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I have taken efforts in this project. However, it

would not have been possible without the kind support and help of
my friends and teachers. I would like to extend my sincere thanks
to all of them.

I am highly indebted to Assistant Professor

Jyotirmayee for their guidance and constant supervision as well as
for providing necessary information regarding the project & also
for their support in completing the project.

I would like to express my gratitude towards my

parents & teachers of college for their kind co-operation and
encouragement which help me in completion of this project.

I would like to express my special gratitude and

thanks to Head of the Department Dr. Sarabjeet Singh Shergill for
giving me such attention and time.

My thanks and appreciations also go to my

classmates in developing the project and people who have
willingly helped me out with their abilities."
I hereby declare that the project entitled
“________________________________________” submitted for
the "________________" is my original work and the project has
not formed the basis for the award of any degree, associateship,
fellowship or any other similar titles.
Signature of the Student:

Conflict may involve individual or group disagreements,
struggles, disputes, quarrels, or even physical fighting and wars. It
ranges from work issues of responsibility, power, authority, and
ethics to interpersonal matters like misunderstandings, difference
of opinion and poor communication between two persons. Conflict
can be harmful to employee satisfaction and job performance if it
becomes excessive and unmanageable. Conflict also rampantly
occurs at school. Principals have experienced with many problems
of school administration such as financial problem, school climate
and school facilities. Conflict management also is a part of school
administration problem. Conflict happens whenever and wherever
in school hence principal‟s decision making can influence
everyone and control the situation to get better or worse.
Unresolved conflicts can lead to job dissatisfaction, high
absenteeism and turnover, prolonged disruption of activities, and
lack of concerted effort by organization members.

Whenever two individuals opine in different ways, a

conflict arises. In a layman’s language conflict is nothing but a
fight either between two individuals or among group members. No
two individuals can think alike and there is definitely a difference
in their thought process as well as their understanding.
Disagreements among individuals lead to conflicts and fights.
Conflict arises whenever individuals have different values,
opinions, needs, interests and are unable to find a middle way.

Meaning of Conflict:
Conflict is defined as a clash between
individuals arising out of a difference in thought process,
attitudes, understanding, interests, requirements and even
sometimes perceptions. A conflict results in heated arguments,
physical abuses and definitely loss of peace and harmony. A
conflict can actually change relationships.
A Conflict not only can arise between individuals but
also among countries, political parties and states as well. A small
conflict not controlled at the correct time may lead to a large war
and rifts among countries leading to major unrest and disharmony.

Meaning of Management Conflict:

Conflict management minimizes the negative outcomes
of conflict and promotes the positive outcomes of conflict with
the goal of improving learning in an organization.

Characteristics of Conflict:

1. Conflict is a Process:
Conflict occurs in ‘layers’. First layer is always
misunderstanding. The other layers are differences of values,
differences of viewpoint, differences of interest, and interpersonal
differences. It is also called a process because it begins with one
party perceiving the other to oppose or negatively affect its
interests and ends with competing, collaborating, compromising or
2. Conflict is Inevitable:
Conflict exists everywhere. No two persons are the
same. Hence they may have individual differences. And the
differences may be because of values or otherwise, lead to conflict.
Although inevitable, conflict can be minimized, diverted and/or
resolved. Conflict develops because we are dealing with people’s
lives, jobs, children, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission.
Conflict is inevitable and often good, for example, good teams
always go through a “form, storm, norm and perform” period.

3. Conflict is a Normal Part of Life:

Individuals, groups, and organisations have
unlimited needs and different values but limited resources. Thus,
this incompatibility is bound to lead to conflicts. The conflict is not
a problem, but if it is poorly managed then it becomes a problem.

4. Perception:
It must be perceived by the parties to it, otherwise
it does not exist. In interpersonal interaction, perception is more
important than reality. What we perceive and think affects our
behaviour, attitudes, and communication.

5. Opposition:
One party to the conflict must be perceiving or
doing something the other party does not like or want.
6. Interdependence and Interaction:
There must be some kind of real or perceived
interdependence. Without interdependence there can be no
interaction. Conflict occurs only when some kind of interaction
takes place.

7. Everyone is inflicted with Conflict:

Conflict may occur within an individual, between
two or more individuals, groups or between organisations.

8. Conflict is not Unidimensional:

It comes into different ways in accordance with
degree of seriousness and capacity. At times, it may improve even
a difficult situation.

Phases of conflict
A conflict has five phases.

1. Prelude to conflict - It involves all the factors which

possibly arise a conflict among individuals. Lack of
coordination, differences in interests, dissimilarity in cultural,
religion, educational background all are instrumental in
arising a conflict.
2. Triggering Event - No conflict can arise on its own. There
has to be an event which triggers the conflict. Jenny and Ali
never got along very well with each other. They were from
different cultural backgrounds, a very strong factor for
possibility of a conflict.Ali was in the mid of a presentation
when Jenny stood up and criticized him for the lack of
relevant content in his presentation, thus triggering the
conflict between them.

3. Initiation Phase - Initiation phase is actually the phase when

the conflict has already begun. Heated arguments, abuses,
verbal disagreements are all warning alarms which indicate
that the fight is already on.

4. Differentiation Phase - It is the phase when the individuals

voice out their differences against each other. The reasons for
the conflict are raised in the differentiation phase.

