Conflict Management

Subject: Business Studies

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Conflict means an active disagreement between people with opposing opinion principles whereas conflict management is the process of handling the situation while interacting with the different people in the organization. There are two types of approaches in conflict such as traditional and modern approaches. It is the natural process so it has various characteristics such as natural phenomenon, conflict is inevitable, conflict is a normal part of life, outcomes of human behavior and relationship and symptoms of poor coordination and ineffective communication. There is a various level of conflict such as conflict within the individual, intrapersonal conflict, intergroup conflict, which affect the performance of the people in the organization. There are many causes for arising conflict in the organization because of the unclear goal and much more. The manager should take various techniques for the minimization of conflict. It helps to create a positive response from the employee.

Conflict Management


Source:Vitech - Vitech Corporation
Source: Vitech Corporation


Conflict means an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions principles. Conflict management is the process of handling the situation while interacting with the different people in the organization. It is the management's ability and skill to handle a situation. When people work together in a team, there is always the chance of raising conflict on different issues. It is a very challenging task for the manager because of differences among the people in perception, value, culture, the level of education, interest, attitude, goals, power, resources, background and feeling. Conflict may arise in the organization in the course of goals, allocation of resources, distribution of rewards, policies, procedure, and assignment. A conflict might have an adverse effect on the organization. It may have an impact on the organizational performance like delay in work, lack of teamwork, distrust between employees, decrease loyalty towards the organization, etc. Therefore, the manager must be active in handling and managing the conflict without any delay.

In the organization, conflict may be the symptoms of strikes, destruction, obstruction, agitation, poor-cooperation, coordination and communication. So, we came to know that there is always a negative relationship between conflict and performance. It means that a higher level of conflict, lower the level of performance.

Views and Approaches to Conflict

There are two different views and approaches to the conflict which are given below:

  1. Traditional approach
  2. Modern approach

Traditional approach:
This approach was first developed in the late 1930s and early 1940s. According to the traditional view, any conflict in an organization is the view as bad, negative, destructive, harmful and unnecessary for the organization. It only sees conflict as dysfunctional and destructive. It suggests that organizational conflict must be eliminated by identifying the major causes of the problem.

Modern approach:
During that period, the view of management and organizational behavior was changed. It refers to the human relation view on organizational conflict presented a significantly different perspective on the topic. In the organization, a conflict occurs naturally, which simply cannot be eliminated. The human relation view of the organizational conflict teaches us to accept conflict. It also defines the conflict can be valuable to the group and organization. If the manager can handle conflict properly, then the performance of the group may increase. It advocates that a minimum level of conflict is actually beneficial for the group because it maintains a certain level of creativity, self-evaluation, and competition among the individuals. Therefore, the conflict should be accepted and resolved positively.

Characteristics of Conflict

  1. Natural Phenomenon
    It is a natural phenomenon. It occurs naturally. In the organization, every manager and worker must face it on a regular basis while performing the task.

  2. Conflict is Inevitable
    Conflict is a natural phenomenon, so it exists everywhere. No two people are the same because of individual differences. The difference may be in terms of value or otherwise. Although inevitable, conflict can be minimized and resolve. Conflict happens because we are dealing with people's lives, jobs, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission. So, conflict is inevitable and often good.

  3. Being a Part of Life
    Every person and organization has unlimited needs and different values but limited resources. Thus, this is the cause of conflict. Therefore, conflict is not an exact problem, but if it is poorly managed then it becomes a problem.

  4. Interaction of Human Behavior and Relationship
    In every field, people show their own personal and psychological behavior in the workplace. Mostly, they perform their activities as a group or team. Therefore, conflict is the outcomes of human behavior, interaction, and relation.

  5. Consequences of Poor Coordination and Loss of Communication 
    The major cause of conflict is the lack of proper coordination and ineffective communication. The core of the success of management depends on effective and proper communication.

Types or Level of Conflict

  1. Conflict Within the Individual 
    It refers to the conflict that occurs solely. It is also called the intrapersonal conflict. Conflict arises from a person's own psychology. The causes of such conflict are frustration and much more. Generally, it is faced by employees, when they feel that the organization does not recognize his/her expectation and want to search for new opportunities.

  2. Interpersonal Conflict
    It is the conflict between individuals. Generally, it arises from the disagreement between two or more people on certain issues. The main cause of conflict is due to the internal power of competition, position, wealth, and capacity. These kinds of conflicts often occur due to personal clashes. Positive ego and the constructive view among employees will be beneficial to the organization and vice versa.

