Pluralists treat power, conflict and interests as interrelated phenomena, in the management and organisational behaviour literature, and in pluralist practice, the tendency has been to give prominence to processes of conflict management and resolution, while relegating power issues to a residual role. What is Pluralist Approach to Conflict?
Pluralist approach defines the conflict inter and intra individuals, groups and organisations as an inherent and ineradicable characteristic of organisation and seeks ways to manage it to be positive and beneficial. It identifies conflict in the context where organisational stakeholders pursue diverse interests and make competing claims on resources, and tries to enable all stakeholders achieve some degree of success.
Where does conflict come from?
Pluralists do not agree the proposition that goals of organisations are implicitly understood and agreed with by all participants. For pluralists, there are varying goals pursued by diversified individuals or groups of the organisational stakeholders which are not always consistent with the top objective. The impossibility to achieve an overall organisation objective together with other sources of conflict such as structural, scarce resources, different value system, makes conflict a naturally occurring phenomenon in this context, resulting from pursuit of competing claims and demands.
Conflicts in this approach, is multifaceted, emerging from different pressure points both within and outside the organisation. With complex sets of tensions and different claims, conflict situations can be intrapersonal, where an individual is conflicted over goals, and interpersonal, where two or more individuals disagree with each other, or intragroup, intergroup, intraorganisational and interorganisational. * Can be beneficial
Conflict in the pluralist perspective is not a merely adverse thing. It can be beneficial, even essential for creative and innovative group decision making, for an organisation if properly managed. This requires conflict be properly institutionalized and disagreement, which does NOT indicate disloyalty, be expressed openly, and accommodated within properly established managerial frameworks for instance joint consultation structures or confrontation session.
* Although conflict is thought as an inherent character of organisation in pluralist scheme, due to its characteristic of being possible beneficial, pluralists have expanded great effort on diagnosing conflict and devising strategies to resolve it, although with no ‘one best way’. Despite seeking to enable all stakeholders to achieve some degree of success, it is extremely difficult to come up with a resolution on claims as there involves a lot of different groups in a conflict situation. * Moreover, each conflict situation of either inter- or intra- requires a different strategy or response. In reality, contingency may even complicate these situations and make it more difficult to prepare for all of them. * Furthermore, conflicts are seen to have knock-on effect, meaning they are episodic and serial and solution of one may give rise to conflicts elsewhere. This is especially likely to occur when a win-win situation cannot be created, and one group ends up losing out in the resolution. Therefore, conflict is ineradicable though might be managed. * To sum up the techniques used to manage conflict resolution from a pluralist approach, they are mainly about openly communication participating by all stakeholders (such as appeal procedures, negotiation and bargaining, confrontation meetings) and structural change of organisation. Pluralists have high expectation on the outcomes to be fair and effective.
[Managerial pluralism, a most popular sub-theory of pluralism, is a form of collective self-improvement and mainly coordinates the conflicts between managers and the...
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