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Issues In Organizational Conflicts Thomas Appiah Kubi Asante UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA, GHANA TEL: +233247225196 EMAIL: tomsadam@gmail.

com INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT Conflict occurs naturally when people interact in the Universities, colleges, sc hools, workplace, churches, mosques and at homes. Eventually if you and I are wo rking together on a work task, we are going to disagree about how something shou ld be done, or what each of us should be doing to get the task done, or perhaps some other issue like how I might be treating you, or vice versa. That is normal , and in fact there is a positive aspect about it. When you and I disagree, and even get into heated conversation, it means that you and I care enough about the issue to take a stand and advocate and argue for what we believe is best. Some people just like to argue. According to Schimdt (1974), teams, organizations, and even individuals need con flict interactions to grow. New ideas can emerge from conflicts--new ways of thi nking and doing things that can be useful to everyone. So long as we work togeth er in teams and organizations, and people care about what they are doing and how they are treated, we will have disagreements and conflict in the workplace. We cannot eliminate all conflict. Neither would we want to because we would lose an important way to grow our teams, organizations and ourselves. Schimdt (1974) went further to expresses that, the catch is that there are two k inds of conflict that are not growth producing or productive. The first is confl ict that is unnecessary--that occurs as a result of the language we use with eac h other. For example, if, in a meeting, I call another team-member an "effing id iot", I would be creating a conflict which is not likely to be productive or con structive. The second kind of conflict is conflict that, regardless of the issue , is dealt with in ways that make the conflict unresolvable, and where each pers on's behaviour is akin to throwing gasoline onto a fire. In my work with public sector managers and supervisors, the issue that generates the most emotion, and frustrated comments, is conflict within the organization. We generally do not look at conflict as opportunity, we tend to think about co nflict as unpleasant, counter-productive and time-consuming; and those who initi ate it are seen as bad, controversial and better still enemies of progress. Conflict that occurs in universities, homes and organizations need not be destru ctive, provided the energy associated with conflict is harnessed and directed to wards problem-solving and organizational improvement. However, managing conflic t effectively requires that all parties understand the nature of conflict in the workplace. What is Conflict? According to Hellriege, Slocum and Woodman (1992), conflict refers to any situat ion in which there are incompatible goals, thought, or emotions, within or betwe en individuals or groups that leads to opposition. Costly and Todd (1987) also s ee conflict as the inability to choose between two or more alternatives. The dictionary defines conflict as a struggle to resist or overcome; contest of opposing forces or powers; strife; battle. A state or condition of opposition, a ntagonism and discord. A painful tension set up by a clash between opposed and c ontradictory impulses. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, conflict periodica lly enters our lives. Conflict is a state of mind characterized by indecision, uncertainty, dilemma, t ension and anxiety. An individual experiences conflict when he is expected to be have in two or more incompatible ways at the same time. It is the expression of disagreement over something important to both (or all) sides of a dispute. Confl ict is a clash of interests, values, actions, views or directions (De Bono, 1985 ). Conflict refers to the existence of that clash. Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. The first important thing to grasp is that it is entirely dependent on the people involved. It depends on their having a particular point of view, whi

ch may or may not have independent facts and evidence to support it, and on how they behave when they encounter an opposing point of view. Violence is only one kind of conflict-behavior. Generally, there are diverse interests and contrary views behind a conflict, whi ch are revealed when people look at a problem from their viewpoint alone. Confli ct is an outcome of organizational intricacies, interactions and disagreements. It can be settled by identifying and neutralizing the etiological factors. Once conflict is concluded, it can provoke a positive change in the organization. Con fliction is the process of setting up, promoting, encouraging or designing confl ict. It is a willful process and refers to the real effort put into generating a nd instituting conflict. De-confliction is the annihilation of conflict, that is , the effort required to eliminate the conflict. ELEMENTS OF CONFLICT Organizational conflicts usually involve three elements namely: power, organizat ional demand and worth (Turner and Weed, 1983). Power is the capacities and means that people have at their disposal to get work done. Power includes budgetary discretion, personal influence, information, tim e, space, staff size