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Conflict management and conflict solutions

By minime23555 Oct 21, 2014 1932 Words

Conflict Management and Conflict Solutions
Michael SchmalzerSouthern New Hampshire University
 OL-500-X2946 Human Behavior in Organization x2946

Abstract
Managers utilize different resolution styles and recommendations for specific situations to resolve conflict. Conflict inevitably occurs for any project. Managers must understand that one style of conflict resolution will not work for every situation. By managers implementing some of the following recommendations, the workplace will start to develop healthy and positive conflicts which increase business productivity and promote innovation. Proper conflict management creates a competitive atmosphere, helping fuel a business forward for complete customer satisfaction.

Introduction
Conflict is a “process that begins when one party perceives another party has or is about to negatively affect something the first party cares about.” CITATION Rob13 \l 1033 (Robbins & Judge, 2013). Poorly communicated information, misinterpreted information and communications, and transmitting information through incorrect channels cause conflict. Two types of conflict affect the workplace: 1) task conflict relating to content and work goals and 2) relationship conflict focusing on interpersonal relationships. Task conflicts bring beneficial results; relationship conflicts make almost always a dysfunctional environment impairing the business. Conflicts impact a person’s commitment to the project teams, the company, and the work. Without proper management, conflicts can create adverse effects on a company. Business managers need to deal with conflict; however, no one way works best for every situation. By understanding the types of conflict resolution styles, managers can use appropriate conflict resolution styles to promote healthy conflicts, increase productivity, increase employee morale and increase overall customer service. With positive conflicts that bring about discussions and resolutions that benefit the whole team, businesses will succeed and gain a competitive edge. Conflict and its Impact

Conflict can bring a difficult issue in the workplace and may occur between managers, subordinates, employees, and companies. Two basic types of conflict exist in organizations called task and relationship conflicts. Task Conflict

Task conflicts result from differences in viewpoints, ideas and opinions on ways to resolve work-related issues. This conflict results in creativity and improved decision making, if managed correctly. Negative impacts from this conflict occur when management improperly handles the conflict, such as absenteeism, silence from one party and the unwillingness to participate brought when feeling management does not consider each voiced opinion. These types of conflicts often occur due to poor communication, inaccurate information, differences of opinions, egos of managers not allowing other suggestions, discrimination (knowingly or unknowingly), and different goals. Relationship Conflict

Relationship conflicts form from disagreements about values, personal or family norms, or about personal taste. These types of conflict normally are not related to work and are often in negative terms. This type of conflict is usually always seen as a negative conflict that tends to alienate employees from communicating, result in an insufficient work place, and may cause human resource problems such as discrimination. Some conflict of this nature may relate directly to an employee’s work though. If an employee’s company decides to work with another company that has a different point of view morally or ethically with the employee, a work-related relationship conflict results. The employee may leave the company, refuse to work on any project for the other company, or worse, sabotage any projects for the company with moral or ethical conflictions. Impacts of Conflict

Unresolved conflict causes indirect and direct consequences. Indirect consequences include negative publicity, a tainted brand name, poor media coverage, decreased employee morale, increased disability and employee’s payment claims, increased turnover, and diversion of resources to dispute resolution and legal issues. Conflicts also lead to poor productivity, constant absenteeism, and poor quality and customer service. These consequences mimic the consequences of a negative emotional atmosphere at the workplace. Clear and concise communication society needs to thrive. With social media and emails and other forms of communication that lacking a direct face to face and nonverbal component causes misinterpretation of many messages and communications leading to a lot of unnecessary task and relationship conflicts. Another conflict cause on the rise as the business world becomes global is cultural differences. Sarcasm or gestures in one culture many mean insults in another. The amount of data and information available on any topic imaginable to form different opinions, both professionally and personally, makes conflict in the workplace inevitable. Most times this conflict is not beneficial. As an example, two doctorate experts in the same field had written conflicting papers. The two were constantly causing conflict. Most of the time, the conflict was just out of personal benefit to disagree with a professional rival. Ultimately, this behavior led to the two experts not discussing issues and project tasks to solve task conflicts. The project suffered as well as their reputation and the company’s reputation. In the medical field, ego-driven conflicts are quite common and poor communication between doctors and nurses becomes a critical issue for healthy patient care CITATION Bre01 \l 1033 (Breen, 2001). Styles of Conflict Resolution

According to Robinson CITATION Rob10 \l 1033 (Robinson, 2010), there are six ways that people resolve conflict.
1. Passive-aggressive style – People with passive-aggressive behavior are passive one minute and aggressive the next second. This group tends to do and say things indirectly, pretend to have no power to form hostile conflict, and complain to others. Sometimes these employees act-out to undermine those whom are in conflict, like downplaying their own expertise when, in fact, they are most capable of solving the task. 2. Avoidance style – People who always stay away from conflict. This group of people will always say they have no problems or concerns and tend to ignore conflicts. The East Asian cultures’ main concern involves maintaining excellent relationships and challenging someone to the point of them losing status if they are wrong or their opinion is overturned. Instead of demeaning or overpowering anyone, management underplays the conflict and offers a solution. Success of the entire group matters more than building a manager’s ego for credit or fame. 3. Compromising style – This style involves a give-and-take situation in order to reach an agreement. This group tends to agree to avoid further conflict. The negotiations may not be a win-win for anyone but rather a means to delay the conflict management issue.

