Models for Managing Organizational Change

Change is a necessary way of life in organization . Most organizations today are faced with tremendous forces for change stemming from different sources. A systematic and planned way of managing change successfully has become a primary responsibility of management, in this context, we have discussed different approaches that we would recommended for managing organizational change.

How to manage any change in organization is a difficult process. When organization makes any components, resistance from employee’s side comes up. To make the change successful, organization should manage it. There are different approaches to manage organizational change. On this matter, we consider the following models.

1. Kurt Lewin's Three Step Model

Kurt Lewin argued that successful change in organizations should follow three steps. They are:

a) Unfreezing the status quo

Unfreezing means the change efforts to overcome the pressure of both individual resistance and group conformity. The status quo can be considered as the equilibrium state. Any employees who achieve the high status stick to it. He does not want to move from it. So, if any change organization wants to implement then employee resists that change due to the status quo. So, to implement the change successfully, organization unfreezes the status quo of the employee. This can be done through following ways:
  • Driving forces. 
  • Restraining forces and
  • Combination of both forces.
The driving force is that force which directs the behaviors of the employee from the status quo.

The Restraining is that force which hinders the movements from the status quo, changing behavior of employee through increasing their pay, if they accept the change, by counseling employee individually and by making temporary employee into permanent. Through this status quo can be unfreeze and change can be successfully implemented.
Fig. Unfreezing the Status Quo

Likewise, unfreezing is to make individual aware that the present behavior is inappropriate, irrelevant and unsuitable for change. In other words, unfreezing is the process in which a person casts aside his old behavior which might be inappropriate, irrelevant or inadequate to the changing demands of the situation. This aspect of action is an important as the action relating to changing the target. Just as a farmer must clear a filed before planting new seeds, a manager helps his employees clear their minds of old roles and purposes. Lewin has suggested some measures which are quite helpful in undertaking unfreezing process. These are as follows: 
  • The physical removal of accustomed routines, sources of information and social relationships of the individuals being changed.
  • The undermining and destruction of social support.
  • Demeaning and humiliating responses to help individuals to see their old attitudes or behavior as unworthy and think to be motivated to change.
  • The consistent linking of reward with willingness to change and of punishment with unwilling to change.

b) Movement to a new status

Only unfreezing the status quo is not sufficient to manage the change. Now the employee who has changed their behavior from status quo should be moved to the new state to make the change stable. If they are not moved to the new state, they might freeze to the status quo. Thus, movement to the new state is another step to make the organizational change successful. 

This is the stage at which the individuals being changed learn new behavior – methods of working, new thinking, perception of new roles etc. There are a variety of ways through which all these can be in calculated. Lewin has provided guidelines for effective change which are as follows: 
  • Recognize that the primary purpose of change is to improve performance results.
  • Make individuals responsible for their own change.
  • Encourage improvisation, team performance and coordinated initiatives.
  • Ensure that people see how they fit into the larger organizational picture.
  • Encourage learning by doing and provide just-in-time training for performance. Use positive energy, meaningful language and courageous leadership drive change relentlessly.

c) Refreezing the new change

Refreezing means that what has been learnt is integrated into actual practice. At this stage,  individuals internalize the new beliefs, feelings and behaviors learned during the changing phase. They adopt these elements as a permanent part of their behavior repertoire. Often, there is a tendency that individuals revert back gradually to their old behaviors which they were displaying before the change, in the absence of suitable reinforcement. Therefore, reinforcement is necessary for the internalization of new behavior. Once the employee is moved to the new state, they should be retained in the new status, otherwise they may come back to the previous state and change may not be successful. 

Thus, to retain them in the new state is very much essential to make change successful. To retain / refreeze in the new state, temporary force should be systematically replaced with permanent ones. This builds up confidence in employee towards organization and will be socialized in the new environment. In this way, the change can be made successful in the organization.
2. Lippit, Watson and Westley’s Model

These three experts provides three factors which should be taken into account while introducing change viz, internal distribution of power; internal mobilization of energy; and external communication. Regarding interaction between internal system and external environment, they suggested correspondence between external and internal reality, goals and values for action and skills and strategy for action. 

3. Dalton's Model

This model of OC (Organizational Change) focuses four major phases and four specific sub-processes of learning. It highlights that the learning process for managers is highly complex. The process of learning incorporates establishment of new objectives, break of prior social ties, initial threat to self-esteem, increased self-confidence etc. To implement the change process properly, there should be proper distribution of power among managers. 

4. Black, Mouton, Barnes and Grienier’s Model

This model of OC (Organizational Change) is based on managerial styles. It tries to change the organization to work under team management (i.e. 9 x 9 style = high concern for both people and task). 

