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Managing Conflicts in Organizations - Term Paper Example

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Managing Conflicts in Organizations Executive Summary: Conflicts are inevitable in everyday life and in organizations. The challenge for organizations today is not to avoid conflicts but to manage them in such a way that they work to the benefit of the organization…
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Managing Conflicts in Organizations
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Download file to see previous pages It would not be unfair to say that conflict is inevitable amongst human beings. The constant struggle to get hold of status, resources, power etc amongst humans often results in a form of social interaction called conflict. Thus, conflict can formally be defined as: “A process which begins when an individual or group perceives differences and opposition between itself and another individual or group about interests and resources, beliefs, values, or practices that matter to them.” (Digirolamo) In the same way that conflicts are inevitable in everyday life, they are also inevitable in organizations. Especially in modern organizations wherein factors such as constant change, employee diversity, team based structures etc make conflict an ever-present. Conflict, however, is not necessarily a bad thing and can help get the best out of individuals within the organizations. Organizations must therefore make sure that they do not discourage conflict but rather manage it smartly so that it can work to its advantage. Thus, conflict can be looked at in different ways in organizations: Conflict as war – When parties treat conflict as a must-win war. Conflict as opportunity – When parties use the conflict as an opportunity to be more creative, to grow and to improve on what they already are. Conflict as journey – When parties use the conflict as a search for common ground. The first view of conflict is a win-lose situation. Such a situation is not good for the organization in any way because such conflict is destructive. The other two views on the other hand are constructive in nature and are desirable for organizations because they create win-win situations and help the organization get the best out of its employees. (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008). Organizations should therefore make sure that its employees treat conflict in the right manner and it is for this purpose that they employ conflict management practices. Conflict management practices involve many different strategies which can be used by organizations to manage conflicts effectively. Some of these strategies are discussed below. The first technique that managers can use is fostering functional conflict. Functional conflict can be defined as the kind of conflict which is beneficial to the organization’s interest. (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008) Managers looking to infuse their decision making teams with creativity and passion very often look towards stimulating functional conflict. There are two ways of doing this. The first method is to fan the naturally arising conflicts between different parties. This method, however, is very unreliable and may end up stimulating dysfunctional conflict. The other method is to employ programmed conflict. Programmed conflict can be defined as “conflict that raises different opinions regardless of what the managers personally feel about the issue.” This method requires disciplined role playing by everyone involved (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008). The two best methods of programmed conflict are devil’s advocacy and dialectic decision method. Devil’s Advocacy is the technique in which someone is assigned the role of a critic and is told to air all possible objections to an idea. (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008). Dialectic Decision Method simply requires fostering a debate of opposing points of views prior to making a decision in order to better understand the whole issue (Kreitner & ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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