Dictionary Meaning of Conflict
The dictionary defines "conflict" as -
"a struggle to resist or overcome;
contest of opposing forces or powers;
strife; battle. A state or condition of
opposition; antagonism; discord. A
painful tension set up by a clash
between opposed and contradictory
What is Conflict?
"Conflict." This is a word that causes most of us a
great degree of discomfort, anger, frustration,
sadness, and pain.
No matter how hard we try to avoid it, conflict
periodically enters our lives.
In the workplace, a simple disagreement between
team members, if unresolved, may escalate into
avoidance, inability to work together, verbal
assaults, and resentment. In the worst cases, it may
also lead to hostility and eve.
WHAT IS A CONFLICT?
Definition of ‘Conflict’
When two or more people have differences in ideas/views
and are not ready to understand or accept each others
Conflict in the workplace can be incredibly
destructive to good teamwork.
Managed in the wrong way, real and legitimate
differences between people can quickly spiral out of
control, resulting in situations where co-operation breaks
down and the team's mission is threatened.
Types of Conflict
1. Personal Conflicts – Related to your or others Behavior/Style
Differences in Style.
– People's style for a completing job can differ.
– Eg. one person may just want to get the work done
quickly (task oriented), while another is more
concerned about having it done a particular way
Differences in Background/Gender
– Conflicts can arise between people because of
differences in educational backgrounds, personal
experiences, ethnic heritage, gender and
Differences in Personality
– This type of conflict is often fueled by emotion
and perceptions about somebody else's motives and
– Eg. a team leader jumps on someone for being late
because he perceives the team member as being
(1) Causes of Conflict
Conflict may stem from a variety of
causes, and understanding them is the
first step in dealing with it effectively.
There is a perceived breach of faith and
trust between individuals
When one puts faith and trust in another,
and that confidence is broken, it can
create an emotional response that
elevates to conflict.
(2) Causes of Conflict
There is miscommunication leading to unclear
The ability to communicate is one of our most
commonly used skills. As such, we sometimes
take it for granted so that the words we use to
communicate don't always clearly state the
picture in our minds. When this occurs, errors
often result that lead to frustration. Depending on
a multitude of factors (stress level for one), the
error sometimes results in conflict if neither
person is willing to accept responsibility for it.
(3) Causes of Conflict - Personality Clashes
Experts say that our personalities are genetically determined
resulting in different sets of preferred behaviors. See if the
following comparisons ring some bells for you:
Some people are: While others are:
1. Outgoing, spontaneous, 1. Introspective,
and talkative 2. Detailed...evaluate,
2. Intuitive...shoot from the hip ponder, and consider
3. Feeling and emotional 3. Logical and analytical
4. Concerned for people
4. Concerned for concepts
5. Structured, ordered,
planned 5. Flexible, go with the
4. Causes of Conflict
There are differences in acquired values.
Our values are the beliefs we hold that help us to make
decisions about what is right or wrong, good or bad, and
normal or not normal.
. No two people ever have the same life experience, so
we ultimately have different sets of values and beliefs
that guide our decisions and behavior.
People struggle over religion, politics, race,
humanitarian issues. So value system is a strong driver
of behavior and a frequent source of conflict in our lives
and in our teams.
5. Causes of Conflict -
There is underlying stress and tension
Our lives today place enormous demands on our
time and energy. But frequently those demands
exceed our capacity to deal with them. Never the
less, we come to work and attempt to function
normally with our team members.
Too often, however, this underlying stress surfaces
at the slightest provocation, and we find ourselves in
conflict. Dr. Wayne Dyer uses the analogy of an
orange to describe this:
When you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice.
Why? Because that's what is inside.
When you squeeze (metaphorically) a person, you
also get what the person is holding inside.
Ego Problems - conflict
Ego is another strong driver of our behavior
and decisions. Ego wants us to be "right," and
moves us into defending our position,
One of the quickest ways to diffuse an
argument or conflict is to admit one's
mistakes. Try to move out of ego and attempt
to see the situation from the other person's point
of view. There is a saying that it takes a big
person to admit his mistakes. Consider this the
next time you are defending.
TYPES OF CONFLICTS
Skills for Conflict Managers
"The skills required for conflict management are
simple, but they rarely are acquired as part of
growing up. Learn them and use them”. The
consensus in the professional literature is that
if we are to become competent managers of
interpersonal conflicts, skills in two arenas
must be mastered:
skill competence arena
Skills for Conflict Managers
Skill competence. The second arena is skill
competence. In addition to understanding
communication and conflict theory, an individual
must become competent in a variety of basic
communication skills and develop a working
range of conflict management skills. Two basic
communication skills are required if parties hope
to manage conflict productively:
Wilmot & Hocker suggest some Basic skills of
conflict Management. More advanced assessment
tools follow these basic skills.
Skills for Conflict Managers
The first arena is conceptual: an
individual must understand conflict's
causes, styles, strategies, tactics, and
world-views. An individual must
understand theories of how and why
conflicts arise, where and when conflicts
habitually occur, and the range of
strategies and tactics that may be utilized
to manage conflict.
Conflict management refers to the long-term
management of intractable conflict. It is the label for
the variety of ways by which people handle
standing up for what they consider to be right and
against what they consider to be wrong.
Conflict management is often considered to be
distinct from conflict resolution.
Conflict is often connected to a previous issue. The
latter refers to resolving the dispute to the approval of
one or both parties, whereas the former concerns an
ongoing process that may never have a resolution.
Neither is it considered the same as conflict
VIEWS ON CONFLICTS
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STYLES
Assertive Forcing Collaboration
to satisfy own Compromise
Unassertive Avoidance Smoothing
Person’s desire to satisfy concerns of others
I don’t have enough time
I don’t have enough facts
Perhaps the best way is to proceed
as you think best
Criticism: The conflict is not solved
Example situations where avoidance style is appropriate
Inadequate facts and power
Others can more effectively resolve the conflict
If it makes others happy, I wont challenge
I don’t want to hurt the feelings of others
We should not risk our friendship, so let’s not
worry too much about the problem, things
will work out
Criticism: It encourages individuals to cover-up or gloss over
Example situations where smoothing style is appropriate
If you don’t like the way things are run get out
If you cant learn to cooperate, I am sure others
who will, can be hired
Criticism: The subordinates’ interests are ignored. The conflict is
Example situations where forcing style is suitable
Stopping people from taking advantage of him / her
I let other people win something, if they let me
I try to find out a position between theirs and
Criticism: people may encourage compromise on stated issues
rather than on real issues
Example situations where compromise style is acceptable
It is not possible to achieve a win-win agreement
When conflicts block important agreements
I try to get all view points & issues out
in the open .
Best alternatives must be arrived
Criticism: It is not suitable when win-win situation is not
Example situations where this style is appropriate
The parties disagree over the best means to achieve the common
When there is a need for high-quality decisions
BARRIERS TO ADOPT
When a manager is expected to be
Adopt the ‘style’ which suits your
personality and value system. At
the same time, always remember
you are responsible for
accomplishment of Departmental
Egoist person is always a cause of
‘conflict’ and can’t resolve it.
Thank You !!!!!!
V. K. Bhide