5. Argyris’ Model

The focus of this model is towards diagnosis of needs, attitudes and feelings of the staff. The methods used for purpose of measuring above variables are interviews, design of survey and questionnaires. The data so collected are organized and discussed at a seminar. Then the training programs are organized for concerned staff after that revaluations of needs are done. Here, attempts are made to suggest some structured innovations which were implemented.

6. Kotter's Eight-Step Model 

Kotter, in his study, listed some common mistakes managers make when trying to initiate change. According to him, managers may fail to create a sense of urgency about the need for change, to create a coalition for managing the change process, to have vision for change and effectively communicate it, to remove obstacles that could impede the vision's achievement, to provide short term and achievable goals and to anchor the changes into the organization's culture.

For the purpose of effective organizational change, Kotter presented following eight-steps: 
a) Establish a sense of urgency by creating a compelling reasons for why change is needed. 
b) From a coalition with enough power to lead the change.
c) Create a new vision to direct the change and strategies for achieving the vision.
d) Communicate the vision throughout the organization.
e) Empower others to act on the vision by removing barriers to change and encouraging risk taking and creative problems solving. 
f) Plan for, create and reward short-term "wins" that move the organization toward the new vision.
g) Consolidate improvements, reassess changes and make necessary adjustments in the new programs. 
h) Reinforce the change by demonstrating the relationship between new behaviors and organizational success. 

7. Action Research 

Action research is another approach that is used to manage organizational change. It is a change process based on systematic collection of data and then selection of change action based on what the analyzed data indicator. For the purpose of managing change in organizations, following steps are discussed under action research. 

a) Diagnosis 

Diagnosis is analogous to the physician's search to find specifically what ails a patient. In action research, the change agent asks questions, reviews records and interviews employees and listens to their concerns. 

b) Analysis 

Diagnosis is followed by analysis. What problems do people find? What patterns do these problems seem to take? The change agent synthesizes this information into primary concerns, problem areas and possible action. 

c) Feedback 

The third step, feedback requires sharing with employees what has been found from the first and second steps. The employees, with the help of the change agent, develop action plans for bringing about any needed change. 

d) Action 

Now the action part of action research is set in motion. The employees and the change agent carry out the specific actions they have identified to correct the problems. 

e) Evaluation 

The final step consistent with the scientific underpinnings of action research is evaluation of the action plan's effectiveness, using the initial data gathered as a benchmark. 

Organizational Development is another approach that is used to make organizational change. It is a collection of planned change interventions, built on humanistic-democratic values, that seeks to improve organizational effectiveness and employee well-being. For the purpose of managing organizational change, OD has introduced following techniques. 

a) Sensitivity Training

Sensitivity training is used to the training groups that seek to change behavior through unstructured group interaction. 

b) Survey Feedback

Survey feedback is the use of questionnaires to identify discrepancies among member perceptions; follow discussion and suggest remedies.

c) Process Consultation 

Process consultation is a meeting in which a consultant assists a client in understanding process events with which he or she must deal and identifying processes that need improvement.

d) Team Building

Team building is a high interaction among team members to increase trust and openness for organizational change. 

e) Inter-group Development 

Inter-group development in OD efforts to change the attitudes, stereotypes and perceptions of each group. 

f) Appreciative Inquiry 

Appreciative inquiry is an approach that seeks to identify the unique qualities and special strengths of an organization, which can then be build on to improve performance.

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Meaning of Organizational Development

Organizational development is a long-range effort to improve an organization’s problem-solving and renewal processes, particularly through a more effective and collaborative management of organizational culture with special emphasis on the culture of formal work teams with the assistance of a change agent, or catalyst and the use of the theory and technology of applied behavior science, including action research. In other words, organizational development (OD) is a planned process of change in a organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research and theory. Hence, OD is the systematic application of behavioral science knowledge at various levels such as group, inter-group, organization etc. to bring about planned change. 

Business organizations seek growth and enhancement. Organizations Development briefly called OD, is the most significant, innovative and integrated process of achieving operational efficiency and effectiveness in organizations. OD is a planned and calculated attempt to change the organization, typically to more behavioral environment. It places high priority on humanistic values and goals. It is a way of looking the whole human side of organizational life. Organizational Development (OD) has been widely used in recent years as an approach to introduction to planned change in organization. Organizational development is a planned effort initiated by process specialist to help an organization develop its diagnostic skills, coping capabilities, linkage strategies.

