Organizations are made up of interacting
individuals and groups with varying needs, objectives, values, and perspectives
that naturally lead to the emergence of conflicts. Members of a group in
conflict with another group (as in a competition) can increase performance and
group solidarity, however, when the members are in conflict within the group
itself dysfunctional hostility, distorted perceptions, negative stereotypes,
and decreased communication can develop.
Conflicts need to be managed appropriately
to provide positive outcomes and avoid negative possibilities. There are
several managerial styles available for doing this. Notable forms are
competing, avoiding, accommodating, collaborating, and compromising.
Interacting groups can be coordinated
through rules and procedures, hierarchy, planning, liaison roles, task forces,
teams, or integrating departments. When groups become dysfunctional changes
need to be made. Strategies for dealing with dysfunctional aspects of the group
include emphasizing the total organization by focusing on superordinate goals
or a common enemy, increasing communication, joint problem solving,
negotiating, expanding resources, obtaining a mediator, changing organization
structure, smoothing things over, and avoiding potential win-lose conflict
degenerative interaction climate
conflict management style
- Define and describe the conflict process.
- Recognize symptoms of conflict.
- Identify sources of conflict
- Differentiate between functional and dysfunctional conflict.
- Utilize conflict styles appropriately.
- Apply conflict management strategies.
- Bargain and negotiate.
*****Use PPT 11-0 (Powerpoint slide
#11-0) here: "Conflict Management and Negotiation*****
- Restructuring Promotes Quality At GM抯
- When Saturn began, it began with a unique
management labor relationship.
- Labor and management share all major decisions
including strategic and operational decisions.
- The first barrier to making this new system
work was to get rid of the traditional adversarial relationship that has
characterized management and labor relationships this century.
- There are still conflicts but they are handled
in a more cooperative way than ever before.
*****Use PPT 11-1 here: "Conflict
- What Is Conflict?
- Conflict is a disagreement between two or more parties who perceive that
they have incompatible concerns.
*****Use Learning Objective 1
*****Use PPT 11-2 here: "Functional versus dysfunctional conflict"
- Functional versus dysfunctional conflict.
- The traditional view of conflict
(dysfunctional view) is that it is bad and should be avoided or
eliminated as quickly as possible.
- The functional view, however, states that
conflict is not always bad and it can be a positive experience that can
bond a group together. It can, in fact, increase performance.
- Conflict is inevitable and should, therefore,
be dealt with and managed.
*****Use Study and Discussion Question
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-1 here: "The Conflict Management
*****Use PPT 11-3 here: "The Conflict Management Process" *****
- The conflict process. Although conflict does
not exist until one party perceives that another party may negatively
affect something that the first party cares about, the development of
antecedent conditions marks the start of the process. Conflict usually
proceeds through five stages:
- The Stages of Conflict?
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-2 here:
"Stages of Conflict"*****
*****Use PPT 11-4 and 11-5 here: "Stages of Conflict"*****
*****Use Learning Objective #2 here: "Recognize Symptoms of
- Stage 1: Latent conflict occurs when a change
occurs (Example: a budget cutback).
- Stage 2: Perceived conflict occurs when the incompatibility of needs are perceived and tension
begins to cause worry about what will happen.
- Stage 3: Felt conflict occurs when parties
become emotionally involved and begin to focus on differences of opinion
and opposing interests thus sharpening perceived conflict.
- Manifest conflict is an obvious display of
conflict. When parties plan and follow through with acts to achieve their
own objectives and frustrate the other.
- Conflict outcome is the results of interactions
of the conflicting parties in the manifest conflict stage result in
outcomes that can be functional or dysfunctional for one or both parties.
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-3 here:
"Sources of Conflict" *****
*****Use PPT 11-6 to 11-11 here: "Sources of Conflict"*****
*****Use Learning Objective #3 here: "Identify Sources of
*****Use Study and Discussion Question #7 here*****
- Sources of Conflict
- The primary causes of conflict in organizations
can be condensed into five general categories. These categories are
- Goal incompatibility. Instead of harmony, group goals are often in
conflict with one another. Reasons for this are:
- Mutually exclusive goals occur when one party抯
goal achievement is perceived as threatening to another抯. The
result is a conflict that is usually a win-lose competition.
- Insufficient shared resources occur because organizations have finite
resources. As parties compete for their share of the resources conflict
often results. The result is a win-lose competition.
- Different time
orientations occurs when parties need different time spans to
achieve their goals. Short and long time orientations can cause
*****Use Eye on Ethics here; Use Learning
Objective #2 here; Use Study and Discussion Question #1 here*****
- Structural design. Differences in goals,
resource demands, and time orientations are related to interdependence,
or the degree to which interactions between parties must be coordinated in
order for them to perform adequately.
- The relationships between parties can be
visualized on a continuum, ranging from complete dependence to complete
- Most relationships fall somewhere between the
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-4 here:
"Types of Task Interdependence" *****
*****Use Study and Discussion Question #5 here*****
- Three interdependent relationships are:
- Pooled interdependence exists when two parties are independent of
each other for their own performance outcomes, but each makes a
discrete contribution to the overall organization that affects the
well- being of all parties.
