Unformatted text preview: Conflict management
Conflict Dr Retha Wiesner Objectives
Objectives Understand importance of managing
conflict Awareness of skills to improve your
capacity to respond effectively to
conflict Know how to empower other to manage
their differences and solve problems
Definition: Conflict is a process that begins when
one party perceives that another party
has negatively affected, or is about to
negatively affect something that the first
party cares about.
party Why is conflict management important in organisations?
Why Change is no longer occasional and gradual
and when familiar boundaries shift, conflict
If not managed the organisation’s ability to
manage change effectively is reduced.
Increased empowerment has created more
self expression, therefore more conflict
Increasing external pressures NATURE OF CONFLICT
NATURE Cognitive disharmony: difference
Cognitive between two or more parties in
opinions, values or goals (i.e., a state of
disagreement) Affective disharmony: negative attitude
or emotion in one or both of the parties
towards the other (e.g., a state of dislike
or Views influencing conflict
Views Sum up a view of conflict which has
influenced you i.e. ‘fight the good fight’, ‘get
your retaliation first’
Say something about your beliefs about
relationships, yourself or other people, which
has affected your responses to conflict in
certain situations i.e. ‘children should be seen
and not heard’, ‘I will survive’, ‘never trust a
man bearing gifts’.
How have you used these in dealing with
conflict. What is Stress? Stress is defined as a dynamic
Stress condition in which an individual is
confronted with an opportunity,
constraint, or demand related to what
constraint or demand
he or she desires and for which the
outcome is perceived to be both
uncertain and important. Potential Sources of Stress
Environmental Organisational Factors
o Task demands;
o Role demands;
o Interpersonal demands;
o Organisation structure; and
o Organisational leadership Individual factors Individual Differences Perception Consequences Of Stress Physiological Symptoms - Changes in an
individual's health as a result of stress.
Psychological Symptoms - Changes in an
individual's attitudes and disposition due to
Behavioural Symptoms - Changes in an
individual's behavior, including productivity,
absence, and turnover, as a result of stress. Conflict management awareness
Conflict Self: are you aware of any ways in which you
undermine your own skills during conflicts?
Others: sometimes we are strongly affected
by people. Describe people with whom you
find it difficult to manage your conflict
skillfully? What are they like? What are their
patterns in behaviour?
Situation: circumstances can affect how we
manage conflict. Are their any particular
circumstances which you find difficult? I.e.
dealing with bad performance, harassment
etc. Self, others, situation
Self, Conflicts are often more about relationships
and differences between people than they are
In any given situation, we have most
influence over our self.
We can influence others but we have less
control over them than we do over our selves.
We have varying degrees of influence over
the We can manage conflict most constructively when:
We We understand clearly what we need and
what we can realistically obtain for our self.
When we are able to take into account what
is needed by others, and what they can
When we become aware of, and consider the
demands placed on us, by the situation (the
needs of customers and colleagues, the
requirements to achieve targets and
standards etc). What is present in us that influences our judgments of other
people? Notions of interpersonal attraction – what is pleasant, likeable.
what Previous experience – do they remind
us of someone?
us Our knowledge of types and
stereotypes – does someone fit into our
notion of powerful and authoritative.
notion What information do we get from other
people? Non-verbal – body language, mannerisms etc.
mannerisms Verbal – language, accent, tone Physical appearance – what people
choose to wear, physical
characteristics. Patterns – repeating behaviour and
behaviour breaking from a familiar
pattern. Self/others - What is influential in the relationship between perceiver and other
people? Contact – is this someone with whom you have much contact?
you Identification – shared experience,
perceived similarities and differences
perceived Friendship/intimacy – degree of
closeness, emotional connection.
closeness, Situation – what external factors have an influence?
Situation The social context – conventions of normally-accepted customs
normally-accepted The cultural setting – agreed sets of
rules and values shared by groups and
organisations The physical environment – space, time
,degree of comfort, threat.
,degree Good judgement involves:
Good Being clear about what you
Being clear see
see Being aware of your own influence
own Obtaining information from and about
others Balancing the perspectives of yourself,
others and the wider situation.
Relax Scan for physical signs
physical Breathe Relax joints and muscles
Relax Take up a comfortable position
Reflect Pause and notice what others are doing
notice Delay evaluation Think positively
Think positively Visualise positive outcomes
Visualise Listen Respond
Respond Say what is affecting you
Say what Suggest an alternative
alternative Ask questions Focus on the person
person problem and not the The Conflict Process
Stage I Stage II Stage III Stage IV Potential Opposition
or Incompatibility Cognition and
Personalisation Intentions Behaviour Perceived
• Personal variables
conflict Transparency 136 Conflict-Handling
• Accommodating Stage V
• Party’s behaviour
• Other’s reaction
Performance Transitions in Conflict Thought
Transitions Traditional View:
Dysfunctional due to poor communications, trust
etc Human Relations View:
Cannot be eliminated and at times can benefit
performance Interactionist View:
Encourages conflict to stimulate change and Functional vs Dysfunctional Conflict
Conflict that supports the goals of the group
and improves its performance
Conflict that inhibits group performance
Conflict Situational dependent Outcomes
Outcomes Increased group performance Improves quality of decisions Stimulates creativity and innovation Encourages interest and curiosity Fosters environment of self improvement Decreased group performance Breeds discontent Threatens survival Reduces group cohesiveness Retards communication Competing Assertiveness Assertive Dimensions of Conflict handling intentions
Dimensions Collaborating Unassertive Compromising Avoiding
Cooperativeness Cooperative The conflict management process
The Potential opposition or incompatibility Cognition and personalisation Intentions Behaviour Outcomes Stage 1: Potential opposition or incompatibility
Stage Causes of conflict Communication: Misunderstanding and
‘noise’ in the communication channel
Structure: size, degree of specialisation,
member goal compatibility, leadership styles
and degrees of dependence between groups
Personal variables: Individual value systems,
personality types Stage 2: Cognition and personalisation
Stage Perceived conflict: Awareness by one
Perceived or more parties of the existence of
conditions that create opportunities for
conflict to arise
conflict Felt conflict: Emotional involvement in
a conflict creating anxiety, tenseness,
frustration or hostility
frustration Stage 3: Intentions
Stage Intentions intervene between people’s
perceptions and emotions and their overt
behaviour. These intentions are decisions to
act in a given way (conflict handling
Competing A desire to satisfy one’s interests, regardless of the
impact on the other parties to the conflict.
