Conflict Management

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Unit 12 Conflict Management : 

Unit 12 Conflict Management Smita Choudhary Faculty HR/OB 1 Conflict Management

Contents : 

Contents Introduction Levels of conflict The conflict process Conflict management approaches Negotiation 2 Conflict Management

Introduction : 

Introduction Conflicts occur when disagreements occur in a social situation. Conflict is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about. ---- Thomas, 1992 Conflicts can be constructive or destructive. Constructive conflict prevents stagnation, encourages creativity, allows tension to be released. Excessive conflict can hamper the effectiveness of a group or an organization, reduces satisfaction of group members, increases absence and turnover rates, and lowers productivity. 3 Conflict Management

Learning Objectives : 

Learning Objectives After studying this unit, you will be able to understand Levels of conflict The conflict process Conflict management approaches Negotiation 4 Conflict Management

Views About Conflict : 

Views About Conflict The Traditional View This approach assumes that all conflicts hamper performance. Conflicts occur due to poor communication, lack of openness and trust between people, and the failure of managers to be open to their employees. The Human Relations View This approach assumes that conflicts occur naturally in all groups and organizations. It is natural and cannot be avoided, hence it should be accepted. It cannot be removed and it may play a role in group performance. 5 Conflict Management

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The Inter-actionist View This approach encourages conflict because it believes that a peaceful and cooperative group may become constant and may not respond to the need for change and innovation. Group leaders should maintain sufficient conflict so that the group remains creative and self-critical. Functional vs. Dysfunctional Conflict Functional or constructive conflict supports the goals of the group and improves its performance. Conflicts that hamper group performance are dysfunctional or destructive conflicts. Task conflicts are related to the content and goals of the work. Low to medium levels of task conflict is good because it improves group performance. 6 Conflict Management

Levels of Conflict : 

Levels of Conflict Conflicts can be at Intrapersonal level (conflict within the individual) Interpersonal level (individual to individual conflict) Inter-group level Inter-organizational level 7 Conflict Management

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Intrapersonal conflict These conflicts involve the individual alone. It can be of three types (Schermerhorn et al, 2002): Approach – approach conflict: It occurs when a person has to choose between two positive and equally attractive alternatives. For example, choosing between promotion in the organization or a new job with another firm. Avoidance – avoidance conflict: It occurs when a person has to choose between two negative and equally unattractive alternatives. For example, to make a choice between accepting a job transfer to another town or have the employment terminated. Approach – avoidance conflict: It occurs when a person has to choose between something that has both positive and negative results. For example, accepting or not accepting a job with a higher pay but with increased responsibilities that demand a lot of personal time. 8 Conflict Management

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Interpersonal conflict It occurs between two or more individuals who are against one another. Inter-group conflict It occurs among members of different teams or groups. Inter-organizational conflict It occurs due to competition and rivalry between firms that operate in the same markets 9 Conflict Management

The Conflict Process : 

The Conflict Process The process of conflict management consists of the following steps (Schermerhorn et al, 2002): Stage 1: Potential Opposition or Incompatibility This stage supposes the conditions due to which conflicts may arise Communication: It becomes a source of conflict due to misunderstandings, noise in communication channels. Use of jargons, insufficient exchange of information, noise in communication channels are hurdles in communication and may lead to conflict. Structure: Structure means size, specialization, leadership styles, reward systems, and the degree of dependence. Size and specialization encourage conflict. Larger the size of the group, larger is the chances of conflict. Personal variables: Personal variables include individual value systems and personality characteristics. 10 Conflict Management

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Stage II: Cognition and Personalization Condition leads to conflict only when the parties are affected by it and aware of it. Conflict is personalized when it is felt and when individuals become emotionally involved. Emotions play a major role in determining perceptions Negative emotions reduce trust and causes negative interpretation of other party’s behavior. Positive emotions help to take a broader view of the situation and develop more innovative solutions. 11 Conflict Management

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Stage III: Intentions The main conflict handling intentions are as follows: Cooperativeness – “It is the extent to which one party tries to satisfy the other party.” Assertiveness – “It is the extent to which one party tries to satisfy his or her own concern.” Competing – When one person looks to satisfy his or her own interests without considering its effect on the other parties. Collaborating – When all parties in a conflict try to satisfy the interests of each other. The problem is solved by clarifying differences rather than accommodating. Avoiding – A person may know that a conflict exists and wants to pull out from it. Accommodating – When one party tries to satisfy the other party by making sacrifices. Compromising – When each party to the conflict tries to sacrifice something leading to a compromised result. There is no winner or loser. 12 Conflict Management