and dependence on others. If used efficiently, power create s an atmosphere of cooperation, but can generate conflicts when misused, withhel d or amassed. Organizational demands are the people's expectations regarding a person's job pe rformance. Usually such expectations are high and rather unrealistic. When these expectations are not fulfilled, people feel disheartened, angry, let down or ch eated. Consequently, conflict situations can arise. Worth refers to a person's self-esteem. People want to prove their worth in the organization. Superiors control employees' pay, performance rating, performance and appraisal, etc. the level in which these are received by a person reflects h is/ her worth. An individual may also feel loss of worth if some basic needs are not fulfilled. Generally, conflicts arise from mismatches between power, organi zational demands and feelings of personal worth. FORMS OF CONFLICT Hellriegel et al. (1992) categorized conflicts into four basic forms. These are as follows: a. Goal conflict: This is when a desired end or preferred outcomes that app ears to be incompatible. For instance, the management of University of Education , Winneba may desire that increase in enrolment and school fees will enable the University to provide more services to students and raise more funds for the Uni versity so lecturers should agree. The lecturers may disagree on the grounds tha t it will increase their workload in terms of lecturer-student ratio. Thus, the universitys goal of growth is in conflict with the lecturers goal of attention to individual students. b. Cognitive conflict: This is where ideas or thoughts are perceived as inc ompatible. For example, the Chancellor of the University has a duty to intervene between faculty authorities and students on a new grading system that students view as not good. The concern of the Chancellor would be how to resolve the impa sse. How he requests the faculty authorities to reverse their decision which the y are not ready to, and how he would convince students to accept the new grading system which they see as unacceptable produces a cognitive conflict. c. Affective conflict: This deals with emotions or feelings which are incom patible, that is, people become angry with one another. For instance, on the new grading system, the students will feel that the authorities did not think about their welfare by introducing this policy which does not favor them and therefor e, they become angry. The University authorities on the other hand may be annoye d with the students body for challenging their authority. d. Procedural conflict: This is where parties differ on the process of doin g things. For example, if the channel of communication in any organization is no t properly followed, a request being sought may be canceled on the grounds that it did not followed the proper procedure. Sources of Conflict If a manager is to manage conflict, he must understand its source. We can establ

ish three basic sources as semantic, role, and values as put up by Kahn et. al. (1964). Semantic sources are those stemming from some failure in communication. Traditio nally, semantics has to do with the meaning of words, but here that is just one aspect of its role. We use semantics to point out a major source of conflict as the failure of two individuals to share fully the meaning of a communicative att empt. The causes for the failure may be technical problems in the communication process (static, filters, barriers, and the like), or they may be actual differe nces in perception and understanding. The result is an absence of agreement whic h results in conflict. Role sources are those that rise out of the varying perceptions of people about the expected behaviors of themselves and others. Many of these come from the sta tus and position levels in organizations. Others come from the structures and pr ocesses devised by management to organize work, channel effort, and coordinate a ctivity. Role conflicts are probably no more frequent or more rare than semantic or value conflicts. They might, indeed, be so closely related as to be absorbed in those two sources. Role sources may be evidenced in those situations in whic h boss and subordinate seem to be butting heads because each perceives their rol es differently. Value sources have their foundations in the individualistic value sets of people . These value sets readily contribute to differences between people because they are different. They cause each of us at times to respond or behave in an unexpe cted manner because we are behaving as dictated by a value set not fully shared by our associates; hence, a sense on their part of a difference between us. An e xample may be the conflicting values held by Air Force people as to what constit utes acceptable hair length. One side demands compliance with a published standa rd while the other demands to know why longer hair must mean degraded performanc e. Managing value conflicts requires a psychological awareness and a capacity fo r adaptivity, which permits situational based activity of the manager. What is e ffective in one value conflict situation may not be in the next. Stages of Conflict The handling of conflict requires awareness of its various developmental stages. If leaders in the situation can identify the conflict issue and how far it has developed, then they can sometimes solve it before it