The Definition of Conflict

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Conflict - a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. It can be internal (within oneself) or external (between two or more individuals) such as, social disagreement, conflicts of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organizations. Competitive situations will, by their nature, cause conflict. Cooperative situations can also be the source of conflict. Two or more individuals or parties may have consistent goals, but the manner in which one party tries to reach their goal can still undermine the other individual or party. “Political conflict" refers to wars, revolutions or other struggles, which may be armed. Sources/Causes of Conflict. Some of the primary causes are: 1.Poor Communication: different communication styles can lead to misunderstandings between employees or between employee and manager. Lack of communication drives conflict ‘underground’. 2.Different Values: any workplace is made up of individuals who see the world differently. Conflict occurs when there is a lack of acceptance and understanding of these differences. 3.Differing Interests: conflict occurs when individual workers ‘fight’ for their personal goals, ignoring organizational goals and organizational well-being. 4.Scarce Resources: too often, employees feel they have to compete for available resources in order to do their job. In a resource scarce environment, this causes conflicts – despite awareness of how scarce resources may be. 5.Personality Clashes: all work environments are made up of differing personalities. Unless colleagues understand and accept each other’s approach to work and problem-solving, conflict will occur. 6.Poor Performance: when one or more individuals within a work unit are not performing - not working up to potential – and this is not addressed, conflict is inevitable.
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