Archive for Types of Organizational Conflict

THE PROCESS OF CONFLICT

Life is a never ending process of one conflict after another. Remember the time when you were a small child and had to choose between a tricycle and a cricket set or say, a set of dolls and new frock for a birthday present. That was probably your first exposure to a conflict situation. Of course, this is a simplistic example of a conflict, but has life been the same since? Probably not. Think back and recall how each succeeding conflict in your life over the years has been increasingly complex.

 

You have just observed that beginning within an individual, conflict ca be found on several levels. The nature of intrapersonal conflict is of very high significance and the knowledge of mechanisms available to resolve it is immensely important in improving personal effectiveness. In this Unit, however, our focus will be on interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup conflicts as these types directly influence effectiveness of an organization.

 

For a conflict to exist it must be perceived by the parties to it. If no one is aware of a conflict then it is generally agreed that no conflict exists. Still, does a mere awareness of opposing goals, or differences of option, or antagonistic feelings imply that there is a conflict? It would be easier for you to understand conflict, if you view it as a dynamic process which includes antecedent conditions, cognitive states, affective states and conflicting behavior.

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Conflicts between an Individual and a Group

As a apart of our talk on organization we are talking on different types of conflict which occurs in any organizations frequently. Today we are going to talk on one important factor and which is a part of organizational conflict and that is a conflict between an individual and a group.

 

These types of intragroup conflicts arise frequently due to an individual’s inability to conform to the group norms. For example, most groups have an idea of a “fair day’s work” and may pressurize an individual if he exceeds or falls short of the group’s productivity norms. If the individual resents any such pressure or punishment, he could come into conflict with other group members.

 

Usually, it is very difficult for an individual to remain a group-member an at the same time, substantially deviate from the group norm. So, in most cases, either he conforms to the group norm or quits (or is rejected by) the group. Of course, before taking any such extreme step, he or the other group members try to influence each other through several mechanisms leading to different episodes of conflicts (much to the delight of the researchers in this field called Group Dynamics).

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Types of Conflict-2

Conflict between Individuals

Conflict can also take an interpersonal form. Conflict between individuals takes place owing to several factors, but most common are personal dislikes or personality differences. When there are only differences of opinion between individuals about task-related matters, it can be construed as technical conflict rather than interpersonal conflict. Of course, technical and interpersonal conflicts may influence each other due to role-related pressures. For a blinds store, the sales manager may put the blame for low sales volume on the production manager for not giving on time production of roller shades and woven wood shades. Because of that they were not able to meet the schedule task for sales. This may start disliking the production manger as an incompetent person. It is often very difficult to establish whether a conflict between two parties is due to manifest rational factors, or it emanates from hidden personal factors.

 

Conflicts between an Individual and a Group 

These types of intragroup conflicts arise frequently due to an individual’s inability to conform to the group norms. For example, most groups have an idea of a “fair day’s work” and may pressurize an individual if he exceeds or falls short of the group’s productivity norms. If the individual resents any such pressure or punishment, he could come into conflict with other group members.

We will discuss briefly about conflicts between an Individual and a group in next post.

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TYPES OF CONFLICT-1

A survey suggests that the modern manager spends over 20% of this time handling one form of conflict or the other. Top and middle level managers in the same survey has pointed out the importance of conflict management skills. We hope that the knowledge you will gain from this Unit will equip you better to manage conflict situations more deftly at you workplace.

 

Today we will discuss some type of organizational conflict.

Conflict within an Individual 

You can locate conflict at various levels. There could be conflict within oneself-the intrapersonal conflict. Basically, there are three types of such conflicts. You may have an excellent job offer in a city you are not wiling to go to. In such a case, you are attracted to and repelled by the same object-an approach-avoidance conflict. Similarly you may be attracted to two equally appealing alternatives like seeing a movie or going for a picnic-an approach-approach conflict. You may also be repelled by two equally unpleasant alternatives like the threat of being dismissed if you fail to report against a friendly colleague who is guilty of breaking the organization’s rules-an avoidance-avoidance conflict. We will discuss some other types of conflict in our next post.

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