becomes much more serious. Typical stages include: Where potential for conflict exists - in other words where people recognize that lack of resources, diversity of language or culture may result in conflict if p eople are not sensitive to the diversity. Latent conflict exists where a competitive situation could easily spill over int o conflict, e.g. at a political rally or in the workplace where there are obviou s differences between groups of people. Open conflict - This can be triggered by an incident and suddenly become real co nflict. Aftermath conflict - the situation where a particular problem may have been reso lved, but the potential for conflict still exists. In fact the potential may be even greater than before, if one person or group perceives itself as losing in a win-lose situation. CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF CONFLICTS The cause of workplace conflict is often misunderstood and blamed on personaliti es and misbehavior, but in reality, much workplace conflict is systemic and ende mic to the workplace environment. Lipid (1994) was of the view that ineffective organizational systems, unpredictable policies, incompatible goals, scarce resou rces, and poor communication can all contribute to conflict in the workplace. Wo rkplace conflict causes loss of productivity, distractions, and employee dissati sfaction. However, management can produce positive results by paying attention t o and addressing the true causes of conflict in their organizations. It has been recognized that there are many basic causes of organizational conflict some of which are listed and explained further as follows: Ineffective Organizational Systems and Unpredictable Policies Poor follow-up, unequal application of policies, and inconsistent communications

from management all contribute to workplace conflict. Lack of clearly communica ted or constantly changing policies cause confusion and disharmony in the workpl ace. Organizations need consistent controls, clear communication, and effective confl ict management systems in place in order to avoid conflicts. Managers and superv isors with good management skills who are able to communicate and relate to thei r employees make the difference between harmonious operations or chaotic, confli ct-filled work environments. Incompatible Goals According to Owens (1987), a conflict exists when incompatible activities occur. Conflict can result when co-workers with different goals and different messages from managers and supervisors have to work together on teams, committees, or in work groups. Management agreement on clear and common goals is important for pr oductivity and harmony among employees in work groups, and a clear vision and bu siness goals from top management reduces causes of conflict. Scarce Resources Scarce resources or competition for limited resources cause anxiety and frustrat ion, whether the resources needed are time, space, supplies, or information. Anx iety, frustration, and competition lead to conflict if not managed well. Good po licies and procedures for equitable distribution and use of resources, with prop er controls, will lessen or eliminate conflict. Poor Communication Poor communication, including dishonesty, unethical behavior, withholding inform ation, and poor interpersonal skills, contribute to or even cause conflict. Clea r, consistent, and open communication, as well as good conflict management skill s and systems contribute to healthy working relationships and good work environm ents. Poor communication leads to misunderstanding and strife among employees. F or instance, misunderstandings can occur if the manager asks one employee to rel ay important instructions to the other employees, but the employee fails to do s o appropriately. Conveying wrong information can lead to projects being incorrec tly done and to employees blaming each other for the end result. When people work together, conflict becomes a part of doing business, it is a no rmal occurrence in any workplace. Notably, managers spend some of their time se ttling conflict in the workplace. Workplace conflict often stems from issues bet ween employees within the company. Differing Values The workplace consists of individuals who all have their own perspective of the world. Some employees have strong beliefs, which they are not willing to comprom ise. These beliefs can conflict with coworkers', creating conflict. For example, if one individual strongly opposes workplace diversity, he may have trouble acc epting other workers different from him. To avoid conflict with these workers, h e must try to accept or initiate more tolerance of those with differing values. Opposing Interests When an employee decides to pursue her own career goals, without regard for the organizational goals and its well-being, it results in strife among her coworker s. This occurs when the employee becomes so focused on achieving his/her own obj ectives, he/she disregards how it affects others within the company and the comp any itself. For instance, he/she may "forget" that he/she is a part of a team, i n which the goal is to work together on a specific assignment. Consequently, he/ she may work according to his/her own schedule and in the manner he/she sees fit , building resentment in his/her coworkers. Personality Conflicts No two people are exactly alike. Therefore, personality clashes in the workplace are unavoidable. One employee may have a reserved personality while another may be more outgoing and forward. Problems arise when the two do not understand or respect each others' inner nature. For instance, the more extroverted employee m ay feel slighted if the more introverted worker doesn't talk to him much. He may perceive it as a slight, rather than it simply being the employee's personality . Furthermore, his approach to handling projects may be analytical while hers is

