunderstanding. A verbal conflict in an organization, can lead to relational factors that condemn the adversaries to confront each other at each new meeting and to transfer the conflictual relationship into the professional context. When a conflict is transferred to the work level, the adversaries become a closed system that enters into conflictual interaction with the “organization system”. MANAGING CONFLICTS
We must expect conflict to occur in our organizations. We should be disappointed if it does not, because conflict exists only within the context of interdependence. There can be no conflict when there is no awareness of another meaning, role, or value than our own. Thus, conflict is a relationship between segments of an interrelated system: persons, a group, an organization, a community, a nation. There can be no conflict if those, who are involved, feel no differences. However, in the environment of interpersonal...
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