- Sequential interdependence occurs when the output of one party provides
necessary inputs for another to accomplish its goals.
- Reciprocal interdependence exists if the outputs of two parties are
inputs for each other. In such symbiotic relationships, each party
supplies necessary inputs to the other.
- Awareness of the nature of interdependence is
necessary to manage potential conflict and ensure optimal performance of
interacting parties at any level.
- When groups are dependent on one another for
the completion of their tasks, the potential for conflict is high.
- Lack of substitutability. The more alternative
sources of needed resources and services available to a party, the
greater its degree of substitutability.
- Power differentials. Since most groups, like
most individuals, do not like to be completely dependent on someone
else, power differences can cause intergroup conflict, especially when
areas critical to goal achievement or satisfaction are involved.
- Different role expectations. A role is a
set of related tasks and behaviors that an individual or group is
expected to carry out.
A role set
is all the people who interact with a person or group in a specific role and
have expectations about appropriate behavior.
members of a role set depend on the incumbent抯 performance in some
manner, they actively attempt to bring about behavior consistent with their
ambiguity exists when role sets do
not make clear their expectations of role holders.
Role conflict exists when the behavioral expectations of the role
holder and/or those of others in the role set do not agree. There are four
types of role conflict:
- Intersender conflict--when prescriptions and proscriptions that
come from a single member of the role set are inconsistent or
conflicting, intrasender role conflict occurs.
- Intersender conflict--when pressures from one member of a party抯
role set conflict with those from one or more others in the same role
set, intersender conflict occurs.
- Interrole conflict--when different roles held by the same party
require mutually exclusive behaviors, interrole conflict exits.
- Person-role conflict--when your role requires you to do something
you don抰 want to do or feel you shouldn抰 do, person-role
- Role overload occurs when role expectations exceed a party抯
ability to respond effectively.
- Uncertainty reduction. Eliminating uncertainty
requires establishing task clarity.
- Degenerative climate. Degenerative
interaction climates is an organizational climate that encourages
dysfunctional conflict. They are win-lose situations. This can occur
different values and expectations must interact with one another.
organizational cultures clash.
- Personal differences. There is a high potential
for conflict between people with:
preferred ways of behaving.
of the world.
*****Use Eye on Ethics here
"Cutting the Fat or Cutting Too Deep?" *****
*****Use Exhibit 11-5 here "The Consequences and Outcomes of
*****Use Learning Objective #4 here: "Differentiate between Functional and
*****Use Study and Discussion Question #4 here*****
- What Are The Consequences and Outcomes of
- Functional conflict is conflict between groups that stimulates
innovations and production.
- Conflict is inevitable even between
departments that are supposed to cooperate to accomplish organizational
- A conflict-positive organization is an
organization in which participants conflict as an opportunity for
personal and organizational growth.
- Discussing conflict openly can make
organization members more aware and better able to cope with problems.
- Attention is drawn to issues that interfere
- Successfully resolved conflicts can
- Personal development occurs as people learn
about conflict styles.
- Conflict can be stimulating and fun if
*****Use PPT 11-12 here:
"Functional Change Within Groups" *****
- Functional change within groups results in:
- Increased cohesion.
- Increased loyalty.
- Increased emphasis on task accomplishment.
- Acceptance of autocratic leadership.
- Research findings confirming the functionality
of intragroup conflict.
*****Use PPT 11-13 here:
"Functional Change Between Groups" *****
- Functional changes between groups. Potential
positive consequences for relations between groups include:
- Increased problem awareness.
- Decreased tensions after disagreements have
- More appropriate readjustments of tasks and
- Establishment of mechanisms for obtaining
feedback about intergroup problems.
- Clarification of priorities and tasks.
- Dysfunctional conflict is conflict between groups in the same
organization that hinders the achievement of group and organizational
goals. These are lose-lose situations.
*****Use PPT 11-14 here:
"Dysfunctional change Between groups" *****
- Dysfunctional changes between groups. There
are four common inter- group consequences of conflict:
- Distorted perceptions.
- Negative stereotypes.
- Decreased communication.
*****Use PPT 11-15
here: "Dysfunctional change within groups" *****
- 2. Many of the same problems occur when there
are dysfunctional changes within groups.
*****Use Learning Objective #4
- How Can Conflict Be Productively Managed?
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-6 here
"Methods of Managing Conflict"*****
*****Use PPT 11-16 here: "Two Primary Concerns
In a Conflict Situation"*****
- Interpersonal conflict-management styles are
the different combinations of assertiveness and cooperation that people
emphasize when in a conflict situation.
*****Use Your Turn here*****
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-7 here "Interpersonal Conflict Management
*****Use PPT 11-17 here: "Conflict Management
*****Use PPT 11-18 here: "Competing Orientation"*****
*****Use Learning Objective #5 here: "Utilize Conflict Styles
- Competing is assertive and uncooperative behavior, embodied in individual抯
pursuit of their own concerns at others?expense.
