In an organizational process, the management has many aspects to consider for a workplace to be harmonious and successful. One of these things that should not be left unattended is any presence of conflict. Conflict happens when individuals or groups do not meet their needs and when they do not find satisfaction to their own wants or self-interest.
Conflict can be internal when the conflict is only within the individual; it is external if it is between two or more individuals or between groups. Some people are not aware of the need and react negatively toward the situation unconsciously. Some people know what they want and would work hard at achieving such goal even to the point of going through conflict.
Situations that are triggered by fear, force, sense of fairness, and funds create conflict. In any type of circumstance, even in a workplace or organization, conflict is inevitable. When there are differences in background and orientations among employees in working toward a goal, conflict arises.
It is the differences of many aspects such as values, attitudes, needs, expectations, viewpoints, and personalities that cause conflict in an organization. But despite the inevitability of conflict, it can be minimized and even resolved when properly dealt with.
Reasons Why Conflict Develops
Organizational or workplace conflict is rooted from poor communication, weak leadership, change in leadership, dissatisfaction with management style, and seeking power. For example, when an employee demands for work recognition such as an increase in compensation or a promotion, this scenario may cause conflict when the person’s interest is not acknowledged. This is a good example of conflict that is developed because of poor management style.
Disagreement is a common reason for conflict. People disagree on many things such as contrasting opinions on a certain subject matter because we all have our own beliefs and principles. Even emotional differences cause conflict. When it comes to decisions, even management pushes on individual proposals.
Elements of Conflict
There are 3 elements involved in an organizational conflict: power, organizational demands, and self-worth. These components must be aptly matched through important organizational processes and decisions to resolve a conflict.
Power is the individual’s capacities and means in getting a goal done. This element uses personal influence, information, and time. Managers and those in the higher management make good use of power to resolve conflict, making the members cooperate toward reaching a unanimous decision. But when not used properly, power can also develop conflict.
Organizational demands pertain to the expectations of a working individual regarding the job performance. There are employees who tend to have very high expectations of the company for them which can be rather impractical and difficult for the organization to provide. When these are not met, the person becomes disappointed and dismayed, leading him to cause conflict through constant disputes and protests on the processes.
Self-worth is the individual’s self-esteem or value for oneself. When you work for a particular organization, you always want to show that you can perform and deliver. An employee wants to be rewarded and properly compensated for the kind of performance that is shown. If this is not acknowledged, the person may feel unappreciated for the efforts shown. The feeling of loss of self-worth may arise in conflict.
Effects of Conflict
The existence of conflict in an organization may have both positive and negative results on the people involved and the general situation. The outcome depends on how conflict was handled and dealt with by the people involved.
When conflict is efficiently managed, it can diffuse more serious conflicts. An example of this would be when two groups are in a disagreement over a certain process, they can be grouped into smaller groups and let the sub-groups do brainstorming, so a larger dispute will be dispersed and varying opinions will be considered.
Conflict also stimulates a search for new information and tightens or increases unity and performance in a group. An individual or a group’s ability to use power or conflict management skill will also be measured.
On the other hand, the existence of conflict may cause a delay in formulating decisions or resolution especially if it is not managed well. Although it increases group cohesion, it still becomes a hindrance in the smooth flow of carrying out the job.