There are several definitions given by different experts about the organizational development which are as follows:

"OD is a planned, managed, systematic process to change the culture, systems and behavior of an organization in order to improve organization's effectiveness in solving its problems and achieving its objectives." – Harold Rush 

"Complex education strategy intended to change the beliefs attitudes, values and structure of organizations, so that they can better adapt to new technologies, markets and challenges." – Warren Bennis 

"OD is a planned process designed to improve organizational effectiveness and health through modifications in individual and group behavior, culture and systems of the organization using knowledge and technology of applied behavioral science." – Dale S. Beach 

"Organizations Development is a long range effort to increase an organization's problem solving and renewal capabilities though an improvement of its culture with the assistance of an outside expert in behavioral sciences, called a change agent." – French and Bell 

"Organizations development is a planned process of change in an organization's culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research and theory." – W. Warner – Weley 

From the above definitions, organizational development is a wide planned organizational process to improve organizational effectiveness and help to cope with environmental changes by using knowledge and techniques of behavioral science.

The silent characteristics of OD are categorized into five steps. 

First, OD is a systematic approach to planned change. It is a structured cycle of diagnosing organizational problems and opportunities and then applying expertise to them.

Second, OD is grounded in solid research and theory. It involves the application of our knowledge of behavioral science to the challenges that the organization face.

Third, OD recognized the reciprocal relationship between individuals and organizations. It acknowledges that for organizations to change, individuals must change.

Fourth, OD is goal oriented. It is a process that seeks to improve both individual and organizational well being and effectiveness.

Fifth, OD is designed to solve problems. 

Features of Organizational Development 

Features of organizations development program are as follows: 
  • It is problem oriented. OD attempts to apply theory and research from a number of disciplines, including behavioral science, from the solution of organizations problems.
  • It involves change agents. The process requires the facilitative role of a change agent to assist the organizations in redirecting its functioning.
  • It involves learning principles. OD's basic feature is reliance on re-education to bring about change. Re-education involves applying fundamental learning principles.
  • It is action oriented. OD focuses on accomplishment and results unlike approaches to change that tend to describe how organizational change takes place. OD's emphasis is on getting things done.
  • It is planned and long term. OD is data based approach to change that involves all of the implementation, monitoring and taking corrective action, when necessary. For significance of the anticipated and desired change, quick results are not expected; the entire process can take several years.
  • It reflects a systems approach. OD is both systematic and systemic. It is a way of more clearly linking the human resources and potential of an organization to its technology, structure and management processes.


Approaches of OD The approaches of organizational development (OD) are: 

1. Individual Intervention

The objectives of this type so organizational development is to increase the ability and motivation of individual employees. This type of development include:
  • Counseling and coaching: In the case of counseling the problems of the employees are discussed to do better in future. In case of coaching leader guides and directs the follower but not actually perform. Therefore, in both case consultation is given. So it the reason the employees know the alternative way of doing the job. 
  • Sensitivity training: Sensitivity training also known as T-groups (for training groups) or laboratory training or encounter groups is a methods by small face-to-face interaction experiences are used to give people insight into themselves. The concept of sensitivity training has evolved from the group dynamics concept of Kurt Lewin. The main objective of sensitivity training is to help individuals understand how they communicate, how their behavior affects others and how they are perceived by others.
  • Survey feedback: In this method, the result of survey are discussed. The survey is taken for department or whole organization.
The major advantages of individual intervention approach are:
  • The outcome of such training is to help employees understand others better, become aware of their own feeling and perceptions and improve communication. 
  • It provides more supportive behavior, more open and self understanding, improved communications, increased belongingness to the group, conflict reduction etc.
  • Mangers have to take extra care of subordinates. It increases their time as well as orgnization’s expenses. 
  • There is a chance of low productivity from employees side.

2. Process Intervention

It helps in increasing the interaction skills. Therefore, includes the following techniques.
a) Team buildings: First of all, team is built to discuss the problems. Team building starts from setting the objectives. Then, the performance of the team is evaluated. Then the role of the member is cleared. Ultimately the process is analyzed. And it increases the team effectiveness.

b) Process consolation: In this process, the outside consultant assist the team to perceive and understand the team effectiveness. So that consultant and the team can observe the process, which has to be improved.

c) Inter-group development: It helps in changing the perception and stereotype in the group. The main process of inter-group development can be used as the decision-making. The decision-making process and participation can improve the feeling of inter-group with warm relation.

  • It deals with significant interpersonal problems prevailing in today’s organization. 
  • It helps the organizations and employees help themselves.
  • It lays less stress on participant’s involvement. 
  • It is a long-term process, involving considerable commitment and cost.

Causes and Reasons of Origin of Organizations Development 

Following causes have led to the program of organization development. 

1. Desire for more Experimental Learning Processes 

The reason of organizational development is the desire for more experimental learning processes in employee training. As soon as they experience the problems relating to human behavior, they discuss and analyze them with their superiors or colleagues and learn something from this experience. This type of behavioral approach is much better than the traditional approaches of lectures and discussions. 