  3. Intergroup Conflict
    Intergroup conflict refers to the conflict between two or more groups of an organization. Various kinds of group formation in the organization like a formal and informal group for the purpose of performing the task and they also have different goals and objectives. If the roles of the groups are conflicting and not supportive of each other, then the conflict may arise. Therefore, intergroup conflict basically arises due to organizational matters.

  4. Inter-organizational Conflict 
    It refers to the conflict between two or more organizations. Conflict arises basically due to competition among two or more organizations. Hence, the inter-organizational conflict is the disagreement between competing firms on their product, markets, brands, resources, price, and promotion.

Sources/ Causes/ Reasons for Conflict

There are many causes of the rising conflict in an organization. It can be categorized into two groups, which are given below:

  1. Sources of Intergroup Conflict: 
    Intergroup conflict refers to the disagreement that arises between two or more groups within an organization. It may arise due to diversity, incompatible goals, poor communication, and an unfair reward system.

  2. Sources of Interpersonal Conflict 
    This is the main reason for the rising conflict. In this source, conflict occurs between two or more people working in an organization. This conflict can be people-focused or issues focused. People-focused can be related to emotion and feeling, directed toward personal attack whereas issues focused related to events. The main reason for interpersonal conflict are given below:
  • Personal Differences
    This is a common source of interpersonal conflict. In this source, every person is different in terms of the set of values, perception, and expectation which arise conflict.
  • Inadequate Information:
    It is another source of conflict in which communication is not effective.
  • Role Incompatibility:
    In this conflict, if there are differences between goals and responsibilities assigned to an individual, conflict may arise.

Techniques of Conflict Management

The main job of every manager is to control and resolve conflict as much as possible. There is some technique that helps to manage conflict.

  1. Withdrawing
    This technique is also known as an avoidance technique in which issues are postponed for a later time. It means that the manager does not want to face the current problem. Therefore, ignoring and imposing is the main technique to avoid conflict in the organization.

  2. Diffusion Technique
    The organization tries to cool down the conflicting parties. In this technique, the organization takes time to decide conflicting issues. After that, the issues will be resolved with the consent of both parties.

  3. Conflicting Containment Technique
    In this technique, management plays an important role in resolving conflict with the logical and appropriate ground. Bargaining and liaison group are the methods of managing conflict.

Conflict Management Process

It is the process of identifying the source of conflict and finding the best solution to such conflict, which is beneficial to the people and organization. Following is the step of identifying and resolving the conflict.

  1. Source Identification
    In this step, the manager should identify the major source or causes of conflict. The manager should spend a lot of time for the purpose of understanding the major source of conflict and without knowing the reason for conflict the problem cannot be resolved. He/she should also analyze whether the source of conflict is interpersonal or intergroup.

  2. Information Gathering
    If the manager understood the major source of conflict. He/she should process furthermore for the purpose of deep underlying needs, concerns, and interests of an employee. The aim of the gathering is to identify a major source of problem or issues clearly which is affected by the employee and organization.

  3. Problem Identification 
    It is the process of applying managerial skills for the identification of what the problem is. He/she finds out the solution which is mutually beneficial to employee and organization.

  4. Negotiating a Solution 
    In this process, the conflict is resolved by negotiating various parties with the purpose of mutual benefit.





Management study guide. 2016. Electronic. 2008. - - 2016. Electronic. - - 2003.

Things to remember

Views and Approaches to Conflict

  1. Traditional Approach
  2. Modern Approach

Characteristics of Conflict

  1. Natural phenomenon
  2. Conflict is inevitable
  3. Being a part of life
  4. Interaction of human behavior and relationship
  5. Consequences of poor coordination and loss of communication

Types or Level of Conflict

  1. Conflict within the individual
  2. Interpersonal conflict
  3. Intergroup conflict
  4. Inter-organizational conflict

Sources or Causes or Reason of Conflict

  1. Sources of intergroup conflict 
  2. Sources of interpersonal conflict
  • Personal differences
  • Inadequate information
  • Role incompatibility 

Techniques of Conflict Management

  1. Withdrawing 
  2. Diffusion technique
  3. Conflicting containment technique

Conflict Management Process

  1. Source identification
  2. Information gathering 
  3. Problem identification
  4. Negotiating a solution
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.

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