Conflict_Management_-_Chapter_Outline - Managing Conflict I...

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Managing Conflict I. Interpersonal conflict management. The chapter begins with the observation that too much agreement – or a lack of conflict – among managers in organizations is a leading cause of business failure. Managing disagreements and conflicts are needed to break the cycles of dysfunction in organizations that can result from groupthink, narrow-mindedness, overconfidence, or complacency. The increasing globalization of business and greater diversity in organizations are trends that also fuel the need to be able to manage disagreements in organizations. Conflict can spark creativity, energy, and personal improvement, when it is managed in constructive ways. As most are aware, mismanaged conflict can result in destructive effects – sapping energy, destroying creativity, and weakening interpersonal relationships. Mixed feelings about conflict Many people intellectually accept the value of conflict but in practice, feel uncomfortable when they themselves get involved in conflict situations. The example of Ross Perot on GM’s board and the experiment involving a Devil’s advocate in groups illustrate this tendency. These mixed feelings may result from a lack of understanding of the causes and forms of interpersonal conflict or a lack of confidence in one’s ability to manage it effectively. Four key points should be emphasized about conflict 1. Interpersonal conflict in organizations is inevitable. 2. Conflicts over issues or facts enhance the practice of management. 3. Despite the intellectual acceptance of the value of conflict, there is a widespread tendency to avoid it. 4. The key to increasing one’s comfort level with conflict is to become proficient in managing all forms of interpersonal disputes (both productive and unproductive conflicts). The remainder of the chapter addresses how to develop the skills needs to manage conflict. II. Diagnosing the type of interpersonal conflict. The first step to managing conflict is developing the ability to diagnose types, or focus of conflict, and the sources of conflict. Figure 7.2 provides a helpful framework for diagnosing conflict. Conflict focus Conflicts can be categorized as being focused on people or issues. People-focused conflicts refer to negative conflicts - the kinds of confrontations where there is intense emotional heat. These may involve accusations of harm, injustice, or feelings of resentment between conflicting parties. Over time, these thoughts and feelings can grow stronger and become harmful or even devastating. In these situations, relationships can also grow farther apart.
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In organizations, a considerable amount of time and energy can be consumed in dealing with people-focused conflicts. Evidence suggests that this happens in both small businesses as well as large corporations. Issue-focused conflicts are more like rational negotiations and problem-solving activities among
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This note was uploaded on 12/25/2010 for the course DEPTT. 2339485 taught by Professor J.khowel during the Spring '10 term at

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Conflict_Management_-_Chapter_Outline - Managing Conflict I...

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