Conflict Environment in Project

Conflict is an important element of the project environment.Project conflict arises out of mutual incompatibility in objectives, priorities, schedules, procedures, roles, values, interests or relationships. It is situational and varies from project to project, person to person, time to time and place to place. It varies in various phases of the project cycle.

Project conflict can be
  • Functional: It is issue-oriented, generally of technical and administrative nature. It can be beneficial to the project if focused on issues and creativity.
  • Personal: It is personality-oriented, resulting from animosities and deep-rooted personal feelings and attitudes. It is harmful to the project. It creates stress and spoils work climate.
Levels of Conflict
  1. Intra-individual: It occurs within the individual due to frustration, goal and role in incompatibility.
  2. Interpersonal: It occurs between two or more individuals due to competition for scare resources, goal and role disagreements and personality clashes.
  3.  Intergroup: It occurs between groups due to structure, goals or roles incompatibility. Groups can be formal or informal.
  4. Interproject: It occurs between projects due to competition or policy issues.
Causes of Project Conflicts
  1. Goal Differences: Differences in goals cause conflict. Individuals in the same group may have different goals. Project priorities and schedules also cause conflict.
  2. Unclear Relationships: Lack of clarity in authority responsibility relationships cause conflicts. Projects may lack clarity in Linear Responsibility Chart (LRC). Technical and administrative authorities may be unclear.
  3. Limited Resources: Competition for limited resources also cause conflict. They can be human, equipment, material, money, information etc.
  4. Structural Changes: Changes in project structure may cause conflict. Change and conflict go together. Changes in procedures also create conflicts.
  5. Schedule Changes: Project schedule changes also cause conflicts. For example, night shifts may be resented by employees. Unclear schedules also cause conflicts.
  6. Communication Breakdown: It is a major source of conflict in projects. Unfounded rumors cause conflict.
  7. Project Climate: Power struggle and in-fighting in the project also cause conflicts. So can sexual harassment and deprivation of rights.
  8. Personality Clashes: Differences in values, attitudes, interests and personalities cause conflict. Aggressive people in project invariably cause conflict. Remote control by functional managers also causes conflict.
  9. Expertise: Projects are characterized by diversity of expertise. Differences of technical opinions also create conflicts.

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