5. Resolution Phase - A Conflict leads to nowhere. Individuals

must try to compromise to some extent and resolve the
conflict soon. The resolution phase explores the various
options to resolve the conflict.
Conflicts can be of many types like verbal conflict,
religious conflict, emotional conflict, social conflict, personal
conflict, organizational conflict, community conflict and so

Conflicts and fighting with each other never lead to a

conclusion. If you are not on the same line as the other
individual, never fight, instead try your level best to sort out
your differences. Discussion is always a better and wiser way
to adopt rather than conflicts.

Let us understand conflict in a better

Tim and Joe were working in the same team and
were best of friends. One fine day, they were asked to give
their inputs on a particular project assigned to them by
their superior. There was a major clash in their
understanding of the project and both could not agree to
each other’s opinions. Tim wanted to execute the project
in a particular way which did not go well with Joe. The
outcome of the difference in their opinions was a conflict
between the two and now both of them just can’t stand
each other.
The dissimilarity in the interest, thought process,
nature and attitude of Tim and Joe gave rise to a conflict
between the two.

Causes of Organizational Conflict:

In order to survive, a company must focus its efforts
on generating revenue in the face of competition. According
to Ryan Bannerman Associates, sometimes the need to focus
on beating the competition can get derailed by internal
organizational conflict. In order to keep your employees
focused on being productive and bettering the competition, it
is necessary to understand the causes of organizational

Managerial Expectations
It is the job of an employee to meet the expectations
of his manager, but if those expectations are misunderstood,
conflict can arise. Managers need to spend time clearly
communicating their goals to employees and then confirming
those goals in writing. A manager should also encourage her
employees to ask questions about their goals, and hold
regular meetings to discuss the goals and how best to reach
Breakdown in Communication
If a department requires information from another
department in order to do its job, and the second department
does not respond to the request for information, a conflict can
arise. Some interdepartmental disagreements might trigger a
nonresponsive attitude that can quickly become an internal
conflict. Another way of creating this sort of conflict is by
giving a circular response such as an issue being perpetually
"under review." When people or departments are late in
responding to information requests, or they are withholding
information on purpose, it is best to address the situation
immediately with a personal meeting with both sides to
resolve the situation.

Misunderstanding the Information

According to mediation expert Robert D. Benjamin,
writing on, internal conflict can sometimes
arise as the result of a simple misunderstanding. One person
may misunderstand information, and that can trigger a series
of conflicts. In order to deal with this kind of situation, it is
best to have the person admit her misunderstanding and work
with the affected parties to remedy the situation. For
example, if the production manager misunderstands the
product manufacturing goals, then the sales manager may not
have enough product to sell. Taking responsibility for a
mistake can quickly defuse a potential organizational

Lack of Accountability
Organizational conflict might arise from frustration.
One source of frustration is a lack of accountability. If
something has gone wrong, and no one is willing to take
responsibility for the problem, this lack of accountability can
start to permeate throughout the entire company until the
issue is resolved. One way to combat a lack of accountability
is to have anyone who comes into contact with a document
sign his name to it and include the date. The paper trail may
sometimes find the source of the problem, which can then be

Preventing Conflict - How to avoid

Conflict ?

A difference in the opinions, values, understandings and thought

processes of individuals lead to a conflict. When individuals
strongly oppose each other’s ideas and concepts, a conflict starts. It
has been observed that when people think in dissimilar ways and
are not willing to compromise at all, conflict arises.

Conflict can start anytime and at any place when individuals are
not ready to accept the middle path approach. A conflict results in
verbal arguments, abuses, tensions and also spoils relationships.

Before starting any conflict one should take some time out to
think, “How will this fight benefit me?” “Is it going to provide
me any solution ?”
Nothing beneficial and productive comes out of a conflict. It is
simply a wastage of time and energy for and thus every individual
should try his level best to prevent conflict.

First learn to keep a control on your emotions. Never ever get

too hyper or overreact as it leads you nowhere. Always remember
the other individual you are dealing with might not be as educated
as you, might not be from the same background as you are, but you
have no right to ridicule his opinions.

Be a good and a patient listener. Listen carefully what the other

person has to say and then only give your expert comments.Even if
you don’t agree to his suggestions, don’t just start fighting, instead
discuss with him. Both of the individuals must try to compromise
to some extent and find a solution. Conflicts only add on to your
anxiety and thus it must be avoided at any cost.

Never be rigid on any point, instead be flexible and try to find

out an alternative.

Learn to keep a control on your tongue. One must think before

he speaks. Don’t unnecessarily shout on others as it not only spoils
the ambience but also brings a lot of negativity around. Soften your
voice while interacting with others and learn to adjust with others.
Sit with the other person and try to sort out your differences.

Misunderstandings also lead to conflicts, so be very clear and

transparent in your communications. Never play with words and
the content of your communication has to be specific to avoid
conflicts. Do cross check with the speaker whether he has
understood everything in the desired form or not, failing which
would lead to misunderstandings and eventually to a fight.
Effective communication goes a long way in preventing
conflicts. Don’t always expect the other person to understand
everything on his own. It is your moral responsibility to make him
aware of what you exactly expect out of him.
Every individual has the right to express his views and opinions,
and you have no right to criticize him. If you respect other
individuals, you will get respect in return. If a conflict arises
among group members; make sure you address all the participants
together. The issues and problems must be addressed on an open
forum. Personal favours and biases must be avoided for a peaceful
environment. Listen to each and everyone’s opinion and then only
take a decision. Be a good leader and try to take everyone along.
Keep your mind calm and composed.

