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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Explain the process of conflict.

Explain the process of conflict. Describe various sources of conflict generation in the organization you are familiar with. Explain, how some of these conflicts were resolved, illustrate with examples. Briefly describe the organization.

Conflict is not primarily a result of individual neurotic traits but arises under given conditions even when people involved are well adjusted. Since situational variables induce conflict, it is possible to modify situations so as to avoid conflict. However, there may not be any specific standard of situation in which conflict will not grow, there might be certain positive programmes and actions that might reasonably lead to avoidance of conflict in the organization. The development of effective leadership, participative decision-making. Effective two-way communication with proper emphasis on upward communication, improvement in interpersonal relationship, provision for facilities and opportunities to develop informal groups may be some of the ways to which management should pay special attention..
Establishing Common Goals
Most of the conflicts assume that incompatible goals are a necessary antecedent for the development of conflict. It means that the existence of super ordinate goals-common goals-will reduce the occurrence of dysfunctional conflicts. This is true particularly in the case of conflict among groups and between individuals and organization- Schein observes that 'the fundamental problem of inter group competition is the conflict of goals and the breakdown of interaction hecaceen the groups. This breakdown in turn permits and stimulates perceptual distortion and mutual negative stereotyping. The basic strategy of reducing conflict, therefore. Is to find goals upon which groups can agree and to re-establish valid communication between the groups. Goal differences can also be reduced through the adoption of appropriate incentive systems. Many organizational reward systems often result in 'win-lose' mentality in organization because the reward systems focus attention on the individual rather than on the group or organization as a whole. It has been observed that goal differentiation can also he reduced through the use of incentive systems designed to reward activities that benefit the larger system, as opposed to those that are primarily in the interest of subunits.
Changing Structural Arrangement
They observe that conflicts can be reduced by decentralization, restructuring to remove obvious differentials in status symbols between hierarchical interest groups, development of cycles of work, with opportunity to employees to complete tasks and sharing in organizational rewards.' Such structural variables, more specifically, can be used in the following ways.
1. Reduction in Interdependence. The basic reason in the intercrop conflict is interdependence among them. As such less such interdependence, less will the amount of conflict among them. Thompson distinguished three types of interdependence: pooled, sequential, and reciprocal. In the pooled interdependence, the various divisions of the organization are relatively self-contained and independent. In sequential interdependence, there is high degree of interdependence between two or more departments which might be using the product of others in a particular sequence.
2. Reduction in Shared Resources. When two are more units are required to share resources, particularly scarce ones, the potential for conflict increases. The management of conflict suggests reducing such sharing. One technique for reducing such sharing is the increase in such resources so that each unit is independent in using them. However, since resources are scarce, it is not always possible to do so. As such, measures may be adopted for their optimum allocation.
3. Exchange of Personnel. Personnel of the conflicting groups may be exchanged for a specified period as a way to reducing and managing conflict. An exchange of people is very similar to role reversal, which is aimed at greater understanding between 'people by forcing each to present and defend the others position.
4. Creation of Special Integrators. To resolve conflict, organization may create provisions for the appointment of special integrators who may manage the interdependence of various groups so that unresolved matters can he solved through them. For example, they found that integrators were more effective when they were viewed as about intermediate in position between the conflicting departments, where they were viewed as high in influence, and where they perceived that their rewards were tied to the total performance of the two groups they were integrating. '"
5. Reference to Superior's Authority. Conflicts may be resolved through the hierarchy. If resolution cannot be attained by two organizational members, they may take the issue to a common superior who resolves the conflict by making a decision. Such a decision is usually accepted by organizational members because of the recognized superior authority of high-ranking individual. Such a decision may not necessarily bring agreement but it will usually he accepted.
Conflict-Resolution Actions
The various measures, discussed above, undoubtedly help in reducing the occurrence of conflict in the organization but they cannot guarantee the complete absence of conflicts. For example, March and Simon say that an organization may react to conflict by problem-solving, persuasion bargaining, and politics." Ruble and Thomas have identified five types of actions : competing, avoiding, accommodating, compromising, and collaborating. Lawrence and Lorsch have identified three types of 'behaviour in conflict resolution : confrontation, smoothing, and forcing. Some major actions in conflict resolution take Place in the following ways:
1. Problem-solving. The problem-solving technique is considered to he the most positive technique available for conflict resolution because it emphasizes the attaining of the common interests of both conflicting parties. In mutual problem-solving process, the conflicting parties must come together with the responsibilities of solving the mutual problem that faces rather than merely finding a way to accommodate their different perspectives.
2. Avoidance. Another method of overcoming conflict is its avoidance, that is, parties to the conflict may either withdraw from the conflict or conceal the incompatibility. Withdrawal may be observed when one party leaves the field of conflict so that other party may win by being in sole possession of the goal in dispute.
3. Smoothing. Smoothing can he defined as the process of playing down differences that exist between individuals or groups while emphasizing common interests. Differences are suppressed and similarities are accentuated in smoothing process.
4. Compromise. Compromise is a well-accepted technique for resolving conflict, yielding neither a definite loser nor a distinct winner. Such a compromise maybe achieved either through the intervention of third party, the process is commonly known as mediation, or without the intervention of the external parties, the method is known as bargaining.
5. Confrontation. The various actions enumerated above may not bring resolution of conflict between parties if they take very rigid stand. In such a case, the parties are left to confrontation to settle the conflict themselves. This strategy may result into win-lose situation. The parties concerned may settle their score by applying their strength against each other. The parties involved in conflict must analyze certain aspects before going for confrontation. The various approaches of conflict management suggest that management can take a variety of actions depending on the situations, parties to conflicts, issues in conflict and the organizational resources available. In many cases, a change organizational structure, process, or the value systems of people is required. This requires the detailed understanding of organizational change and development which will he discussed in the next part

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