Appropriate when quick, decisive action is vital.
On important issues where unpopular actions need
On issues vital to the organisation’s welfare and
when you know you are right.
Against people who take advantage of noncompetitive behaviour. Collaboration
Collaboration A situation where the parties to a conflict each desire
to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties
Appropriate to find an integrative solution when both
sets of concerns are too important to be
When your objective is to learn.
To merge insights from people with different
To gain commitment by incorporating concerns into a
To work through feelings that have interfered with a
Avoidance The desire to withdraw from, or suppress a conflict.
Appropriate when an issue is trivial or more important
issues are pressing.
When you perceive no chance of satisfying your
When potential disruption outweighs the benefits of
To let people cool down and regain perspective.
When gathering information supersedes immediate
When others can resolve the conflict more effectively. Accommodation
Accommodation The willingness of one party in a conflict to place the
opponent’s interests above her or his own.
Appropriate when you find you are wrong-to allow a
better position to be heard, to learn and to show your
When issues are more important to others than
yourself-to satisfy others and maintain cooperation
To minimise loss when you are outmatched and
losing’When harmony and stability are especially
To allow subordinates to develop by learning from
Compromise A situation in which each party to a conflict is willing
to give up something of value.
Appropriate when goals are important, but not worth
the effort or potential disruption of more assertive
When opponents with equal power are committed to
mutually exclusive goals.
To achieve temporary settlements to complex issues.
To arrive at expedient solutions under time pressure
As a backup when collaboration or competition is
unsuccessful Stage 4: Behaviour
Stage The behaviour stage includes the statements, actions
and reactions by the conflicting parties
This stage is a dynamic process of interaction. You
make a demand on me; I respond by arguing; you
threaten me; I threaten you back; and so on.
All conflict exists somewhere along a continuum. At
the lower part conflicts are characterised by subtle,
indirect and highly controlled forms of tension.
Functional conflicts are typically confined to the lower
range of the continuum.
range Dimensions of Conflict-Handling Intentions
Dimensions Competing Assertiveness High Low Collaborating Compromising Accommodating Avoiding
Low Cooperativeness High Conflict Intensity Continuum
conflict ( Overt efforts to destroy other party ( Aggressive physical attacks ( Threats and ultimatums ( Overt questioning or challenging of others ( Minor disagreements or misunderstandings No conflict Stage 5: Outcomes
Stage Increased group performance
Conflict is constructive when it improves the quality of
decisions, stimulates innovation and creativity,
encourages interest, provides a medium through
which problems can be aired and tensions released,
and fosters an environment of self-evaluation,
change and even transformation.
Decreased group performance:
Conflict is destructive when uncontrolled opposition
breeds discontent, which acts to dissolve common
ties and eventually leads to the destruction of the
group. Conflict Management Techniques
Conflict Conflict Resolution
Bring in Outsiders
Expansion of Resources
Appoint a Devil's
Altering Human Variable
Altering Structural Variables Negotiation
Definition: A process in which two or more parties
exchange goods or services and
attempt to agree upon the exchange
rate for them.
rate A Model of Negotiation
Step 1 Ascertain the scope of the exchange Step 2 Determine the negotiating objectives Step 3 Examine suppositions of both parties Step 4 Collect relevant data Step 5 Identify issues, sticking points and tradeoffs Step 6 Calculate preliminary bargaining position and ground rules Process
Step 7 Reveal other side’s needs and re examine your own needs Step 8 Produce overall bargaining strategy Step 9 Determine possible negotiating options Step 10 Enter into negotiations Distributive Vs. Integrative Bargaining
Characteristic Distributive Bargaining Integrative Bargaining Available resources Fixed amount of
resources to be divided Variable amount of
resources to be divided Primary motivations I win, you lose I win, you win Primary interests Opposed to each other Convergent or congruent
with each other Focus of relationships Short term Long term Other’s Aspiration Range Your Concerns Defining the range in Distributive Bargaining
Your Target Se
en t R an ge Your Resistance Point
Other’s Resistance Point Other’s Concerns Other’s Aspiration Range Other’s Target Staking Out the Bargaining Zones
Staking Party A’s aspiration range
Party B’s aspiration range Party A’s
point Party B’s
point Party A’s
point Party B’s
point Negotiator-Opponent Interaction
Negotiator-Opponent Demands and concessions
Role of Personality Traits
Third Party negotiations Mediator Arbitrator Conciliator Consultant Third Party Negotiations
Third Mediator: neutral party A rbitrator:authority to
Arbitrator:authority dictate agreement
dictate Conciliator Consultant Factors Affecting Intergroup
Relations Time and Goal Orientation Interdependence Task Uncertainty Types of Interdependence
Pooled A B Sequential A B Reciprocal A B Methods for Managing Intergroup Relations
% Integrating departments
% Teams Cost to
use of % Task forces
% Liaison roles
% Planning % Hierarchy Low % Rules and procedures Conflict and Unit Performance
Conflict Unit performance High Low A Low B Level of Conflict C High ...
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