4. Collaborating style – People resolve a conflict with the best solution agreeable (win-win solution) to all parties. Known as the problem-solving style, studies have shown a positive correlation between using collaborating style and a satisfactory completion of an assigned task, supervision and the job in general.

5. Aggressive style – People who use aggressive behavior to solve the conflict. This group uses force, intimidation, threats and fear to achieve their goals rather than negotiations. 6. Accommodating style – People who use interventions of other parties to resolve the conflict. This group tends to accommodate the conflicting party. Management Recommendations of When to use Each Style

Every situation is different so why would you approach each the same way when managing conflicts. Below are management recommendations on the types of conflicts that warrant the use of each style above CITATION Hua12 \l 1033 (Huan & Yazdanifard, 2012). Passive-aggressive style – This style of conflict resolution is not beneficial to any party as it tends to create personal conflict and in no way can solve conflict. For managers dealing with passive aggressive people, there is a need to control and accommodate to help minimize their acting out. These people often times are crying wolf and need to be assured that their voices are heard. Managers should use a compromising or collaborative style when dealing with passive aggressive people. Avoidance style – This style of conflict resolution is recommended for trivial conflicts, no benefit to resolve the issue, or the conflict is very heated conflicts that can be put off to allow people to cool down recollect themselves. A word of caution when using avoidance, conflicts that may seem trivial may very well be the root of larger conflicts. Compromise style – This style of conflict resolution is recommended when the goals are important and mutually exclusive but not worth the effort of added negotiations. This style is also a last resort solution to competitive and collaborative styles. Often times the goals are agreed upon. The steps to get to the goals and if the task needs to be expedited, a compromise style is a good way to get to a solution of the conflict quickly. Collaborating style - This style of conflict resolution is recommended when both parties of a conflict have concerns that are important and may affect the project. Usually a compromise is not the correct solution since you as the manager want to address the legitimate concerns of both parties. This helps promote teamwork between the two parties since they have to work together to find a resolution that is satisfactory for both parties. This style is also good for some minor relationship conflicts. Aggressive style - This style of conflict resolution is recommended when a conflict needs a quick decisive solution. This conflict resolution is also necessary for making ruling on disciplinary actions, procedures, processes, budgeting additions, cost cutting measures, crashing of schedules, quick hiring of additional employees or contractors, and a resolution of a conflict between two parties that are unwilling to settle on a path forward due to trivial concerns. Often times these conflicts is resource conflicts between a party and the organization and it is a business decision with executives. Accommodating Style - This style of conflict resolution is recommended when you want to be reasonable and allow the other party to “win” in the conflict resolution. Sometimes employees offer a better position and instead of admitting the short coming of your position, you accommodate the better position to save face. The style is a good style to help build employee confidence and promote good communication of concern and issues because it shows you are willing to listen and allow other ideas from your own as solution. However, you need to be careful that employees do not take this as you being gullible and become more aggressive with their ideas. The compromising and the collaborating style below are usually accompanied by one or both sides offering or bargaining to achieve a “win” for their side. The recommendation when bargaining in negotiations is to use an integrative bargaining strategy since this tends toward a win-win for both parties. The distributive bargaining style is a short term quick solution but as we have seen in politics, the solution is never good for long term. Other styles can use bargaining but the negotiating style is less effective. Conclusion

In conclusion, multiple types of conflict converge into two basic types, task and relationship. The consequences of unresolved conflicts affect job satisfaction, employee loyalty, employee emotional and physical health, productivity and quality and customer service in any given organization. Managers need to manage conflicts using the aforementioned recommendations. Different styles of conflict management have its benefits and weaknesses, and managers must identify the appropriate conflict styles for each specific situation. By choosing the right conflict resolution styles for the situations, solving conflicts comes easily.

References
BIBLIOGRAPHY Breen, C. A. (2001). Conflict Associated with Decisions to Limit Life-Sustaining Treatment in Intensive Care Units . J Gen Intern Med, 283–289. Huan, L. J., & Yazdanifard, R. (2012). The Difference of Conflict Management Styles and Conflict Resolution in Workplace. Business & Entrepreneurship Journal, 141-155 . Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2013). Organizational Behavior 15 edition. Upper Saddle river: Pearson. Robinson, C. (2010). When conflict happens: navigating difficult interactions in senior teams - fostering a culture of constructive engagement. Business Strategy Series, 214 – 218.

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