Don’t feel guilty if you have done anything wrong, instead admit
it. Never hesitate to accept your faults. Be the first one to
apologize. A small sorry can work wonders and prevent
conflicts and unnecessary tensions.

If the other individual is too demanding and adamant and is just

not willing to listen, the best solution is to avoid him. You can’t be
everyone’s favourite, learn to ignore people who are just not
flexible and always ready to initiate a conflict. Don’t always bother
what the other person has to say about you. Always act in a manner
which you think is appropriate and don’t just blindly trust the
rumor mills.

No one wins in a fight and you gain nothing out of it. As they
say “Prevention is better than cure”, thus a conflict must be
prevented at its early stages as it snatches one’s mental peace and
Transitions in Conflict Thought:
It is entirely appropriate to say that there has been
“conflict over the role of conflict” in groups and organizations.
One school of thought has argued that conflict must be avoided
that it indicates a mal functioning within the group. We call this the
traditional view. Another school of thought the human relations
view, argues that conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in any
group and that it need not be evil, but rather has potential to be a
positive force in determining group performance The third, and
most recent, perspective proposes not only that conflict can be a
positive force in a group but explicitly argues that some conflict is
absolutely necessary for a group outperform effectively. We label
this third school the interactions view. Let’s take a closer look at
each of these views.

The traditional View:

The early approach to conflict assumed that all

conflict was bad. Conflict was viewed negatively and it was used
synonymous with such terms as violence, destruction and
irrationality to reinforce its negative connotation. Conflict by
definition, was harmful and was to be avoided. The traditional
view was consistent with attitudes that prevailed about group
behavior in the 1930s and 1940s. Conflict was seen as a
dysfunctional outcome resulting from poor communication, lack of
openness and trust between people and the failure of managers to
be responsive to the needs and aspirations of their employees.
The view that all conflict is bad certainly offers a
simple approach to looking at the behavior of people who create
conflict. Because all conflict is to be avoided, we need merely
direct our attention to the causes of conflict and correct these mal-
functioning’s to improve group and organizational performance.
Although research studies do not provide strong evidence to
dispute that this approach to conflict reduction result in high group
performance, many of us still evaluate conflict situations using this
outmoded standard.

The Human Relations View:

The human relations view argued that conflict was a

natural occurrence in all groups and organizations. Because
conflict was inevitable, the human relations school advocated
acceptance of conflict. Proponents rationalized its existence. It
cannot be eliminated, and there are times when conflict may
benefit a group’s performance. The human relations view
dominated conflict theory from the late 1940 through the mid-

The Interaction view:

While the human relations view accepted conflict,

the interactionist view encourage conflicts on the grounds that a
harmonious, peaceful, tranquil, and cooperative group is prone to
becoming static apathetic and non-responsive to needs for change
in innovation. The major contribution of the ineteractionist view
therefore is encouraging group leaders to maintain an ongoing
minimum level of conflict enough to keep the group viable, self
critical and creative.
The inetractionist’s view does not purpose that all
conflicts are good. Rather some conflicts support the goals of the
group and improve its performance these are functional
constructive firms of conflict. In addition, there are conflicts that
hinder group performance these are dysfunctional or destructive of
destructive forms of conflict. What differentiates functional for,
dysfunctional conflicts? The evidence indicates that you need to
look at the type of conflict. Specifically there are three types: Task,
relationship and process.
Task conflict relates to the content and goals of the
work. Relationship conflict focuses on interpersonal relationships.
Process conflict relates to how the work gets done. Studies
demonstrate that relationship conflicts are almost dysfunctional.
Why? It appears that the friction and inter personal hostilities
inherent in relationship conflicts increase personality clashes and
decrease mutual understanding, which hinders the completion of
the organizational tasks However, low level of process conflict and
low-to-moderate levels of task conflict are functional. For process
conflict to be productive, it must be kept low. Intense arguments
about who should do what become dysfunctional when they create
uncertainty about task roles increase the time to complete tasks and
lead to members working at cross purposes. Low to moderate
levels of task conflict consistently demonstrates a positive effect on
group performance because it stimulates discussion of ideas that
helps groups perform better.

Functional VS Dysfunctional Conflict:

Though usually people think of it as a bad thing, conflict can be a
positive occurrence within an organization to bring about change.
Two types of conflict are dysfunctional (negative conflict) and
functional conflict (positive conflict).