intuitive. When the two do not understand and respect each others' approach, co nflict occurs. Personal Problems If the employee has problems outside of the workplace or school, such as marital or parental issues, he/ she may take them to the workplace or the school. Conse quently, if he/she is short and withdrawn from his/her coworkers and colleagues, and if they are ignorant about the cause of his/her behavior, they will assume that he/she has an issue with them. Therefore, if he/ she is not willing to divu lge his/her problems to the coworkers, he/she should leave them at home. EFFECTS OF CONFLICTS Conflict situations should be either resolved and/ or used beneficially. Conflic ts can have positive or negative effects for the organization, depending upon th e environment created by the manager as she or he manages and regulates the conf lict situation. Positive effects of conflicts Some of the positive effects of conflict situations according to Filley (1975) a re: Diffusion of more serious conflicts: Games can be used to moderate the attitudes of people by providing a competitive situation which can liberate tension in th e conflicting parties, as well as having some entertainment value. In organizati ons where members participate in decision making, disputes are usually minor and not acute as the closeness of members moderates belligerent and assertive behav ior into minor disagreements, which minimizes the likelihood of major fights. Stimulation of a search for new facts or resolutions: When two parties who respe ct each other face a conflict situation, the conflict resolution process may hel p in clarifying the facts and stimulating a search for mutually acceptable solut ions which may prove better than the ones either side had offered. Increase in group cohesion and performance: When two or more parties are in conf lict, the performance and cohesion of each party is likely to improve. In a conf lict situation, an opponent's position is evaluated negatively, and group allegi ance is strongly reinforced, leading to increased group effort and cohesion. Assessment of power or ability: In a conflict situation, the relative ability or power of the parties involved can be identified and measured. That is, it force s both sides to clearly articulate their argument or ideas. Conflicts when effectively managed, can lead to outcomes that are productive and enhance the health of the organization over time. Thus conflict in itself is ne ither good nor bad nor ugly in value terms. Its impact on organization and the b ehavior of the people is largely dependent upon the way in which it is treated. Negative Effects of Conflicts The destructive effects of conflicts on any organization may include the followi ng: Impediments to smooth working, Diminishing output Obstructions in the decision making process, and Formation of competing affiliations within the organization. The overall result of such negative effects is to reduce employees' commitment t o organizational goals and organizational efficiency (Kirchoff and Adams, 1982). Owens (1992) has observed that frequent and power conflicts can have a daunting impact upon the behavior of people in organization. Conflicts often develop into hostility, which also causes people to withdraw physically and psychologically. In an organization situation, physical withdrawal takes the form of absence, la ziness and turnover that is often written off as uncommitted on the part of empl oyees. Conflicts can lead to severe hostile behavior or aggressive behavior such as demonstrations, strikes, property damage and minor theft of property. Conflict as a Process Conflict is a dynamic process. In any organization, a modest amount of conflict can be useful in increasing organizational effectiveness, that is when the posit ive effects of conflicts are achieved. Tosi, Rizzo and Carroll (1986) consider the stages involved in the conflict process, from inception to end, as sequentia

l in nature, namely: (i) the conflict situation, (ii) awareness of the situation, (iii) realization, (iv) manifestation of conflict Managing Conflicts Managing conflict means finding appropriate strategies to resolve it. Management should have specific and efficient technique for managing conflict. Conflict ma nagement consist of diagnostic process, interpersonal style, negotiating strateg ies, and structural interventions that are designed to avoid unnecessary conflic ts, reduce or resolve excessive conflicts, or even increase insufficient conflic t (Hellriegel et al., 1992). Teamwork and co-operation are essential in an organization which aims to be effe ctive and efficient, and not likely to be divided by conflicting factions. The b est teamwork usually comes from having a shared vision or goal, so that leaders and members are all committed to the same objectives and understand their roles in achieving those objectives. Important behaviors in