Wherever choices exist, there is potential for disagreement. No matter what we major in, no matter where our career path takes us, inevitably, we all encounter conflict in some form. In today's highly competitive society, for an organization to be truly successful, it is imperative that the organization's leadership understands conflict and deals with it in the best way possible. Management's ability to recognize and accept divergence and their ability to employ various methods to resolve conflicts to produce positive results can make or break an organization. The more management understands and accepts this fact and manages conflict to benefit the company as a whole, the greater the chance of the organization's success. While the term conflict has many negative connotations, the resultant outcome can be beneficial to the organization. Conflict, when handled properly, can result in richer, more effective, creative solutions and interaction.
The formal definition of "conflict" refers to an ongoing state of hostility between two or more groups of people. The American Heritage College dictionary defines conflict as "a state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interest; a clash." A modern view of conflict is defined as a follows: "conflict is a process in which one party perceives that its interest are being opposed or negatively affected by another party." The use of the word perceived in the second definition is a reminder that the source of a conflict can be real or imagined. Conflict can also mean that there is a difference in opinion or agreement between two parties or groups who are trying to achieve the same goal, causing one of the parties to feel that his or her efforts to achieve the goal is being hindered or challenged by the other party. When disagreement is poorly dealt with, the outcome can be contention, creating a sense of psychological distance between people, such as feelings... [continues]
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