Types of Conflict:

When most people hear the word conflict, they think

of the term in a negative manner. Surprisingly, conflict can actually
be a positive within an organization. Conflict can bring about
change, improve situations and offer new solutions. Two types of
conflict that can occur within a company are functional and
dysfunctional. Functional conflict is healthy, constructive
disagreement between groups or individuals, while dysfunctional
conflict is unhealthy disagreement that occurs between groups or

Functional Conflict:

Susie Steel is a vice president in a real estate

development firm called Hearts Development. She has spent
enormous amounts of energy cultivating a relationship with a local
town regarding an available plot of land. Susie would like to
purchase the land to build townhomes for sale. She has developed
an excellent relationship with the town politicians and community
An issue has developed over the planned usage of the
land, though. The town will sell the land to Susie's company but
feels that townhomes would be bad for the overall community.
They're concerned with the additional cost and burden of kids that
the townhomes would bring into the community. Susie understands
the community's concern and wants a win-win situation to occur.
She feels that this issue will be a functional conflict due to the fact
that the disagreement will bring a positive end result to both
parties. Positive results of functional conflict include:

 Awareness of both sides of issues

 Improvement of working conditions due to accomplishing
solutions together
 Solving issues together to improve overall morale
 Making innovations and improvements within an

In Susie's case, constructive criticism and discussion

resulted in a compromise and a solution between the parties. Susie
understood the town's concern but needed to find something to
build that would bring revenue for the company. Through their
joint meetings, the end solution was for Hearts Development to
build a retirement community, which would only have citizens 55
and over living in the town. This would eliminate the issue of
having more young people come into town and burden the school

Dysfunctional Conflict:

Sometimes, conflict can be a very negative

experience for companies. Susie's colleague, John Dirt, is also a
vice president of development at Hearts. He also has a major
conflict regarding a construction project. He is looking to build a
nuclear power plant in an East Coast town. The town is
vehemently against having a power plant, and the discussions have
been heated in conflict. This is a win-lose situation, or a
dysfunctional conflict. Most dysfunctional conflicts are unhealthy
and stem from emotional or behavioral origins.
The town is very emotional over the fact that a
possible nuclear power plant could be built in their neighborhood.
They are extremely concerned with the danger and health issues.
John Dirt has had to use threats, personal attacks and deception in
order to get his power plant plans passed by the town. Negative
results of dysfunctional conflict include:

 Individuals use threats, verbal abuse and deception, which

destroy relationships
 Both parties can end up losing in this type of conflict
 This type of conflict can lead to retaliation and further acts of
The Conflict Process:
The Effects of Conflict Within an

Mental Health Concerns

Conflict within an organization can cause members to

become frustrated if they feel as if there’s no solution in sight, or if
they feel that their opinions go unrecognized by other group
members. As a result, members become stressed, which adversely
affects their professional and personal lives. Organization members
may have problems sleeping, loss of appetite or overeating,
headaches and become unapproachable. In some instances,
organization members may avoid meetings to prevent themselves
from experiencing stress and stress-related symptoms.

Decrease in Productivity

When an organization spends much of its time dealing

with conflict, members take time away from focusing on the core
goals they are tasked with achieving. Conflict causes members to
focus less on the project at hand and more on gossiping about
conflict or venting about frustrations. As a result, organizations can
lose money, donors and access to essential resources.

Members Leave Organization

Organization members who are increasingly frustrated

with the level of conflict within an organization may decide to end
their membership. This is especially detrimental when members
are a part of the executive board or heads of committees. Once
members begin to leave, the organization has to recruit new
members and appoint acting board members. In extreme cases,
where several members leave or an executive board steps down,
organizations risk dissolution.


When conflict escalates without mediation, intense

situations may arise between organization members. It’s
unfortunate, but organizational conflicts may cause violence
among members, resulting in legal problems for members and
possibly the organization.

Inspire Creativity

Fortunately, some organization members view conflict

as an opportunity for finding creative solutions to solve problems.
Conflict can inspire members to brainstorm ideas, while examining
problems from various perspectives
Share And Respect Opinions

As organization members work together to solve conflict,

they are more willing to share their opinions with the group.
Conflict can also cause members to actively listen to each as they
work to accomplish the organizations’ goals.

Improve Future Communication

Conflict can bring group members together and help

them learn more about each other. From learning each others’
opinions on topics relevant to the organization’s growth to
understanding each member’s preferred communication style,
conflict within an organization can give members the tools
necessary to easily solve conflicts in the future.

Identify New Members

Within organizations members actively participate in

each meeting, enjoy serving on multiple committees and have an
opinion on each topic the group discusses. There are also members
who seemingly contribute little to the group and observe more than
talk. Conflict within an organization can inspire typically silent
members to step up and demonstrate their leadership skills by
offering meaningful solutions to the problem the group is facing.

Stages of Conflict:
A manager must know various stages of conflict to
handle it. The solution to conflict becomes easy before it becomes
serious, if he knows of the real issue behind the conflict and how
the conflict developed. Normally a conflict passes through the
following stages:

a. People recognise lack of resources, diversity of language or

culture. Sensitiveness may possibly result in conflict.

b. If there are serious differences between two or among more than

two groups, the latent conflict in a competitive situation may turn
out into conflict.

c. An incident may trigger a latent conflict into an open conflict

d. Once a problem has been solved, the potential for conflict still
remains in the aftermath. In fact the potential is bigger than before,
if one party perceives that the resolution has resulted into win-lose

Different Types of Conflicts:

1. Group Level Conflict:

Group conflict can be separated into two sub-

categories of conflict: inter-group conflict (in which distinct groups
of individuals are at odds with one another), and intra-group
conflict (in which select individuals that are part of the same group
clash with one another). Although both forms of conflict have the
ability to spiral upward in severity, it has been noted that conflict
present at the group level (i.e., inter-group rivalries) is generally
considered to be more powerful than conflict present at an
individual level – a phenomenon known as the discontinuity effect.