2. Fast Speed of Change

OD needs organizations to be much effective so that it may survive and prosper. The organizations development attempts to develop the culture of the whole organizations so that it may respond to change more uniformly and capably. It improves the problem solving ability by improving group dynamics or cohesive force.

3. Reward Structure on the Job

The main cause of OD is the fact that reward structure on the job did not adequately reinforce training; hence training momentum into the transition from a classroom to a work situation is excessively lost. The environment in the organizations does not support the training and therefore many well designed training and development programs fail. So, it is better to change entire organizations so that it will support the training that is provided.

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OD Interventions and Techniques to Managing Change (Organization Development)

An OD intervention is defined as, "the set of structured activities in which selected organizational units (target groups or individuals) engage with the task or a sequence of task where the task goals are related directly or indirectly to organizational improvements."

OD intervention is different from traditional intervention which focuses on content. OD intervention covers the whole organizational process. OD intervention focuses on work team and intends to change towards effective behavior. It relies on collaborative management of work culture. OD interventions may differ at individual, group and organizational level.
Types of OD Interventions/ Techniques of Organizational Development / Techniques to Managing Change

1. Career Planning and Development

Career planning and development is an OD technique for systematic career development. This technique is used to enhance and improve the skills, abilities and knowledge in a planned manner so that every employee may grow and develop his career.

2. Management by Objectives (MBO)
Techniques to Managing Change

MBO emphasizes participation of individuals in setting goals. It is a systematic and organized approach that allows management to attain maximum results from available resources by focusing on achievable goals. It is a rational approach to management and helps prevent, management by crisis, fire fighting methods. The emphasis on joint goal setting and self control not only promotes individual development but also improves organizational effectiveness in the long run.

3. Process Consultation

Process consultation is a technique designed to help organizational members better perceive, understand and act on the process in a group / organization. In this technique, OD consultant makes an observation on group process or activities such as communication, decision-making etc. and provides feedback to the group. The aim of such feedback is to give the organization members some insight what is going around them in the group process.

4. Team Building

The focus of team building is the development of effective management teams. These work groups focus on solving actual problems in building effective management teams. The team leader defines a problem that demands organizational change. The group analyses the problem and traces out the causes of the problem. The problem arising from communication, leadership styles, organization structure etc. are highlighted here. The next step involved proposing alternative solutions and then selecting the most suitable one. Through the process, the participants are likely to be committed to the solution, interpersonal support and trust develops.

Team building is the process of developing integrated and cooperative groups. This designed is to improve effectiveness within the work groups through better management of patterns of interaction of group members. Therefore, it focuses on solving task related problems.

5. Sensitivity Training / Psycho Therapy or T Group Training

The general goal of sensitivity training is to develop awareness of and sensitivity to oneself and others. The training generally takes place under laboratory conditions. As small number of participants (12-15) sit together along with a trainer who (usually behavioral scientist) helps the participants in having an open and authentic communication with each other. The individual participant is made aware of his own behavior, how other perceives his behavior etc.

Sensitivity training is a form of training which helps the people to understand themselves better and create better understanding about others. In other words, it is a form of training in which trainees are encouraged to become sensitive to their own and to group members attitudes and beliefs.

6. Managerial Grid

Grid training developed by Black and Mouton, emphasizes the fact that most effective leadership style is that which stresses maximum concern for both production and people. It is a systematic approach for analyzing management styles and helps the organization in moving to the best cycle.

The managerial grid technique helps managers develop a leadership style i.e. both people and production-oriented. This style is useful in developing productive and cooperative groups in the organization. Thus, management grid technique suggests an ideal style of leadership under which organization can be developed in the most effective manner.

7. Job Redesign

Any technique that alters the tasks, responsibilities, relationships, or the environment of a job can be called a job redesign technique. Usually the following two techniques are used for job redesign.
  • Job Enrichment
  • Job Enlargement

Job enrichment refers to basic changes in the content and level of responsibility of a job so as to provide for satisfaction of the motivation needs (achievements, recognition, responsibility, personal growth) of personnel. Jobs are made more challenging, meaningful and interesting. When applied initially, job enrichment programmes have increased employee productivity and job satisfaction and reduced the employee turnover and absenteeism.

8. Organization Design

Organization design could be used as a technique of OD. Any change in organizational authority and reporting relationships, creation of project or matrix organization structures, delegation and decentralization of authority and so on can be useful for organizational development.

Besides these, there are other intervention strategies also like participants management process consultation, etc. OD is most successful when there is a deep commitment on the part of top management. Further OD should be viewed as a long term. Continuing programme rather than a short terms ‘short in the arm’ for the organizational unit.