*****Use PPT 11-19 here: "Accommodating Orientation"*****
- Accommodating is the opposite of competing. It consists of
unassertive and cooperative behavior.
*****Use PPT 11-20 here: "Avoiding Orientation"*****
- Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative behavior. Individuals with this
style pursue neither their own concerns or those of others.
*****Use PPT 11-21 here: "Collaborating Orientation"*****
- Collaborating is the opposite of avoiding; it consists of
both assertive and and cooperative behavior.
*****Use PPT 11-22 here: "Compromising Orientation"*****
- Compromising falls somewhere between assertive and cooperative behaviors. The
objective is to find a middle ground.
*****Use Study and Discussion Question
*****Use PPT 11-23 here: "Culture and Gender
*****Use Dynamics of Diversity here "Gender Conflicts in the Conference
*****Use PPT 11-24 here: "Negotiating"
*****Use Learning Objective #6 here: "Bargain and Negotiate"*****
- Negotiating or bargaining is the practical
application of collaborating and compromising approaches to conflict
management. The two primary bargaining strategies are:
- Distributive bargaining where zero-sum
conditions exist--only one party can gain..
- Integrative bargaining where parties assume
that it is possible to create win-win situation
*****Use PPT 11-25 here: "Distributive versus Integrative Bargaining"*****
***** Use Exhibit 11-8 here: "Distributive Negotiation Bargaining
*****Use PPT 11-26 here: "Distributive
Negotiation Bargaining Zone"*****
*****Use PPTs 11-27-11-29 here: "Guidelines for
*****Use Technology Transformation here "Negotiating the E-Commerce
*****Use Learning Objective #6 here: "Apply Conflict Management
*****Use Personal Skills Exercise here ****
- Conflict Management Methods
- Coordination Strategies for Avoiding Intergroup
- It is important to detect, reduce, and act to
- It is also important to watch for signals of
conflict because this may signal deeper issues that need to be examined.
*****Use PPT 11-30here: "Conflict Management Methods"*****
- Outcomes can be win-win, win-lose, lose-lose,
- Organizations with effectiveness intergroup
coordination strategies can often manage conflict effectively without it
*****Use PPTs 11-31-11-32 here: "Coordination Strategies for Avoiding Intergroup Conflict"*****
*****Refer to Exhibit 11-9: "Strategies for
Coordinating Intergroup Conflict"*****
- Intergroup coordination strategies are:
- Rules and procedures--spell out in advance
the required activities and behaviors.
- Hierarchy--conflict (when rules and
procedures do not cover or work) can be passed up the hierarchy for
- Planning--in more complex situations,
planning can set forth goals, rules, and responsibilities of all groups
that need to cooperate.
- Liaison roles--liaison is a party that
expedites lateral communication between interacting groups by
circumventing formal organizational boundaries.
- Task forces--task force is a temporary
group made up of individuals from interacting groups that resolve
problems, facilitates cooperation, and promotes integration of efforts.
- Teams--meet in complex situations over a long
period of time.
- Integrating departments--when the complexity
flows between several interacting groups and is beyond the scope of
plans, task forces, or even teams, and entire department can be
*****Use Study and Discussion Question
*****Use PPTs 11-33-11-34 here: "Strategies for
Reducing Dysfunctional Conflict"*****
- Strategies for preventing and reducing
dysfunctional intergroup conflict.
- Persistent dysfunctional intergroup conflict
needs to be confronted.
- Techniques include:
- Superordinate goals. One of the most
effective ways to reduce inter-group conflict is to determine an
overriding goal that requires the cooperative effort of the conflicting
groups. Forms of goals might be:
- Focus on a common enemy.
*****Use World Watch here
"International Espionage or 慗ust Doing My Job!?quot; *****
- Increased communication. Devising a means to
increase can do much to correct misunderstandings, reduce negative
stereotypes, and develop more positive feelings among group members.
- Problem solving. The purpose is to identify
and solve conflicts through a mutual airing of differences, complaints,
and negative feelings.
- Negotiating. Negotiating is a form of
problem solving where two groups with conflicting interests exchange
things in order to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Expansion of resources. This helps to spread
scarce resources among conflicting groups.
- Third-party judgment. Let a mediator solve
- Changes in organizational structure. When the
reasons for intergroup conflict are scarce resources, status
differences, or power imbalances, changes in organizational structure
may be the answer.
- Smoothing. This provides some incentive to
repress their conflict and avoid open expression.
- Avoidance. Some groups may be able to ignore
dysfunctional situations temporarily by looking the other way or
disregarding the threatening actions of others in the hope that the
situation will resolve itself.
***** Use Exhibit 11-10 here
"International Conflict Resolution Approaches"*****
*****Use Study and Discussion Question #6 here*****
*****Use Team Exercise here ****
*****Use Case here