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.