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Conflict in Organizations Conflict is the struggle between opposing forces. – Interpersonal conflict occurs when two or more people must address seemingly mutually exclusive demands or desires. – Common result of conflict is a winner and a loser, but this not necessarily the only result. Conflict in Organizations First Opening Premise: Conflict is common, normal, and unavoidable. – Competition over scarce resources Including competitive reward systems – Increasing Complexity – Interdependence – Ambiguous Responsibilities power differentials and teams – Personalities Corollary – Reasonable goal is to manage conflict, not suppress it. Conflict in Organizations Second Opening Premise: Conflict may even be good. Why? – Helps diagnose the source of problems – Helps motivate the search for answers – Drives discussion, exploration, creativity, discovery. – Creates a learning organization. Key is to understand the difference between good and bad and manage to support the good while discouraging the bad. What is Good Conflict? Good Bad 1. Blocking Behavior Performance 2. Shift from goal conflict to emotional conflict. Degree of Conflict Typical Responses to Conflict Forcing Collaborating Assertiveness Compromising Avoiding Accommodating Cooperativeness Types of Conflict When should you use each tactic? – Avoiding: The conflict is trivial Will time strengthen your position? – Accommodating: The other party has greater power or interest Will you gain goodwill in a situation where you have nothing to offer? Conflict When should you use each tactic? – Competing: When issue is important, you are right, time is short. When other party would take advantage of a weaker response. – Compromising: When goals are not really worth the effort, when there is equal power, when time is an issue. Conflict When should you use each tactic? – Collaborating: This is the most interpersonally difficult and sophisticated resolution strategy Should only be attempted when there is adequate time and the appropriate parties. Will result in greatest commitment. Can you Collaborate? Requires: – Trust: Often the collaborative solution emerges from the open sharing of information and positions. – Creativity and other ways to reframe the issue to see the less than obvious solution. – Communication – Can you find larger goals to unify? Can you avoid the language of absolutes and separation? Are responses driven by defensiveness, ridicule, hostility?
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