Managing Conflict and Negotiating

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Managing Conflict and Negotiating
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 of dislike, bitter antagonism, competition, alienation, and disregard. The three most common forms of conflict are: personality, cross-cultural, and intergroup. Personality conflict is defined as an interpersonal opposition driven by personal dislike or disagreement . When two or more individuals are forced to spend time together in the same space for at least eight hours per day, conflict will inevitably arise. Deadlines, the expectation of instant communication, information overload, downsizing, corporate mergers and other burdens which workers must deal with can exacerbate various issues, some of which appearing extremely minor or even petty at first glance. With these additional stressors, minor concerns can quickly balloon into major irritations, especially as the trend towards open office spaces can force employees to deal with one another's quirks. Open offices allow no place to which one can escape the onion loaf in the microwave or the whistling at the next desk . Many of the more minor issues can be resolved by observing basic etiquette and consideration. If the issue can not be resolved in this manner, such as a legitimate medical need to eat at certain times of the day when another employee can't smell food without feeling ill, professional behavior can make the issues less likely to escalate. Maintain your professionalism and avoid being confrontational. … If this tactic does not work, respond to her with respect and firmness. Emphasize that no one intentionally meant to offend anyone's sense of smell. Let her know that you understand that the smell was strong, but she needs to address the issue with you and others with the same respect you are giving her. Be sure to document this encounter . With hired personnel and strangers, we may often try and put forth our best behavior and go too far in the opposite direction. Out of concern for how we are perceived, we may err in saying too little when things go wrong. This is especially so during what could...
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