Most organizations are normally engulfed in a number of day to day conflicts which are evident in each and every level of management. Whether the conflict is subtly covert or openly hostile, they tend to involve the use of strong personal feelings that may hinder the flow of the company as well as its productivity. More often than not, both sides present valid viewpoints that make the process of finding an amicable solution to become more strenuous. The differences in interpersonal perceptions normally become sharper when the organizational stakes are seemingly high with the management finding an issue in the building of the organizational success along the different opinions held by each and every one of its employees while ensuring that they do not jeopardize the overall growth, satisfaction, and performance of the firm.
Pros and Cons
Conflict is a managerial reality that can prove to be either beneficial or detrimental to the overall stature of a company. Issues tend to arise when potential conflicts escalate beyond the control of the two parties waging war against each or if the third party intermediaries try to suppress them in an artificial manner.
Whereas most establishments prefer reducing the conflict when it occurs owing to the negated repercussions that come with it, most will try and use it in determining the performance, motivation and creativity levels in their workers. The competitive nature of a conflict can inherently increase the creativity and motivation of the adversaries. Take, for example, a salesperson who is being pushed by the management to record good sales in their monthly reports. They will develop an inherent urge to win and a spirited nature which might lead them to be successful in the very end. The conflict between top managers in the company can also frequently clarify the nascent organizational problems that the firm experiences without even noticing. This might also help the top brass of the executive to formulate and implement structures that will ensure that each and every member of the organizations is well catered for.
Conflicts on the other hand, however, take the adversaries involved through emotional experiences that may tend to be unpleasant in the long run. A junior member may suppress their anger and angst against the management or even two managers from coeval departments who hate each other may jeopardize and penalize the overall success of the company especially their motivational levels. The organizational landscape is saturated with employees who do not get along with each other with most of the conflicts spilling out emotions of personal inadequacy, fear of failure, frustration as well as anger which may ruin or sidetrack other people’s careers. The stress incurred during the conflict process may make it hard for other people to concentrate on their work thereby disrupting their growth process and time being lost in the mitigation and suppression of irrelevant conflicts.
Productivity is also bound to be hindered in the process owing to the fact that the employees involved in the conflict may make poor decisions owing to the withholding of information from the different quarters. The irony is that the different conflicts in different levels of management and departments whereby the adversaries aim at winning their own battles will eventually cause major losses for them and the firm.
Identification of Conflicts
Conflicts are a common occurrence in life which means that they tend to develop some sort of pattern whereby the adversaries may decide to engage each other in an open conflict over a particular issue then they separate and accumulate forces before waging more war on each other. This is normally seen in precipitation activities like work assignments, scheduling and mostly organizational budgeting whereby others may feel that they have been undermined and others have been favored. The source of the conflict may also stem from a trivial issue whereby two people worked closely together and an event or circumstantial change set them off against each other.
Despite the different sources of conflict for each and every group of people, one thing that stands out is their pattern of interaction. The first identification variable is poor listening in which the adversaries do not care for what the other has to say. This is followed by power play for resources by most of the top management in a bid to ensure that they are better off than the other, then perceived putdowns and the use of comments that may be seen to be over controlling. These behaviors are known to set in place of reactions which will be just but a reciprocal and a continuation of the conflict cycle. Whenever the conflict is active and laid out into the open, the behavior involves the hardening of positions, repeated snipping, sulking as well as shouting by the employees. In the case that the conflict is seen to be suppressed, the signs can be said to be not so evident in that they may change their times of arrival or departures, avoid any direct exchanges, interact through the use of third parties and subordinates, delay decisions that may impact the other party’s progress as well as writing memos in a bid to ensure that there is no contact on a personal level.
Being able to detect such conflicts requires the implementation of great sensitivity skills in order to find schemas that will ensure that all sides are satisfied with the final decision from the mediator.
Negotiation strategies to be employed
Personally, owing to the different methods through which people present conflicting ideas and notions, I would employ the use of three negotiation approaches in controlling the conflict. The first schema would be the use of bargaining strategy in which I would try and negotiate between the managers in a bid to make them understand the impact of the conflict and how a win-lose situation would ensure that the success of the firm is not jeopardized. When the adversaries convene on the bargaining table in a management fashion that symbolizes unity, it means that they wish to consider and assess new ways through which they can compromise or resolve the ongoing conflict.
The second schema would be through the use of behavior control in which I will control and balance the power being exerted on one adversary by the other. This can happen through the prevention of interaction or the reduction of the frequency through which they interact; personal counseling for both parties; and the changing of external situational pressures. The final schema is the use of confrontational behavior for both parties involved whereby the management will try and confront the issue in a manner that aims at getting beyond the set differences or a manner which is both destructive and attacking the organizational cohesion. Constructive confrontation needs to start off with a number of well-communicated attempts that will ensure that both parties’ understand the other’s feelings and or perceptions. This process needs to involve a mediator who will create an exploratory climate which will balance the trusting feeling between both adversaries.
Assumptions have to be made however that there is a need for the management in all conflicts to understand the outcomes or consequences of a conflict, the perceptions held by each adversary as well as the behavior exhibited and how it may impact the productivity of the organization. Every conflict has to be handled in a manner whereby every party is well addressed and approached in order to ensure satisfaction on both ends.