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Pre-requisites of OD (Organizational Behavior)

Organizational development does not emerge itself. There are some conditions, which must be accomplished as pre-requisites to OD are mentioned below:
  1. There should be the explicit commitment of the top management to change and improve the organization, denote its time and resources to this long term effort, take the risk and experiment, with new methods of handling the problems, be keen to assess its own behaviors and attitudes for personal development purpose, and be able to tolerate confusing results which may occur at the initial stages of the OD programme. Usually, we find that top executives suffer from the misconception that all is fine with them and it is lower level personnel who are to be trained and improved. This attitude towards subordinates hampers an effective OD programme. 
  2. The existence of strong and competent internal change facilitators and resourceful individuals, who can perform the role of internal change agents, provides momentum to the OD work.
  3. Successful experience with the earlier efforts in some parts of the organization provides momentum to further efforts and thus, forms a significant prerequisite, to the effective performance of an organizational development programme.
  4. The involvement of capable and experimented external consultants, especially during the earlier stages of OD work, provides the objectivity and variety of skills, which may make the programme highly effective. However, it is necessary that the consultant develop the internal change facilitators and the problem solving ability of the organization instead of making the organization dependent upon himself.
  5. The presence of some influential managers, who act as like link pins between crucial groups and are willing to introduce change and experiment with new methods of work, forms another prerequisite to a successful OD programme.
  6. The internationalization of concern for renewal, re-education, constant assessment of the organizational health and corporate excellence forms a very crucial prerequisite to effective OD effort.
  7. There is the prerequisite in the form of built-in reward systems. Attempts should be made to build the reward systems for the effective performance of results.

Organizational Development: Objectives, Roles and Values of Organization Development

Organizational development (OD) is the most significant, innovative, integrated process of achieving operational efficiency and effectiveness in organization. According to Bennis a pioneer in the field of OD is a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change, the beliefs, attitudes, values, structure of organizations so that they can better adopt to new technologies, market and challenges and decrying rate of change, itself. It is essentially a long-range effort to improve an organization's problem solving abilities and its ability to cope with change (i.e. internal as well as external). OD is a planned and calculated attempt to change the organization, typically to a more behavioral environment. It places high priority on humanistic values and goals. It is a way of looking at the whole human side of organization life.

Objectives and Goals of Organizational Development

A typical OD programme has the following objectives and goals.
  1. To increase the level of interpersonal trust among employees.
  2. To increase employee's level of satisfaction and commitment.
  3. To increase openness of communications.
  4. To confront problems instead of sweeping them under the rug?
  5. To effectively manage conflict.
  6. To increase co-operative and collaboration among employee.
  7. To improve the organization's problem solving and self-renewal capabilities.
1. Increase the levels of interpersonal trust among employees

The main objective of OD effort is the improvement in internal potentialities. OD with its strategy brings out that potentialities and use it to gain competitive advantages. This benefits both the organization and employee.

2. Development of more effective team management

Teamwork is more effective than individual work. Complex task becomes simple with team spirit. A self-managed team increases the effectiveness of the organization. Thus, OD puts its effort for the development of effective team management.

3. To effectively managed conflict

OD helps in the development of better method of conflict resolution instead of usual bureaucratic methods. It adopts the techniques like face-to-face communication, participation methods to handle the conflict.

4. To increase co-operation and collaboration among employees

All the OD techniques are built on humanistic democratic values. It value human more. It does not equalize human with machinery component it treats employee as the living resources.

5. Openness of communications

Miss-communication is the source of conflict. Close communication is the barriers for development. To remove conflict and to support idea exchange, innovation and creation, required OD welcomes the open communication pattern. Open communication facilities the flow of idea and information is in the organization that is fruitful for OD.

Role of Organizations Development

Organizations development is a long term strategy for organizations. Organizational change plays the following roles in organizations development. 

  • Increased personal and organizational awareness that improves the organization's ability to adapt to a continuously changing environment and continue to grow, learn and stay competitive.
  • An effort to develop a work climate that encourages creativity and openness provides opportunities for personal growth and development, rewards and healthy behavior.
  • The ability to attract and keep healthy and productive employee.
  • A significant decrease in dysfunctional behavior.
  • Improvement in communication, problem solving, conflict resolution skills, resulting in increased effectiveness and less wasted time from communication breakdown, game playing and win-lose confrontation.
  • Improved organizational effectiveness (increased productivity and more; more effective goal setting, planning and organizing, clear goals and responsibility, better utilization of human resources; and bottom line improvement)
  •  A better understanding of an organization and its strength and weakness.
  • Greater commitment and involvement of organizational members in making the organizations successful.
  • Better management from top to bottom.
  • Improved team work within and between groups.