achieving teamwork and min imizing potential conflict include a commitment by team members to: share information by keeping people in the group up-to-date with current relevan t issues express positive expectations of each other empower each other - publicly crediting colleagues who have performed well and e ncouraging each other to achieve results team-build - by promoting good morale and protecting the group's reputation with outsiders resolve potential conflict - by bringing differences of opinion into the open an d facilitating resolution of conflicts Collective bargaining Especially in workplace situations, it is necessary to have agreed mechanisms in place for groups of people who may be antagonistic (e.g. management and workers ) to collectively discuss and resolve issues. This process is often called colle ctive bargaining because representatives of each group come together with a mand ate to work out a solution collectively. Experience has shown that this is far b etter than avoidance or withdrawal, and puts democratic processes in place to ac hieve "integrative problem solving", where people or groups who must find ways o f co-operating in the same organization, do so within their own agreed rules and procedures. Conciliation The dictionary defines conciliation as "the act of procuring good will or induci ng a friendly feeling". The Ghana Labour Regulations, i.e the Labour Act (Act 65 3) legislation provides for the process of conciliation in the workplace, whereb y groups who are in conflict and who have failed to reach agreement, can come to gether once again to attempt to settle their differences. This is usually attemp ted before the more serious step of a strike by workers or a lock-out by managem ent is taken; and it has been found useful to involve a facilitator in the conci liation process. Similarly, any other organizations (e.g. sports club, youth gro up or community organization) could try conciliation as a first step. The difference between negotiation, mediation, and arbitration Three methods of resolving situations that have reached the stage of open confli ct are often used by many different organizations. It is important to understand these methods, so that people can decide which methods will work best in their specific conflict situation: Negotiation: Hellriegel et al. (1992) define negotiation as a process in which t wo or more parties having both common conflict goals, state and discuss proposal concerning specific terms of a possible agreement. This is the process where mandated representatives of groups in a conflict situa tion meet together in order to resolve their differences and to reach agreement. It is a deliberate process, conducted by representatives of groups, designed to reconcile differences and to reach agreements by consensus. The outcome is ofte n dependent on the power relationship between the groups. Negotiations often inv

olve compromise - one group may win one of their demands and give in on another. In workplaces, unions and management representatives usually use negotiations t o solve conflicts. Political and community groups also often use this method. Th is is often used by organized and labor unions in Ghana when they are demanding wages and salary increments. Mediation: when negotiations fail or get stuck, parties often call in an indepen dent mediator. This person or group will try to facilitate settlement of the con flict. The mediator plays an active part in the process, advises both or all gro ups, acts as intermediary and suggests possible solutions. In contrast to arbitr ation, mediators act only in an advisory capacity - they have no decision-making powers and cannot impose a settlement on the conflicting parties. Skilled mediat ors are able to gain trust and confidence from the conflicting groups or individ uals (Moore 1994). Arbitration: means the appointment of an independent person to act as an adjudic ator (or judge) in a dispute, to decide on the terms of a settlement. Both parti es in a conflict have to agree who the arbitrator should be, and that the decisi on of the arbitrator will be binding for all. Arbitration differs from mediation and negotiation in that it does not promote t he continuation of collective bargaining: the arbitrator listens to and investig ates the demands and counter-demands and takes over the role of decision-maker. People or organizations can agree on having either a single arbitrator or a pane l of arbitrators whom they respect and whose decision they will accept as final, in order to resolve the conflict. STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING CONFLICTS Tosi, Rizzo, and Carroll (1986) suggested four ways of managing conflicts, namel y through: Styles: Conflict handling behaviour styles (such as competition, collaboration, compromise, avoidance or accommodation) may be suitably encouraged, depending up on the situation. Improving organizational practices: After identifying the reason for the conflic t situation, suitable organizational practices can be used to resolve conflicts, including: establishing superordinate goals, reducing vagueness, minimizing aut hority and domain-related disputes, improving policies, procedures and rules, re -apportioning existing resources or adding new, altering communications, movemen t of personnel, and changing reward systems. Special roles and structure: A manager has to