2.Organisational Level Conflict:

Organizational conflict, or workplace conflict, is
a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of
needs, values and interests between people working together.
Conflict takes many forms in organizations. There is the inevitable
clash between formal authority and power and those individuals
and groups affected. There are disputes over how revenues should
be divided, how the work should be done, and how long and hard
people should work. There are jurisdictional disagreements among
individuals, departments, and between unions and management.
There are subtler forms of conflict involving rivalries, jealousies,
personality clashes, role definitions, and struggles for power and
favor. There is also conflict within individuals – between
competing needs and demands – to which individuals respond in
different ways.

3. Interpersonal Conflict:
Interpersonal conflict occurs when a person or group
of people frustrates or interferes with another person's efforts at
achieving a goal. According to some researchers, conflict can
consist of three different components.

The behavioral component of conflict involves

someone interfering with the objectives of another person. For
example, a co-worker and you may be competing in a sales
contest, and he constantly bugs you during your sales calls to trip
up your sales pitch. He also throws away message slips from your
potential customers that the receptionist leaves when you're away
from your desk.

The cognitive component involves a disagreement

between the parties that illustrates the differences between the
interests and objectives of the conflicting parties. For example, as
the vice president of research and development, you may have a
disagreement with the vice president of production over the
allocation of company resources because you each have different
goals and objectives that relate to your particular division.

The affective component relates to the negative emotional states

of the conflicting parties. For example, conflict with a co-worker
may make you feel anger, stressed, and frustrated.

4.Individual Conflict:
Within an organization, there are three major conflicts
caused by individuals as suggested by Druckman (1993). They

1. Interest conflict– regarding preferred outcomes a

discrepancy between individuals occur
2. Understanding conflict– disagreements of interpersonal
conflict about the good way to gain shared goal, and
3. Ideology conflict– disputants’ differences in the values

Conflict Management Techniques:

Conflict situations are an important aspect of the

workplace. A conflict is a situation when the interests, needs, goals
or values of involved parties interfere with one another. A conflict
is a common phenomenon in the workplace. Different stakeholders
may have different priorities; conflicts may involve team members,
departments, projects, organization and client, boss and
subordinate, organization needs vs. personal needs. Often, a
conflict is a result of perception. Is conflict a bad thing? Not
necessarily. Often, a conflict presents opportunities for
improvement. Therefore, it is important to understand (and apply)
various conflict resolution techniques.

Also known as competing. An individual firmly pursues
his or her own concerns despite the resistance of the other person.
This may involve pushing one viewpoint at the expense of another
or maintaining firm resistance to another person’s actions.

Examples of when forcing may be appropriate

 In certain situations when all other, less forceful methods,

don’t work or are ineffective
 When you need to stand up for your own rights, resist
aggression and pressure
 When a quick resolution is required and using force is
justified (e.g. in a life-threatening situation, to stop an
 As a last resort to resolve a long-lasting conflict

Possible advantages of forcing:

 May provide a quick resolution to a conflict

 Increases self-esteem and draws respect when firm resistance
or actions were a response to an aggression or hostility

Some caveats of forcing:

 May negatively affect your relationship with the opponent in

the long run
 May cause the opponent to react in the same way, even if the
opponent did not intend to be forceful originally
 Cannot take advantage of the strong sides of the other side’s
 Taking this approach may require a lot of energy and be
exhausting to some individuals

Win-Win (Collaborating)
Also known as problem confronting or problem
solving. Collaboration involves an attempt to work with the other
person to find a win-win solution to the problem in hand - the one
that most satisfies the concerns of both parties. The win-win
approach sees conflict resolution as an opportunity to come to a
mutually beneficial result. It includes identifying the underlying
concerns of the opponents and finding an alternative which
meets each party's concerns.

Examples of when collaborating may be appropriate:

 When consensus and commitment of other parties is

 In a collaborative environment
 When it is required to address the interests of multiple
 When a high level of trust is present
 When a long-term relationship is important
 When you need to work through hard feelings, animosity, etc
 When you don't want to have full responsibility

Possible advantages of collaborating:

 Leads to solving the actual problem

 Leads to a win-win outcome
 Reinforces mutual trust and respect
 Builds a foundation for effective collaboration in the future
 Shared responsibility of the outcome
 You earn the reputation of a good negotiator
 For parties involved, the outcome of the conflict resolution is
less stressful (however, the process of finding and
establishing a win-win solution may be very involed – see the
caveats below)

Some caveats of collaborating:

 Requires a commitment from all parties to look for a

mutually acceptable solution
 May require more effort and more time than some other
methods. A win-win solution may not be evident
 For the same reason, collaborating may not be practical when
timing is crucial and a quick solution or fast response is
 Once one or more parties lose their trust in an opponent, the
relationship falls back to other methods of conflict resolution.
Therefore, all involved parties must continue collaborative
efforts to maintain a collaborative relationship

Compromising looks for an expedient and
mutually acceptable solution which partially satisfies both parties.