Problems/ Limitations of Organizations Development 

Besides the positive role played by organizations development, OD program has following limitations: 

  • Organizational development fails to motivate people with low level of achievement needs. If an organization is loaded with only this type of people, it is useless to try organizations development.
  • Organizational development program are often quite costly and only large organizations can afford this luxury without any guarantee of positive outcome.
  • Organizations development makes people unfit for the real organizational world because no organizations can fully adopt open system concept.
  • There is discrepancy between ideal and real situation. Organizational development tries to achieve ideal result without taking into account of real situation.
  • Resistance to change is a natural phenomenon and organizational development puts undue pressure to change. Hence, it fails even it is a long term strategy. 

Organizational Development (OD) Values 

The OD paradigm values human and organizational growth, collaborative and participative processes, and spirit of inquiry. The change agent may be directive in OD; however, there is a strong emphasis on collaboration. Concepts such as power, authority, control, conflict and coercion are held in relatively low esteem among OD change agents. The following are the underlying values in most OD efforts.
organization development values

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Conflict: Meaning and Concept of Conflict

Conflict has been defined from several stand points in literature. In one approach, it has been related with tension and defined as expression of hostility, negative attitude, antagonism, misunderstanding, aggression, rivalry, stereotypes, etc. In political science and economics, it has been associated with situations, bodying contradictory or irreconcilable interest between two opposing groups. Conflict is also considered a special kind of competition and as a break down, delay and difficulty in the decision making process. In general, conflict has been defined as a process in which an individual purposefully makes a concerted effort to offset the efforts of another individual by some form of blockage that causes frustration to the better in accomplishing his goals or furtherance of his interests. 

Conflict is a difficult and controversial topic. Conflict has been defined from several stand points in literature. Conflicts are experienced every day by both individual and groups. Conflict is the perception and feelings by one party, individual, or group that the 'other' party is hindering the first party from achieving a goal. Conflict can be between two or more individuals (interpersonal), between teams or groups (inter-groups), or between organizations (inter-organizational). In all these conflicts the some process is involved: one party wants to achieve a goal and other party is seen as hindering the first from achieving that goal. Stress has also been laid on conflicts between the leaders and the led, and between formal and informal leaders involving situations in which formal leadership is not accepted and tension and aggression are generated. 

In most cultures, it has negative connotations because it runs counter to the notion that we should get along with people by being kind and friendly. Although many people intellectually understand the value of conflict, they feel uncomfortable when confronted by it. Their discomfort may result from a lack of understanding of the conflict process as well as form a lack of training on how to handle interpersonal confrontations effectively (Whetten & Cameron: 2011). A conflict over issues is not likely within top-management teams but also valuable. Such conflict provides executives with a more inclusive range of information, a deeper understanding of the issues and a richer set of possible solutions. 

There are following definitions given by various experts: 
"Conflict is a process in which an effort is purposefully made by one person or unit to block another that results in frustrating the attainment of the other's goals or the furthering of his interests." – Stephen P. Robbins 

"Conflict is any situation in which two or more parties feel themselves in opposition. It is an interpersonal process that arises from disagreements over the goals or the methods to accomplish those goals." – John W. Newstorm and Keith Davis 

"Conflict has been defined as the condition of objective incompatibility between values and goals: as the behavior of deliberately interfering with another's goal achievement; and as emotionally in terms of hostility. Descriptive theorists have explained conflict behavior in terms of objective conflict of interest, personal style reactions to threats and cognitive distortions." – Ralph H. Kilman and Kenneth W. Thomas 

From the above definitions, conflict is a disagreement about the allocation of scarce resources or clashes regarding goals, values and so on, can occur on the interpersonal and organizational level. In other words, conflict has been defined as a process in which an individual purposely makes an effort to offset the efforts of another individual by some form of blockage that causes frustration to the latter in accomplishing his goals or furthering of his interests. Similarly, following points can be taken to understand the concept of conflict: 

  • Conflict is a dynamic process as it indicates a series of events: each conflict is made up of series of interlocking conflict episode.
  • Conflict arises because of incompatibility of two or more aspects of an element; it may be goals, interests, methods of working, or any other feature.
  • Conflict must be perceive and expressed by the parties to it if no one is aware of a conflict. It is generally agreed that conflict does not exist in events though there may be incompatibility in some respect.
  • Conflict occurs when an individual is not able to choose among the available course of action.

