Organizational Conflict Management

Table of Contents


Conflict is a situation in which two or a group of people which one individual or group perceives another group that has negatively affected, or just about to negatively affect, which the other person or group cares about. If a person or a group does something that the other group or person doesn’t care about, then there is no conflict


Classical conflict is derived from Plato’s Republic: conflict is bad; the idea was to generate a harmonious and conflict-free organization. All “conflict resolution” approaches are derived from the classical school. the modern dynamic project management is based on pragmatic studies which show that that conflict may lead to increased organizational performance and productivity. in general, the conflict’s impact on performance is put down on a graph as an inverted U-curve, in that the director’s job is to try and manage conflict to an “optimal apex” and hold it there, hence, conflict can not go farther and lead to a decline in organizational performance (Rahim, 2000).

The shortcomings of management are many, but the worst of all is the inability to plan: as an antidote and remember earlier planning averts poor performance. Classical management theory was developed as a result of industrial organizations which were based on high numbers of unskilled and semiskilled people doing menial work. In this system, personnel is Marjory expendable. In today’s project management environment, the approaches to project management are devastating

Conflict management is a logical process geared towards finding reciprocally fulfilling outcomes for two or more parties that conflict. The outcome of this helps a group, a team, community, or organization function more efficiently to achieve given goals. The main reason for conflict management is to ease the occurrence of dysfunctional conflict and to increase the possibility that any conflict that occurs will be resolved effectively and efficiently.

The conflict management process should not start with the identification of a specific conflict. It is a continuous process in which directors constantly generate conditions that deter dysfunctional conflict, therefore, fostering processes that enhance “win/win” situations. This can be facilitated by creating an efficient communication channel within an organization, by developing an environment that supports participation, by assisting people to build productive work relationships, by regularly improving organizational conflict resolution procedures and processes and, by assisting persons to develop effective communication and skills, and by instituting mediation and grievance processes for all employees (Kerzner 2009)

It is important to note that there are two categories of conflict, dysfunctional and functional. Functional conflicts exist when the conflict sustains the goals of a department, workgroup, organization, and community. Functional conflict can have a positive impact on work productivity and quality, hence improving the overall group performance (Kerzner, 2009).

This is achieved because it involves people who are legitimately concerned in solving the problems; listen to one another, and endeavors in seeking mutually advantageous solutions. When parties work together and deal with issues at hand, then the functional conflict can bring out diverse styles and ideas (thus eliminating “groupthink”), which can lead to the consideration of more options, get people interested in addressing the issue at hand, develop creativity in the problem-solving process and eventually lead to more efficient decisions. ( Rahim 2000)

Conversely, dysfunctional conflict consists of disagreements, disputes, and conflicts that deter group performance. This kind of conflict is more prevalent typically involves people who are not ready to work together and bring forth mutually advantageous solutions. (Rahim p. 142)

More often, this kind of conflict can be personalized. Individuals can grow to hate each other, or even when the conflict is small, it can expand rapidly. It is to the above reason therefore, that is important that is to address conflicts as they arise. Dysfunctional conflict can bring on several negative outcomes in an organization or community. This includes decreased quality of communication, discontent, decreased productivity, damaged relationships, performance, reduced group cohesiveness, and the inability to achieve goals (Kerzner, 2009).

One should collaborate when to gain commitment and cooperation of others, when viewpoints of both parties are important to be compromised, when the goal is to evaluate one’s viewpoints or better still understand the perception of others, and when you successfully solve a crisis by merging insights from individuals with different views. Note that these situations apply to the infinite mass of conflicts (Marrie, 2000).


Domination can be effective whenever quick action is required when one’s opinion is more significant to you than the perspective of another person is to them. This means that the issue at hand is a bigger deal to you than it is to others. When the relationship is not specifically important, and when one needs not to gain the cooperation and commitment of others. Therefore, conflict resolution is very important as far harmonious working of an organization is concerned.


Kerzner, H., (2009) Project Management: A Systems Approach toPlanning, Scheduling and Controlling, 10th edition. Boston: Pocket Books.

Marrie, R., (2000) Conflict in the Work Place. Web.

Rahim, R., (2000) Managing Conflict in Organizations. New York: Prentice Hall.

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