Examples of when compromise may be appropriate:

 When the goals are moderately important and not worth the
use of more assertive or more involving approaches, such as
forcing or collaborating
 To reach temporary settlement on complex issues
 To reach expedient solutions on important issues
 As a first step when the involved parties do not know each
other well or haven’t yet developed a high level of mutual
 When collaboration or forcing do not work

Possible advantages of compromise:

 Faster issue resolution. Compromising may be more practical

when time is a factor
 Can provide a temporary solution while still looking for a
win-win solution
 Lowers the levels of tension and stress resulting from the

Some caveats of using compromise:

 May result in a situation when both parties are not satisfied

with the outcome (a lose-lose situation)
 Does not contribute to building trust in the long run
 May require close monitoring and control to ensure the
agreements are met

Also known as avoiding. This is when a person
does not pursue her/his own concerns or those of the opponent.
He/she does not address the conflict, sidesteps, postpones or
simply withdraws.

Examples of when withdrawing may be appropriate:

 When the issue is trivial and not worth the effort

 When more important issues are pressing, and you don't have
time to deal with it
 In situations where postponing the response is beneficial to
you, for example -
o When it is not the right time or place to confront the
o When you need time to think and collect information
before you act (e.g. if you are unprepared or taken by
 When you see no chance of getting your concerns met or you
would have to put forth unreasonable efforts
 When you would have to deal with ostility
 When you are unable to handle the conflict (e.g. if you are
too emotionally involved or others can handle it better)

Possible advantages of withdrawing:

 When the opponent is forcing / attempts aggression, you may

choose to withdraw and postpone your response until you are
in a more favourable circumstance for you to push back
 Withdrawing is a low stress approach when the conflict is
 Gives the ability/time to focus on more important or more
urgent issues instead
 Gives you time to better prepare and collect information
before you act

Some caveats of withdrawing:

 May lead to weakening or losing your position; not acting

may be interpreted as an agreement. Using withdrawing
strategies without negatively affecting your own position
requires certain skill and experience
 When multiple parties are involved, withdrawing may
negatively affect your relationship with a party that expects
your action
Also known as accommodating. Smoothing is
accommodating the concerns of other people first of all, rather than
one's own concerns.

Examples of when smoothing may be appropriate:

 When it is important to provide a temporary relief from the

conflict or buy time until you are in a better position to
respond/push back
 When the issue is not as important to you as it is to the other
 When you accept that you are wrong
 When you have no choice or when continued competition
would be detrimental

Possible advantages of smoothing:

 In some cases smoothing will help to protect more important

interests while giving up on some less important ones
 Gives an opportunity to reassess the situation from a different

Some caveats of smoothing:

 There is a risk to be abused, i.e. the opponent may constantly

try to take advantage of your tendency toward
smoothing/accommodating. Therefore it is important to keep
the right balance and this requires some skill.
 May negatively affect your confidence in your ability to
respond to an aggressive opponent
 It makes it more difficult to transition to a win-win solution
in the future
 Some of your supporters may not like your smoothing
response and be turned off

What Are the Benefits of Good

Conflict Resolution Skills?

Conflict is a natural occurrence, particularly in the

workplace when multiple employees work together. The varying
backgrounds and opinions of employees often lead to different
conclusions or ideas on how to handle work projects. While some
people choose to avoid conflict, others employ conflict
management skills to resolve the situation. Training employees and
yourself on conflict management provides beneficial skills for the

Stronger Relationships
Poorly managed conflict often causes friction
between the involved employees, possibly damaging the working
relationship. By learning how to resolve conflicts in a professional,
respectful manner, the employees involved are often able to
strengthen their relationships. The skills enable staff members to
work well together because the parties involved know how to
navigate the disagreement. Instead of fighting, insulting or
ignoring one another, the colleagues learn how to better
collaborate, which can help build their relationships.

Problem Solving
Conflict resolution skills enable employees to resolve
their own problems quickly and effectively. This allows the flow of
activity to continue in the workplace without extended disruptions
due to conflict that goes unresolved. Employees who know how to
handle conflict are also less likely to run to the manager to solve
every disagreement that arises related to work. All employees,
including the manager, are able to work more efficiently due to the
problem solving skills.

Reduced Tension
Conflict can cause tension between employees if
they don't know how to handle the situation. A disagreement that
stays unresolved causes that tension to build and often spreads to
other employees who weren't originally involved. If both parties
feel they are right and refuse to listen to one another, they may pit
themselves against one another, dragging in other employees to
choose sides. Tension due to unresolved conflict lowers morale in
the workplace and can stall the work flow. By training your
employees how to handle conflict on their own, the overall tension
decreases for a better working environment.

Increased Understanding
Conflict resolution skills allow people to move
beyond their own emotions and opinions to make objective
decisions. By teaching these skills in the workplace, you encourage
a deeper understanding of situations that arise and the other people
in the office. Employees learn how their colleagues feel and think,
as well as how to interact with them. The parties involved also take
a more thorough look at the situation and consider other possible
solutions. This can lead to learning on the specific work topic.

The Disadvantages of Conflict


Conflict in the workplace is inevitable, especially in

pressurized environments where deadlines are tight and the need to
produce is great. Organizations may attempt to restore the peace
and create a harmonious work environment by employing a variety
of conflict-resolution techniques. However, if the chosen technique
does not mesh with the style or personalities of the people
involved, conflict resolution could do more harm than good.

