“Working together isn’t always easy” Managing Conflict Tarak Bahadur KC, PhD email@example.com
Contents • Meaning of conflict • Symptoms and types of conflict • Causes and consequences of conflict • Conflict management approaches / Styles / techniques / tools
Meaning of Conflict A conflict is: • a difference between two or more beliefs, opinions, ideas or interests. • a disagreement over issues of substance and or an emotional antagonism. • Perceived divergence of interests.
Conditions for Conflict Your goal Degree of conflict Other person’s goal
Some Facts about Conflict Conflict is: • natural, yet • uncomfortable for most of us. • sometimes necessary, even desirable to achieve a truly collaborative outcome, therefore • very important to address and not to avoid.
Symptoms of Conflict What are the Symptoms of Conflict? • Angry • Anxiety • Hurt • Defensive • Non-supportive / Passive / Aggressive behaviour • Absenteeism • Complaining / Verbal abuse • Physical violence
Types of Conflict 1. Personal / individual conflict 2. Interpersonal conflict 3. Inter / Organisational conflict 4. Inter-group conflict
Causes / Sources of Conflict What are Causes and Consequences of Conflict? • Perceptual differences • Priority or value differences • Different expectations or role pressures • Divergent goals • Self-esteem or status threat • Personality clashes • Poor / no communication • Change not liked by people / beneficiaries • Generation gap • Economic situation • Ideological differences
Consequences of Conflict • Positive / Constructive / Functional effects Results in positive benefits to individuals, the group, or the organisation. • Negative / Destructive / Dysfunctional effects Works to the disadvantage of individuals, the group, or the organisation.
1. Likely positive effects • Long-standing problems surfaced and dealt with them • Clarifies people's viewpoints • Produces better ideas and forces people to search for new approaches • People feel challenged and they receive the opportunity to test their abilities • Provides opportunities for creativity • Creates new energy / cohesion
2. Likely negative effects • Develops suspicion and distrust climate • Reduces contact between people and some stop communicating with each other • Ends the relationship or seriously damages it • Some feel defeated, embarrassed, and demoralised / decline in morale • Some leave the organisation • Distracts people from the important goals of an organisation and cause valuable time to be wasted on non-productive arguing
Typical Responses to Conflict • Avoiding the issue • Jump into battle with guns blazing • Finding a quick fix • Wait for things to get sorted out on its own
High Assertiveness Low Assertiveness Approaches /Styles for Conflict Management The approach and style for resolving conflict depends on assertiveness and responsiveness skills of a manager. Domination Collaboration Compromise Concern for Self Avoiding Accommodation Concern for Others Low Responsiveness High Responsiveness
Deciding Preferred Approach • Lowest transaction costs ? (time, money, energy, emotion) • Greatest satisfaction? (outcome & process) • Most positive / least negative effects on the long term relationship between parties? • Most likely to “resolve” the dispute?
Techniques of Conflict Management • Peaceful coexistence • Compromise • Problem-solving: • Create a positive environment • Define the problem • Identify relevant facts and opinions • Determine what results are desired • Propose different solutions • Reach an agreement • Implement the agreement • Evaluate the solution and continue to refine it
Tools for Managing Conflict Effectively • Attack the problem, not the person • Focus on what can be done, not what can’t be done • Encourage different points of view and honest dialogue • Express feelings in a way that does not blame • Accept ownership appropriately for all or part of the problem • Listen to understand the other person’s point of view before giving your own • Show respect for the other person’s point of view • Solve problem while building the relationship
Conclusion Conflict is inevitable and a reality of life, which is neither bad nor is always avoidable in any ongoing relationship, whether at home, work or social living. Conflict is the life blood of vibrant, progressive, stimulating organisations. It sparks creativity, stimulates innovations and encourages personal improvement. But, it will never turn out like you plan. It is an inevitable part of organisational life. Therefore, try to manage it effectively.