Describe the process of conflict. Critically evaluate the impact of conflict on performance/productivity of an organization. Relate the situation of organization you are working in or familiar with as to how conflict affects the functioning of an organization. Briefly describe the organisation and situation, you are referring to.
Conflict has always been widespread in society but it is only recently that it has generated a lot of interest and has been the focus of research and study. We are living in the age of conflict. Every day the choices available to us regarding any decision are increasing in number. We may have wanted to become a manager, an entrepreneur or a computer scientist. On the other hand, our fathers might have wanted you to become a doctor, a lawyer or a chartered accountant. Thus we faced a conflict not only at an intrapersonal level, in terms of the various choices confronting us, but also at an interpersonal level-our choice vs. our father's choice of a career for us. Conflict is not confined at the individual level alone but is manifesting itself more and more in organisations. Employees have become more vociferous in their demands for a better deal. Various departments in an organisation face a situation full of conflicts due to a number of reasons like goal diversity, scarcity of resources or task interdependence etc.
Conflict process can be seen as comprising five stages (1) potential opposition or incompatibility (2) Cognition and personalization (3) intentions (4) Behaviour (5) Outcome.
Stage 1: Potential opposition or incompatibility: The first step in the conflict process is the presence on conditions that create opportunities for conflict to rise. These cause or create opportunities for conflict to rise. These causes or sources of conflict have been condenses into three general categories - Communications, Structure and Personal Variables.
(a)Communications: Different words connotations, jargon insufficient exchange of information and noise in communication channel are all antecedent conditions to conflict. Too much communication as well as too little communication can rely foundation for conflict.
(b)Structure: The term structure is used, in this context to include variables such as size, degree of specialization in the tasks assigned to group members, jurisdictional clarity, members/ goal compatibility, leadership styles, reward systems and the degree of dependence between groups. The size and specialization act as forces to stimulate conflict. The larger the group and the more specialized its activities, the greater the likelihood of conflict. Tenure and conflict have been found to be inversely related,. The potential for conflicts tends to be greatest when group members are younger and when turnover is high. The greater the ambiguity in defining where responsibility for action lies, the greater the potential for conflict to emerge. Such Jurisdictional ambiguity increases inter group fighting for control or resources and territory.
(c)Personal Variables: Certain personality types- for example individuals who are highly authoritarian and dogmatic- lead to potential conflict. Another reason for conflict is difference in value systems. Value differences are the best explanations of diverse issues such as prejudice disagreements over one’s contribution to the group and rewards one deserves.
Stage 2: Cognition and personalization: conflict must be perceived by the parties to it whether or not conflict exists is a perception issue. If no one is aware of a conflict, then it is generally agreed that no conflict exists. Because conflict is perceives does not mean that is personalized. For e.g. ” A may be aware that B and A are in serious disagreements but it may not make A tense or nations and it may have no effect whatsoever on A’s affection towards B” It is the felt level , when individuals become emotionally involved that...
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