initiate needed structural change s including re-location or merging of specialized units, shouldering liaison fun ctions, and acting as an integrator to resolve conflicts. A person with problem -solving skills and respected by the conflicting parties can be designated to de -fuse conflicts. Confrontation techniques: Confrontation techniques aim at finding a mutually acc eptable and enduring solution through collaboration and compromise. It is done i n the hope that conflicting parties are ready to face each other amicably, and e ntails intercession, bargaining, negotiation, mediation, attribution and applica tion of the integrative decision method. This collaborative style is based on th e premise that there is a solution which can be accepted by both parties. It inv olves a process of defining the problem, searching for alternatives and their ev aluation, and deciding by consensus. Individual reactions to conflict Since conflict may be positively or negatively evaluated, there may be a range o f reactions to it. These reactions might go from high expectation and pleasure t o absolute rejection. In a very broad sense, the individual in a conflict situat ion has only two options: sign up or ship out. Nevertheless, the choice is too d ramatic, and it is rare when the situational factors permit only this form of re sponse. Usually, there is a pad of acceptance which insulates the individual from absolu te or harsh decisions. Massie and Douglas (1992) identify this as the zone of in difference. As a normal event, the individual constantly checks to see whether h is personal goals are consistent with the goals of social groups to which he bel ongs. He continues to function in groups which generally support his goals even

though there might be day-to-day conflicts between them. This, then, is the zone of indifference and the means of accommodation which we all use in our normal f unctioning in society. The incongruity of the individual's and the group's goals is not sufficient to cause his voluntary severing of the relationship. A high zone of indifference permits loyalty to a group in spite of many differen ces between personal and group goals. This is our norm because it is rare when w e agree fully with our group. Even in the family group, perhaps our closest asso ciation, we have frequent even though minor disagreements as to goals. A narrow or low zone of indifference offers little such tolerance. In conflict events, th e person with a low zone of indifference may opt to ship out. Rejection of the conflict situation may result in shipping out, resignation whic h may be temporary or permanent. The response might be as mild as taking a few d ays of respite, thus the therapeutic value of leave, vacation, and recreation. P erhaps, in certain organizations, it would be a sabbatical or volunteering for s pecial duty in a new environment. Then, too, it can be total severance with the goal of a fresh start in a different organization. Or, it might be using the per sonnel system to find a clean start through internal transfer to another sub ele ment of the organization. Acceptance of the conflict situation might be manifested in a surge of initiativ e, a flow of creativity, or a push for productivity. These efforts might result from stimulation of perceived differences, or they might be the observable behav ior representing a strong desire for promotion and, thus, escape from the confli ct. The net effect may well be good for both the organization and the person. Li ke Steve Jobs of Apple where he expected people working with him to do the impos sible. There is also the individual who reacts to conflict by avoidance. He may choose to be a lamb who hides his needs and saves them for an opportune time when he ha s a definite advantage over his opponent. He may choose the silent treatment wit h the idea that it takes two to fight. The opposite is the individual who choose s to meet conflict head on. The lamb-like approach is thought to be the more dan gerous. All too often, in the final analysis, the lamb becomes the lion. As soon as the opponent falls or is in critical need of help, he gets pounced on and de stroyed by the tension and aggression building up so long within the lamb. Thus, the lamb-like approach may in reality be the dangerous hidden bomb for the grou p. A host of other forms of reaction might be described. One is resignation on the job in which the individual comes to work but with apathy, reduced loyalty, and decreased involvement. We probably all know such a person. We refer to them as R etired On Active Duty (ROAD) and find them in the civilian as well as the govern ment worlds. Another might be rationalization or the creation of a wall of reaso ns for his situation, none of which assigns any responsibility to him. MEANS TO STIMULATE CONFLICT Not all conflict is bad. Therefore, there will be times when a manager would wan t conflict (of the right type), and it would be advantageous for him to know som e means of stimulation. In a number of instances, he could strive to create the situations he earlier worked to eliminate. For example, he might create win-lose situations in which a form of competitiveness might be engendered. This often works in such areas as selling an idea recognizing the creation of new approache s to organizational success. A means to do this according to Minkes (1994) is to de-emphasize the