TOPIC 1-5.docx - TOPIC 1 NATURE AND SOURCE OF CONFLICT Purpose To discuss the nature and source of conflict Objectives By the end of this topic you


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TOPIC 1: NATURE AND SOURCE OF CONFLICT Purpose: To discuss the nature and source of conflict. Objectives: By the end of this topic, you should be able to: i. Define conflict. ii. Describe the nature and source of conflicts iii. Analyze classification of conflicts TOPIC NOTE: NATURE AND SOURCE OF CONFLICT Defining conflict 1 Conflict could be defined as a process that begins when one of the parties in the interaction process perceives that another individual or group has frustrated or about to frustrate the attainment of their needs and goals. Given the potential for real or perceived frustration of some needs and goals, conflict is a basic fact of life in groups and organizations. It is a universal phenomenon and is an inevitable feature of organizational life. The very nature of organizations guarantees the emergence of conflict. First, organizations contain people with divergent personalities, perceptions, and values. Second, these people are assigned to jobs that have contrasting characteristics, impart unequal degrees of status, and frequently foster competition. Finally, organizations contain groups that often have conflicting views and they often compete for scarce resources in order to achieve their goals. Thus, conflict is an inescapable aspect of social interactions, an inevitable consequence of the interactions and interdependence between people and groups. A conflict-free organization has never existed and will never exist. Antagonism, tensions, aggressions, stereotyping, negative attitudes, frustration, and perceived conflicting needs will always be present, whenever people have to live and work together. An effective manager must understand the nature of conflict that is prevalent and its beneficial effect, and also the type of conflict that is not beneficial. He must, then, deal with conflict in ways that will promote the individual, group, and organizational goals. It is to be understood that management of conflict is an essential pre-requisite to sound human relations. 2 Conflict arises from difference of opinion between the group members while attaining the organizational goals. An organization is an interlocking network of groups, departments, sections or work teams. In organizations everywhere, conflict among groups of different interests is unavoidable. According to one survey, managers spend an estimated 20 percent of their time dealing with group conflicts. The success of an organization depends upon the harmonious relations among all independent groups. Managers may either directly resolve the conflicts or they may act as mediators between two or more employees. In either case, knowledge and 1 2
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understanding of conflict and the methods of resolving it are important. 3 The term “conflict” has no single clear meaning. Much of the confusion has been created by scholars in different disciplines who are interested in studying conflict. Systematic reviews of the conflict literature show a conceptual sympathy for, but little consensual endorsement of, any generally accepted definition of conflict. Fink
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