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									       Conflict in Organizations
   Conflict is the struggle between opposing
    – 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
 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

                                                   2. Shift from goal
                                                   conflict to emotional

                        Degree of Conflict
   Typical Responses to Conflict

                Forcing                     Collaborating


                Avoiding                    Accommodating

             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?
   When should you use each tactic?
    – Competing:
       When issue is important, you are right, time is
       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.
   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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