need for everyone to contribute to overall organizational succ ess. That is, the manager begins to emphasize the accomplishments or performance of individual people, or separate units, in lieu of stressing the performance o f the whole. He must be cautious, though, to avoid creating a monster that becom es an even greater problem than the absence of productive conflict. Individuals are the creative segments of society. True, the synergism of two or more individuals often makes us think of organizational creativity, but really, it is the individual who creates. Therefore, stimulation of creative conflict ca n be obtained by increasing the autonomy of individuals on their jobs. A less de manding imposed structure, granting more freedom for the individual to choose an d decide for himself, usually creates an environment in which the creative natur

e is fanned to flame. Similarly, a decrease in supervisory overhead (a widening of the organization) can accomplish this result. Again, though, the manager must be cautious and remain in control of the situation lest it get out of hand. It is sometimes easy to forget the real goals of the organization as we get enmeshe d in the thrill of innovation. Another means of stimulation is to de-clarify goals. That is, redefined them in such a manner as to create questions and discussion. The cautions already stated apply, but this device can serve many useful purposes. A principal gain can be the encouragement of challenge and question for all operating segments, policies , and procedures of the organization. When people begin to question what they ar e doing, how they are doing it, or why they are doing it, new ideas and approach es begin to surface. So encourage questioning and challenging what exist is as a method of stimulating desired differences of thought. The "rebel," the individu al who does not blindly accept what already exists, can be such a stimulant. He or she can be discomforted, but energized, as each asks those questions that the old hands and the managers cannot readily answer with convincing logic. A plant ed rebel can be a stimulating device if the organizational element in which he i s placed is strong enough to handle the turbulence likely to follow. Conflict is a state of unresolved difference between two entities, human or orga nization. Sometimes the difference is functionally productive, as with creativit y; but sometimes it is dysfunctional, as with war or sabotage or less drastic re sults. Conflict should not therefore, be naturally considered either bad or good . It will be good or bad depending upon the value base of the interpreter. Howev er, conflict of some form is inevitable whenever two or more humans are in some interdependent relationship. The important aspect of conflict is how the human p articipants relate and respond to it. Managers must control conflict. That is, t hey must keep dysfunctional conflict at an acceptable level, but, also, they mus t learn to stimulate functionally productive conflict when it is at a too low le vel. Conclusion We must expect conflict to occur in our organizations. We should be disappointed if it does not because conflict exists only within the context of interdependen ce. There can be no conflict when there is no awareness of another meaning, role , or value than ones own. Thus, conflict is a relationship between segments of an interrelated system: persons, a group, an organization, a community, a nation. There can be no conflict if those involved sense no differences. However, in the environment of interpersonal relationship, there will always be difference, and conflict will be the norm, not the exception. We need to manage conflict in order to obtain profitable return from it. Managin g conflict requires that we consider not only the required guidance and control to keep conflict at an acceptable level but also the activity to encourage prope r conflict when the level is too low. Who would want to lead an organization wit hout the energy and force accompanying the conflict of creativity and initiative ? Stephen R. P (1974) makes a strong case for the need for a more realistic approa ch to conflict with his interactionist approach. He states that there are three basic managerial attitudes toward conflict which he identifies as traditional, b ehavioral and interactionist. The traditionalist, following our social teaching, believes that all conflicts are destructive and managements role is to get them out of the organization. The traditionalist, therefore, believes conflict should be eliminated. The behavioralist seeks to rationalize the existence of conflict and accurately perceives conflict as inevitable in complex organizations or rel ationships. Thus, according to Mandros, Woodrow and Weinstein (1992) the behavio ralist "accepts" it. The interactionist views conflict as absolutely necessary, encourages opposition, defines management of conflict to include stimulation as well as resolution and considers the management of conflict as a major responsib ility of all administrators. The interactionist views are accepted and encourage conflict. This book uses the interactionist approach. An organization that both encourages healthy debate and nips inappropriate behav iors in the bud goes a long way to nurturing a culture of growth and respect amo

ngst its employees.

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