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Conflict is a difference of opinions between two or more parties. The parties perceive a threat to their interests, demands, or concerns. Conflict can be both effective and destructive. The party’s responses determine whether the conflict is positive or negative. Conflict management is a technique to resolve issues and establish positive outcomes. According to study.com, conflict management is the practice of being able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly, and efficiently.

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Types of Conflicts

Dysfunctional Conflict

The dysfunctional conflict focuses on emotions and differences between the two parties. It can increase to the extent that the parties forget the important issues. That leads to retaliation by hurting the other party. Dysfunctional conflict can negatively influence employees’ workgroups and administration. It can result in negative emotional stress.

Constructive Conflict

Person and issues create constructive conflict. It is also called functional conflicts. They equalize the most mutual gains of both parties. They try to meet mutual goals. Constructive conflicts contain elements of creativity and adaptation. It contains a desire to discover an acceptable outcome. It can lead to the identification of new alternatives and ideas. This is an inevitable and creative force that can benefit employees and organizations.

Process Conflict

Process conflict reflects a conflict about ways to achieve a task. Role ambiguity increases process conflict. If a manager does not assign work tasks to employees, they may experience process conflict. It occurs when they compete against each other to do the easier tasks and avoid the difficult tasks.

Relationship Conflict

Conflicts can arise from interpersonal differences in motivations, assumptions, or personality. Relationship conflict results from incompatibility or differences between individuals and groups. Relationship conflict can trigger personality traits of dogmatism or power motivation. It can often fuel disputes and lead to uncertainty.

Task Conflict

Conflict can be a disagreement about tasks or goals. Task conflict is beneficial in the initial stages of a business. It increases innovation and generates more alternatives. Yet, a task conflict is more likely to be detrimental over time. When tasks are complex tasks, conflict can be very productive if handled.

Informational Conflict

Informational conflict occurs when people, who lack essential information, misinterpret information. The conflict potential increases when one person is dependent on another for information.

Structural Conflict

Structural conflict is the result of structural processes or features of the organization. It can be horizontal or vertical. Understanding conflict is critical to managing conflict in organizations.

Value Conflict

People differ in their values and world views. These differences are a source of value conflicts. They arise from perceived or actual incompatibilities. It can occur when people or groups have a different understanding of the world. It can be in beliefs about what is good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair.

Causes and Effects of Conflict

Rising conflict can be a result of miscommunication. The conflict escalates when constructive approaches to conflict resolution are unsuccessful. The farther the conflict escalates, the more difficult it is to reverse. It is more likely to become dysfunctional, too.

The change also causes conflict. Indeed, change is not possible without conflict. One of the primary drivers of conflict is uncertainty. Organizational changes, including reorganization, downsizing and changing business strategies can increase conflicts. External changes can also trigger conflict if regulations or evolving market conditions change.

Strategies for No More Mistakes With Conflict Management

Conflict management strategies differ in their concern for others and individuals’ interests. These are the five styles of managing interpersonal conflict.

Collaboration

Collaborating reflects a concern for your interests and of the other party. This conflict management style emphasizes problem-solving. It pursues an outcome that gives both parties what they want.

Compromise

Compromising is a style in which each side sacrifices something to end the conflict. This middle ground reflects an equal concern for all involved interests. A compromising style often uses temporary solutions to avoid violent power struggles.

Competing

Competing is a style resulting from a serious concern for your interests. This is when the conflict issue is necessary or to set a precedent for a common problem for the other party. When one party is trying to dominate the other, this style can escalate the conflict. 

Accommodating

Accommodating is a cooperative conflict management style. It reflects a low concern for your interests. It also reflects a high concern for the other party’s interests.  You use this style when an issue is more critical to the other party than it is to you.

Avoiding

Avoiding is a passive style involving ignoring or denying the conflict. The style reflects a low concern for your interests and a low concern for the interests of the other party. There is no damage when the conflict is trivial. But it can result in most damage when there are vital issues.

Conflict can also be positive. Conflicts of interest can occur when someone believes they have to meet their needs. Fairness, and the appearance of justice, often decrease the risk of workplace violence. Unresolved conflict drains an employee’s energy and reduces their performance. It’s easier to manage a conflict escalation in the early stages of the conflict. 

Perspectives on Conflict Management

Managerial Aspect

A person’s ability to resolve conflict depends on their effectiveness as a leader. As a manager, you can reduce conflict escalation by modelling de-escalation processes. It’s important to re-establish a sense of justice and trust among the parties after a conflict. Strengthening shared goals and identities can help reduce the potential for future conflict.

Emotional Aspect

There is a significant distinction between perceiving conflict and feeling the conflict. You cannot recognise it until you feel it. You can prevent a conflict by controlling your emotions and staying focused. Assessing and acknowledging the other party’s emotions help effective conflict management. If neither party experiences emotion in conflict, it does not escalate.

That’s a Wrap on No More Mistakes With Conflict Management

Conflict often accompanies misunderstandings.  That exaggerates the perceived disagreement. Most people dislike conflict. It is seen as more accessible and less stressful. It is less risky for one’s career to avoid conflict. Organizations avoiding conflict may have a difficult time competing in the global environment.

People differ in their preferred conflict management styles. Conflict can be effective when you become efficient. It can lead to greater learning flexibility. Conflict can also develop adaptive creativity behaviours.  It also creates responsiveness to the situation. Furthermore, it is necessary to adapt your style.

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