In some cases, attempting to resolve a workplace
conflict can actually escalate it. This can occur when the parties
involved refuse to admit any misconduct and attempt to blame the
other party instead. Both may become defensive and attempt to
protect themselves instead of trying to resolve the issue in a way
that satisfies everyone, which may only inflame the situation.
Lingering tensions can prevent the employees from working well
together in the future, which can hinder productivity.
Winners and Losers
Conflict resolution can sometimes mean that one
person wins and gets her way, leaving the other to feel defeated.
The "loser" in these situations may feel that the other person
emerged victorious due to her favored status, especially if the
conflict mediator was forced to choose one point of view over the
other. The defeated employee may harbor resentments against the
winner, the mediator or even the company, that may never go

If the chosen conflict resolution technique involves
extensive questioning by the mediator, the parties involved may
feel that they are being interrogated and that the mediator is
invading their privacy. The employees may be forced to divulge
sensitive or personal information they would rather not to make
public. If the information is used to provide an unfavorable
resolution to an employee, he might feel that he was manipulated
by the mediator, resulting in a permanent lack of trust.

Limited Effect
The resolution of a conflict may only be temporary,
and the situation may arise again in the future. This can occur with
a compromise technique where each party receives something of
value. The problem with a compromise is that none of the parties
are truly satisfied with the results, as they probably didn't gain
what they really wanted. While the result may be a temporary
truce, the lingering dissatisfaction may cause the conflict to flare
up again at the slightest provocation.
Are Conflicts Bad and Undesirable?
There are three viewpoints. The traditionalists view
conflict as bad and be avoided. In most of the cultures, this is what
is being taught – ‘If you cannot speak well, keep mum’,’ don’t
fight with anyone’, and alike.

The followers of human relations school opine that

conflict is natural and can be functional at sometime and
dysfunctional at other time. According to them, conflict provides
an avenue to know of opinions and an opportunity for creativity
and persuasion. Thus, it calls for an open approach to conflict.

The integrationists view conflict as inevitable and

stimulating conflict to some extent is helpful. Conflict is viewed as
a positive force except that when it is misdiagnosed, mismanaged,
or improperly avoided.

We are of the opinion that conflicts are inevitable,

not always bad or the same as discomfort, but key to them is
proper diagnosis and their resolution. Conflict is often needed as it-

a. Helps to raise and address problems,

b. Energizes work to be on the most appropriate issues,

c. Helps people “be real”, for example, it motivates them to

participate, and

d. Helps people learn how to recognize and benefit from their

Conflict becomes a problem when it:
a. Hampers productivity,

b. Lowers morale,

c. Causes more and continued conflicts, and

d. Causes inappropriate behaviours.

Conflict Indicators:
a. Body language

b. Colleagues not speaking to each other or ignoring each other

c. Deliberately undermining or not co-operating with each other, to

the downfall of the team

d. contradicting and bad-mouthing one another

e. Disagreements, regardless of issue

f. Withholding bad news

g. Surprises

h. Strong public statements

i. Airing disagreements through media

j. Conflicts in value system

k. Desire for power

l. Increasing lack of respect

m. Open disagreement

n. Lack of candour on budget problems or other sensitive issues

o. Lack of clear goals

p. No discussion of progress, failure relative to goals, failure to

evaluate the superintendent fairly, thoroughly or at all

q. Factions meeting to discuss issues separately, when they affect

the whole organisation

r. One group being left out of organising an event which should

include everybody

s. Groups using threatening slogans or symbols to show that their

group is right and the others are wrong.

Causes/ Reasons/Sources of Conflicts:

Conflicts may be caused by any one or more of the
following reasons:

1. Cognitive (Recognition and Understanding)

Dissonance (Difference of opinion):
It is a conflict between convergent (ability to
narrow the number of possible solutions to a problem by applying
logic and knowledge) and divergent thinking (thinking outwards
instead of inward).
2. Status:

Status is a state, condition, or situation. When

there is a need for status and a “wrong” person is promoted.

3. Incongruence:

A party is required to engage in an activity that is

incongruent with his or her needs or interests.

4. Incompatibility:

A party holds behavioural preferences like attitudes,

values, skills, goals, and perceptions, the satisfaction of which is
incompatible with another person’s implementation of his or her
preferences. Economics: Insufficient remuneration to employees.

5. Stress:
Conflicts from stress from external sources; i.e.,
functional or dysfunctional situations.

6. Poor or Inadequate Organisational Structure and

Lack of Teamwork.

7. Seeking Power:
Often a conflict for power struggle takes place when
everyone wants to be a leader and nobody wants to be a follower.
8. Weak Leadership:
Conflict is bound to result if someone of less stature
leads a more qualified and experienced worker.

Arbitrary interpretation and application of rules and policies: Lack

of transparency and openness creates dissatisfaction among the
affected people.

Differing viewpoints among colleagues about each other:

In case of joint action two parties may have partially exclusive

behavioural preferences.

Managerial Actions:

Poor communication (employees being not informed of new

decisions, programmes etc., not involved in decision making, and
rumor mongering allowed); insufficient resources (Disagreement
on allotment of work, stress from inadequate financial, equipment,
facilities, and other resources and privileges); absence of personal
chemistry between managers and employees (both sides having
rigidity, dislike for absence of self- traits); lack of clarity in roles
and responsibilities, arbitrariness in employees’ performance
appraisal; weak leadership, and inconsistent, too-strong, or
uninformed leadership (lack of openness, buck-passing with little
follow-through, lingering on issues, first-line managers failing to
understand their subordinates’ jobs). All these factors cause
Conflict Management Styles:
Conflict management must aim at minimizing affective
conflicts at all levels, attain and maintain a moderate amount of
substantive conflict, and also to match the status and concerns of
the two parties in conflict.