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Stage IV: Behavior The behavior stage includes the statements, actions, and reactions of the conflicting parties. These conflict behaviors are clear attempts to implement each party’s intentions. It is a dynamic process of interaction with a continuum. 13 Conflict Management

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Outcome may be functional – improving group performance, or dysfunctional - hampering group performance. Conflict is constructive when it (Robbins, 2003): Improves the quality of decisions. Encourages creativity and innovation. Develops interest and curiosity. Provides medium through which tensions can be released. Promotes an environment of self-evaluation and change. Conflict is destructive when: It causes discontent and leads to destruction of the group. Undesirable results like delay in communication, reduction in group cohesiveness lead to fight between members of the group. It brings a organization to an end due to too much conflict. 14 Conflict Management

Conflict Management Approaches : 

Conflict Management Approaches There are two types of conflict management approaches: Direct Indirect Direct Conflict Management Approaches Based on the emphasis on cooperativeness and assertiveness in the relation between the parties involved in conflict, there are five approaches to direct conflict management: 15 Conflict Management

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Avoidance – In avoidance, every one shows that the conflict does not really exist and hopes that it will finish. Accommodation – It involves hiding the differences between the conflicting parties and showing areas of agreement. Compromise – It occurs when each party gives up something for the sake of the other. No party is fully satisfied. Competition – It is a victory achieved due to force, superior skill, or domination of one party. It is a win-lose situation. Collaboration – It involves appreciation by all conflicting parties that something is wrong and needs attention. 16 Conflict Management

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Indirect Conflict Management Approaches Indirect conflict management approaches include Reduced interdependence Appeals to common goals Hierarchical referral Alterations in the use of mythology and scripts Reduced interdependence When work-flow conflicts exist, managers can adjust the level of interdependency among units or individuals (Walton & Dutton, 1969). 17 Conflict Management

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Appeals to common goals It focuses on the mutual interdependence of the conflicting parties to achieve the common goal of an organization. Hierarchical referral Here, conflicts are reported to senior levels to solve. 18 Conflict Management

Negotiation : 

Negotiation Negotiation is a “process in which two or more parties exchange goods or services and attempt to agree upon the exchange rate for them (Robbins, 2008). There are two approaches to negotiation Distributive bargaining Integrative bargaining 19 Conflict Management

Distributive Bargaining : 

Distributive Bargaining In distributive bargaining, the tactic is to get the opponent to agree to one’s specific target point or as close to it as possible. Hard distributive negotiation takes place when each party tries to be dominant on the other. It leads to a win-lose result in which one party dominates and gains. Soft distributive negotiation takes place when one party gives concessions to the other party. It leads to accommodation or compromise. 20 Conflict Management

Integrative Bargaining : 

Integrative Bargaining This strategy is used to create a win-win situation. It builds long-term relationships and helps shared or joint work. Following conditions are necessary for this type of negotiation to succeed (Robbins, 2003): Parties are open with information and frank about their concerns. Both the parties are sensitive to others’ needs. Both the parties trust each other. Both the parties are willing to maintain flexibility. 21 Conflict Management

The Negotiation Process : 

The Negotiation Process 1. Preparation and Planning At this stage, the nature and history of the concerned parties is found. The strategy is developed on the basis of this information. BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) determines the lowest value acceptable to both the parties. 22 Conflict Management

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2. Definition of Ground Rules At this stage, the venue, the negotiators, and the time is decided. 3. Clarification and Justification After exchanging the initial positions, the original demands of both the parties should be explained and justified. This stage requires proper documentation. 23 Conflict Management

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4.Bargaining and Problem Solving The main concentration of negotiation process is on give and take. Both the parties make concessions. 5. Closure and Implementation This is the final step, where the agreement is formalized and procedures to implement the agreement are developed. 24 Conflict Management

Issues in Negotiation : 

Issues in Negotiation Some of the most important issues in negotiation are The role of personality traits in negotiation: An analysis of the personality-negotiation relationship shows that personality characteristics have no direct effect on bargaining process or results of negotiation (Wall & Blum, 1991). Gender differences in negotiations: Man and woman do not negotiate differently. A normal belief is that women are more cooperative and pleasant in negotiations than men. But there is no proof to support this. The belief that women are nicer is due to lack of power of women (Stuhlmacher & Walters, 1999). Cultural differences in negotiations – Negotiating styles are different in different cultures. Culture affects the amount and type of preparation for bargaining, the emphasis on task and interpersonal relationships, the tactics used, etc. 25 Conflict Management

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