Positive Outcomes of Conflict 

More often conflict leads to certain positive outcomes. A few of them are: 
  • It provides an individual a chance to think again, undertake self introspection and have a second look at the existing things, by the procedures, policies, equipment, behaviors etc. 
  • It leads to innovation and at times, to new direction. It is therefore, even necessary for organization survival and growth. 
  • It helps to seek classification and generate search behavior. 
  • At times, it is also used as a means to certain ends and to create confusion or set subordinates against each other in order to maintain the interested party's own position. It may not be a positive outcome in the strict sense of the term from the organizational point of view, but it is certainly a management strategy toward the problems temporarily. It may be viewed as an unavoidable cost of the pursuit of one's aspirations. 
  • When conflict is developed, attention is immediately drawn to the malfunctioning parts of a system. It is an indication that the situation calls for improvement. Conflict is, therefore, an essential portion of a cyber-native system. 
  • Long standing problems which continue to agitate people's minds surface. They are able to release their tensions and unburden themselves. They display creativity in identifying solutions and problems are dealt with. 
  • It energies people, leads to mild stimulation and one is at one's best in times of crisis. It helps them test their capacities. 
  • It serves as a cementing force in a group and incredible unity is witnessed even in a heterogeneous group in times of tension. 
  • For some, it is exhilarating, provides endless challenge and meaning to their lines. 

Negative Side of Conflict 

Many times conflicts may be detrimental and disastrous. A few of such circumstances in which it can be termed as harmful and undesirable are as discussed below: 
  • When conflict does not lead to solution of a problem, it is unproductive and investment of time and effort goes waste. 
  • It is undesirable if it creates a climate of distrust and suspicious among people, if some people feel defeated and if it develops antagonism instead of a spirit of cooperation. 
  • It is seriously harmful if it distracts attention from basic organizational objectives and makes people work for their defeat. 
  • As a consequence of conflict, there may be fight of personnel from the organization. 
  • When management loses objectivity and treats disagreement as equivalent to disloyalty and rebellion, an opportunity for creativity should be deemed to have been lost. It may even pour oil over troubled water, exploit difference to strengthen itself and weaken other, and accept resolution capable of different interpretations. 
  • In an attempt to find a solution, management may gloss over serious differences and suppress certain feelings which may accept at inappropriate moments and hit safe targets. 
  • In the event of a conflict, there may be intensification of internalization of sub unit goals which may result in the neglects of overall organizational goals.

Concept of Transactional Analysis

When people interact in assertive or non-assertive ways, there is a social transaction in which one person responds to another. The study of these social analyses was developed by Eric Berne for psychotherapy in 1950s. The objective of transactional analysis is to provide better understanding of how people relate to each other, so that they may develop improved communication and human relationships. The basic tenet of transactional analysis is that each one of us operates from three ego states and there are compatible and incompatible messages that we send to each other from time to time. By analyzing the messages, we will be able to engage in more fruitful and effective pattern. 

Types of Transactions 
1. Complementary Transactions: Transactions are complementary when the ego stages of the sender and the receiver in the opening transaction are simply reversed in the response. When the pattern between ego states is charted, the lines are parallel. Following figure shows the relationship. 
Complementary TransactionS = Stimulus
R= Response
The above figure shows that the supervisor speaks to and employee as parent to child and the employee respond as child to parent. 
It is superior initiates in a parent to child pattern, the employees tend to respond from a child state. Unfortunately, a superior subordinate relationship tends to lead to parent child transaction, especially when instruction given or appraisals are conducted. If the superior's behavior is dominated by this pattern, it may lead to reduced interpersonal and group effectiveness. 

2. Non- complementary or crossed transaction: Occur when the stimulus and response line are not parallel i.e. in this, the supervisor tries to deal with the employee on and adult to adult basis, but the employee responds on a child to parent basis. The important point is that when the crossed transaction occurs, communication tends to be blocked and a satisfactory transaction is not accomplished. Conflict often follows soon afterwards. In general, the transaction that is likely to be most effective at work is that of adult to adult. This kind of transaction encourages problem solving, treats people at reasonably equals and reduces the probability of emotional conflicts between people.
Non-Complementary Transaction
S= Stimulus
R= Response

Nature and Sources of Conflicts

Conflict can arise from a variety of sources. They can be classified into two broad categories: Structural factors, which stem from the nature of the organization and the way in which work is organized and Personal factors, which arise from differences among individuals. The causes/ sources of conflict can be summarized with two categories.

