14.1 Conflict in Organizations: Basic Considerations
- How do you recognize and resolve short- and long-term conflicts among group members and among groups?
Conflict is the process by which a person or group feels frustrated in the pursuit of certain goals, plans, or objectives. Conflict may take one of four forms: (1) goal, (2) cognitive, (3) affective, or (4) behavioral. Conflict may occur on several levels, including intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, and interorganizational.
14.2 Causes of Conflict in Organizations
- How does conflict arise in organizations?
Conflict in organizations can be caused by task interdependencies, status inconsistencies, jurisdictional ambiguities, communication problems, dependence on common resource pools, lack of common performance standards, and individual differences. A model of the conflict process follows four stages. Conflict originates (stage 1) when an individual or group experiences frustration in the pursuit of important goals. In stage 2, the individual or group attempts to understand the nature of the problem and its causes. In stage 3, efforts are made to change behavioral patterns in such a way that the desired outcome, or stage 4, is achieved.
14.3 Resolving Conflict in Organizations
- When and how do you negotiate, and how do you achieve a mutually advantageous agreement?
Ineffective conflict resolution strategies include nonaction, administrative orbiting, due process nonaction, secrecy, and character assassination. Strategies for preventing conflict include (1) emphasizing organization-wide goals; (2) providing stable, well-structured tasks; (3) facilitating intergroup communication; and (4) avoiding win-lose situations. Strategies for reducing conflict include (1) physical separation, (2) use of rules and regulations, (3) limiting intergroup interaction, (4) use of integrators, (5) confrontation and negotiation, (6) third-party consultation, (7) rotation of members, (8) identification of interdependent tasks and superordinate goals, and (9) use of intergroup training. Negotiation is the process by which individuals and groups attempt to reach their goals by bargaining with others who can help or hinder goal attainment. Negotiation is helpful in three primary instances: (1) a conflict of interest, (2) the absence of clear rules or procedures, and (3) when there is a desire to avoid a fight. Distributive bargaining attempts to resolve a win-lose conflict in which resources are limited and each party wishes to maximize its share of these resources. Integrative bargaining occurs when both parties attempt to reach a settlement that benefits both sides in a dispute.
14.4 Negotiation Behavior
- How do you recognize and respond to cultural differences in negotiation and bargaining strategies?
A resistance point is the point beyond which an opponent will not go to reach a settlement. Planning for a negotiation session involves (1) understanding the basic nature of the conflict, (2) knowing what the group wants to achieve in the session, (3) selecting a chief negotiator, and (4) understanding one’s opponent. Cultural differences play a major role in the negotiation process and influence such factors as persuasion techniques, the key characteristics of the negotiators, and communication patterns.