Are Conflict Detrimental in an Organization?

Conflict is a process in which one person believes that another person is blocking the attainment of his goals or the furthering of his interests. Thus, two persons are in conflict with each other when, for Example: A deliberately tries to offset the efforts of B by some form of blocking. A wants to present the attractive side of a proposal. B presents the opposite views . This may lead to conflict at some stage. There mat be differences in opinions but if the gap is wide, the subject matter involved is significant, and one or both believe that a particular individual is the sources of threat, conflict may result.



1. Conflict occurs when tow or more parties purse mutually exclusive goals , values or event. It is based in the assumption that there are two or more parties or goals appear to be incompatible
2. Conflict arises out of two perceptions. If X Perceives his goals to be incompatible with those of Y and X has no opportunity to frustrate the goal attainment of Y, there is no conflict.
3. Conflict refers to deliberate behavior. X Deliberately tries to prevent y from attaining his (Y’s ) goals. In interference is accidental, there is no conflict .
4. Conflict can exist either at the latent or over level, but generally speaking , conflict is a term that is limited to over acts.
5. Conflict is different to interfere with the other’s opportunity to acquire resources or perform activities. In competition both sides try to win, but neither side actives interferes with the other.

Consequences of Conflict :

The Following are some of the positive consequences of conflict.
1. Major Stimulate for change: Conflict spotlight the problem that demand attention, forces clarification of their nature and channels organizational efforts finding better solutions. It initiates a search for ways to polish and refine objectives, methods and activities.

2. Group Think Is avoided : With out strong vocal disagreement, Group think could overpower a highly cohesive group , preventing it from making rational decisions based on fact . Conflict also counteracts the lethargy that often overtakes organization.

3. Conflict Fosters Creativity And Innovation :It Prevents stagnation: it stimulates interest and curiosity. In an atmosphere of open confrontation people tend to put forward more imaginative solutions to problem. A climate of challenge compels individuals to think through their own ideas before airing them out. Conflict can help individuals to test their capacities to learn and develop. A scholar who exposes his theories and research to the scrutiny of those collogues may be stimulated to the scrutiny of his collogues may be stimulated to a deeper analysis when he is confronted with conflicting data and theoretical analysis by a colleague.

4. Cohesion And Satisfaction: Inter group conflict and competition drives group closer together . Under conditions of mild inter group conflict; group membership can be very satisfying to members. The Whole purpose and internal unity of athletic group, for Example, would disappear if there were no conflict. In the face of a common enemy, group members close ranks and put aside former disagreement . For Example, Petty conflicts between cricket team members are generally put aside before the big game. According to Boulding , Through a common hatred of the enemy that they establish their internal unity.

5. A Minimum Level of Conflict is Optional : Conflict is necessary to the organizational life. It is Necessary for the Internal stability of organizations. The occasional flare up of inter group conflict serves to balance power relationship between department. It also helps individuals in reducing accumulated ill – feelings and tensions between them . A good fight clears the air.

The following are the Negative Consequences of Conflict :

1. Conflict Creates Stress In People : Conflict exacts its role on the physical and mental health of the combatants. Intense conflicts generates feeling of anxiety, guilt, frustration and Hostility . Winners try to injure the feelings of the defeated. Losers feel defeated and demeaned the distance between people increases. A climate of Mistrust and suspicion develops discussion Replaces cohesion. Loser Indulge in non – co-operation and pay scant attention to the needs and interests of other group members.

2. Diversion Of Energy : One of the most dreadful consequences of conflicts is the diversion of the group’s time and efforts towards winning the conflict rather that towards achieving organizational goals. Parties focus on their own narrow interests and tend to put their own aims above those of the organization . Long terms goals begin to suffer as short term problems become more important : too much energy is drained off in trying to put out the ‘fires’ . In extreme cases sabotage, secrecy and even illegal activities occur.

3. Instability And Chaos: under intense conflicts, collaboration across individuals , group and departments decreases or vanishes. Tensions will continue to mount up and each new conflict will split organization subunits further apartment , leading to a communication break down . In the heat of such an internecine warfare, the disputants squander away energy and resources that could be devoted to better use; the normal work flow is disrupted ; the moral fabric of the group is torn apart and while system is skewed out of balance.

Conflict Resolution Style : Conflict management style is often viewed in terms of a two dimensional model . Thompson suggested five styles (1) Competitive (2) Sharing (3) Avoidant (4) Collaborative and (5) Accommodating . The Choices and use of the five conflict handling styles is likely to depend upon both the nature of the individual and the situational factors. It is useful two dimensional model for understanding and comparing the conflict resolution behaviors . These represent different combinations of assertiveness and cooperativeness . The two dimensions produce Three types of Conflict strategies :

1. Competition (Dominance) : The Competitive style is high on assertiveness and low on cooperativeness This style is power oriented and is associated with direct physical aggression and heavy reliance on punishment , to gain control over others . Such a style generally creates forces which aggravate the struggle and does little to discover innovative, constructive solution acceptable to all.

2. Avoiding (With Drawal): This is associated with behavior such as with drawal, indifference, evasion, aparhy, flight, reliance upon fate and isolation . They may detach themselves from the conflict avoidance is more nature and reasonable than childish arguments. It is only a method of avoiding conflicts. Ignores disagreements, takes no positions on the issues involved. And may even be hesitant to talk about the situation. As a result , the conflict is not effectively resolved , nor is it eliminated.

3. Accommodating (Smoothing ) ; The accommodative style is low in assertiveness and high on co- operativeness. Parties will be generous and self – sacrificing . The Emphasis is on the common interest of conflicting group and a de- emphasis on their differences. Implicit in this style is the belief by the individual or group that others will cut off their relationship if he or she express self – oriented concerns . “In a conflict issue that is associated with the expression of intense and aggressive feelings, the accommodative style may be very beneficial as a starting point”. Smoothing is a more sensitive approach then the withdrawal approach .


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