1. Structural Factors
  • Specialization: When jobs are highly specialized, employees become experts at certain tasks. For example in case of a software company, while there is one specialist for databases, another for statistical packages, and yet another for expert systems. As the highly specialized people have little awareness of the tasks that others perform, such a case leads to conflict among the specialists. 
  • Interdependence: Interdependence occurs when two or more groups depend on each other to accomplish their tasks. Depending on other people to work done is good when the process works smoothly. However, when problem arise, it becomes easy to blame other party, and as such, conflict escalates. The potential of conflict increases as the degree of interdependence increases. 
  • Goal Differences: Sometimes different work groups having different goals have incompatible goals. For example, in a cable television company, the sales person's goal was to sell as many new installations as possible. This created problem for the service department, because its goal was timely installations.
  • Jurisdictional Ambiguities: It refers to the presence of unclear lines of responsibility within an organization. Recall, we have contacted our own college administration for some problem and we have been asked to go to different people and departments? This happens because of the jurisdictional ambiguities among the departments. 
2. Personal Factors
  • Skills and Abilities: Work force in an organization/ department is composed of people with varying levels of skills and abilities. Such diversity in skills and abilities leads to conflict, especially when jobs are interdependent. Workers may find it difficult to work with a new boss, fresh from University knowing a lot about managing people but unfamiliar with the technology they are working. 
  • Personalities: Personality also causes individual differences. It is differences in personality that neither the manager likes all of his co-managers and subordinates nor all of them like the manager. This creates conflict among them. Research studies report that usually an abrasive personality is rejected by others. An abrasive person is one who ignores the interpersonal aspects of work and feelings of colleagues. 
  • Perception: Like personality, differences in perceptions can also lead to conflict. One are in which perceptions can, for example, differ may be the perception of what motivates employees. Managers, for example, usually provide what they think employees want rather than what employees really want.
  • Values and Ethics: People also hold different beliefs and adhere to different value system. Older workers, for example, value company loyalty and probably would not take a sick day when they were not really sick/ ill. But, the younger workers, valuing mobility, may be taken a sick day to get away from work. 
  • Emotion: The moods of the people can also be a source of conflict in the work place. Problems of home often spill over into the work arena, and the related moods can be hard for others to deal with.
  • Communication barriers: Communication barriers such as physical separation and language can create distortions in messages, and these, in turn, can lead to conflict. Value judgment also sometimes serves as barrier.

Nature or Characteristics of Conflicts

Conflict is a disagreement among two or more individuals, groups, or organizations. This disagreement may be relatively superficial or very strong. The nature or characteristics of organizational conflict are as follows: 

  • Conflict arises out of two perceptions. If 'X' perceives his goals to be incompatible with those of 'Y' and 'X' has no opportunity to frustrate the goal attainment of 'Y', there is no conflict.
  • Conflict can either exist at the latent or overt level, but generally speaking, conflict is a term that is limited to overt acts.
  • Conflict refers to deliberate behavior. 'X' deliberately tries to prevent 'Y' from attaining his (X's) goals. If interference is accidental, there is no conflict.
  • Conflict occurs when two or more parties pursue mutually exclusive goals, values or events. It is based on the assumption that there are two or more parties whose interests or goals appear to be incompatible. 
  • Conflict is different from competition. In conflict, one side sees an opportunity to interfere with the other's opportunity to acquire resource or perform activities. In competition, both sides try to win, but neither side actively interferes with the other.

Suggestion for Effective Management of Conflict

From the previous technique, what picture can be drawn out is that conflicts are solved by the groups. Manager has to play key role on managing every conflict. It conflict goes out of his/her hand, it brings many negative consequences in the attainment of the goal. So the rational manager's duty is first identify the sources of conflict, diagnosis it and use different technique depending upon the nature and size of conflict to manage it.

Among different approaches of conflict management, I think avoiding approach is the most effective for managing conflict.

Avoiding: Avoiding is a style low on both assertiveness and cooperativeness. Avoiding is a deliberate decision to sidestep a conflict issue, postpone addressing it till later or withdraw from a conflicting situation. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to avoid a conflict. For example, when parties are much angry and need time to cool down, it may be best to use avoidance. Avoiding conflict can be very functional when the issue involved in the conflict is trivial. However, research shows that overuse of this style results in negative evaluations from others in the workplace. Here is an example of the avoiding style of conflict management in use.

The head of a large MNC stayed regularity in a posh five star hotel in Kathmandu. On one such trip, he forgot to remove the "Do Not Disturb" sign from his door when he left for work in the morning. He came back late at night to find his room as he had left it: the sheets unchanged, the breakfast tray still there, and the room unswept. The sign on the door was intact.

His reaction: He charged down to the reception, sign in hand, and proceeded to scream the hotel down. When the receptionist said that they were merely following his instructions, he got even more agitated, saying that he could have died in his room, and nobody would have disturbed him.

The situation was rapidly spiraling of control, when the hotel's General Manager stepped in. within minutes, he has pacified the charged executive apologizing profusely instead of arguing with him. He then put him in a better room till his room was made up, and sent him dinner. Suitably mollified, the guest was soon tucking into his food all anger forgotten, and the staff heaved a sigh of relief.