Conflict Management

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.

Approaches to Conflict Management
Conflict arises from different sources. It is inevitable to avoid conflict in organizational setting. So with appropriate technique, conflict should be managed. There are different approaches to manage conflict. But in management literature, the highly adopted approaches are as follows:
  1. Dominance: This is the easiest technique to manage conflict. In this technique, manager will eliminate the conflicting parties. By dismissing the conflicting parties the conflict can be managed. But this is a short-term solution not a long term.
  2. Avoidance: Conflict can be managed by avoiding it. In this technique one party avoids the conflict and let the conflicting parties to win. Moreover, redefining the goals and not making over-lapping of goals can also manage conflict.
  3. Smoothing: In this technique, the differences between two parties are disguised while similarities are highlighted. This make the other party feel that they are not much a part from each other. This shared viewpoint enhances the possibility of working together for common goals. However smoothing, it is a temporary solution only.
  4. Compromise: In this technique, the conflicting parties' compromise with each other on certain points and conflict is resolved. The party provides something else to other parties in exchange for the desired outcomes. But this is also a temporary solution. If the desired outcome is not achieved, conflict again arises.
  5. Hierarchical decision-making: In this technique, a common superior can be requested to use his authority to resolve conflict through a proper decision. However, it is very widely accepted technique but it loses its goodness when the authority figure fails to understand the issue properly and the subordinates do not respect them.
  6. System restructuring: Sometime, by restructuring system, conflict can be managed in the organization, system restructuring technique involves the clarifying demands and segregating roles in different position, and people can resolve role conflict.
  7. Problem solving: In this technique, problem is solved through face-to-face confrontation and tries to accomplish the common interest of the parties in conflict. In this technique, area of common interest is identified and information's views are shared and effort is made to achieve mutual common interest. However this technique is effective to remove misunderstanding among the parties but it is time consuming technique.
  8. Bargaining: In this technique, parties in conflict bargain each other to solve the conflict. Here the use of bargaining power is highly used.

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