Many styles of conflict management behavior have

been researched in the past century. Mary Parker Follett described
them as domination, compromise, and integration (involves
openness, exchanging information, looking for alternatives, and
examining differences to solve the problem in a manner that is
acceptable to both parties).

She also mentioned avoidance and suppression as other forms of

handling conflicts. Robert R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton then
presented five styles: forcing, withdrawing, smoothing,
compromising, and problem solving. The five styles in currency in
21st century, as shown in Figure 20.2, are:
1. Avoidance (Leave-lose/win):
It is non-assertive and non-cooperative. The manager
may think or pretend that no conflict exists or just ignore it. This
strategy is used when the effort to resolve is not worth the salt. But
this approach over the time worsens the situation.

Avoidance might take the form of diplomatic

sidestepping the issue or postponing resolution in time to come or
simply withdrawing from a situation. A turtle is a symbol for
avoidance, because it can avoid everything by pulling its head and
legs into the shell to be off to everything.

2. Accommodating (Yield-lose/win):
Accommodating is non-assertive and cooperative, just
opposite of competing. To solve the conflict, if someone puts his
interests last so as to satisfy concerns of other people by giving in,
sacrificing, or accepting, or yielding to other’s view point, it is
called accommodation.

However, being too accommodating too often can

weaken your position to the point where your voice is never heard.
There will be high relationship orientation. This style is also used
when the new approach is to be used in the very near future. It may
solve the conflict for the other party, but a conflict will begin in
manager. This style is not objective.

A chameleon is a symbol of the accommodating style

since it changes its color to match the color of its environment. By
changing its color to accommodate its surroundings, , the
chameleon fits quietly into its environment.
3. Competing (Win/lose):
The style is assertive and non-cooperative. A person puts his/her
interests before anyone else’s interests. It is also known as
dominating style. One stands up for his rights and uses all the
power to win his position. There is low relationship orientation.
Managers, using this style, want others to follow his dictates or get
his way.

This style can be used only when one’s leadership is established.

There would be low relationship orientation Low relationships
orientation a lion can be a symbol of a competitive style. The lion’s
roar helps the lion to satisfy its interests.

4. Compromising (Mini-win/mini-lose):
It is some assertive and some cooperative.
Compromise is on the path toward collaboration, somewhere
between competition and accommodation. The style means mutual
give-and-take to satisfy both parties, or both may say, “Something
is better than nothing.” It has equal distance between competing
and accommodating.

There would be negotiated relationship orientation.

When the objective is to move on, not to stop the journey, the
manager may compromise. A zebra can be a symbol for the
compromising style. A zebra’s unique look seems to indicate that it
didn’t care if it was a black horse or a white horse, so it “split the
difference” and chose black and white stripes.

5. Collaborating (Win/win):
It is assertive as well as cooperative, just opposite of
avoiding. It may also be called integrative style. This style focuses
on satisfying the underlying concerns of both the parties, meeting
many current needs by working together. Through this style,
employees develop ownership and commitment. Sometimes this
style gives birth to new mutual needs.

Factors affecting Conflict Styles:

1. Gender:
Some of us use assertive conflict modes because of
our gender and particular kind of socialisation. Some males,
because they are male, were taught to “always stand up to
someone, and, if you have to fight, then fight”. If one was
socialized this way he will be more likely to use assertive conflict
modes versus using cooperative modes.

2. Self-concept:
The way we think and feel about ourselves and
opinions about others affects as to how we approach conflict with
the other person.

3. Expectations:
If we believe that our team or the other person
wants to resolve the conflict, we would be positive to resolve the

4. Position/Power:
Where do we stand in power status relationship with
the person we are in conflict? It means whether the other man is
equal to, more than, or less than us in status.

5. Life Experience:
Through knowledge and experience we might have
gained skills about conflict and “conflict management
understanding”. It enables us to determine what conflict mode to
use with the particular person with whom we are in conflict.

6. Communication skills:
The basic of conflict resolution and conflict
management is how effectively we communicate. People using
effective communication will be able to resolve conflicts with
greater ease and success.

How to Minimise (Manage) Inter-

Personal Conflicts? -The
Managerial Action:
No manager should avoid a conflict, hoping it will go
away. It would be better to ask the participants to describe specific
actions they want the other party to take. It would be beneficial to
have a third party (meaning a non-direct superior with access to the
situation) involved. Finally, it is advisable not to meet separately
with people in conflict.
A manager should take following actions to minimize

1. Regular Review of Job Descriptions:

With the pace of change the job description must also change. But
this will be possible only when the job descriptions are regularly

2. Establish Rapport and build Relationship with all of

Your Subordinates:
For it, meet them at regular intervals; ask them about their
achievements, problems, and challenges.

3. Regular Reports:
A manager must get progress report about his subordinates
regularly, indicating achievements, current needs and future

4. Training:
Every manager needs to be provided training in interpersonal
communication, conflict management, and delegation of authority.

5. Mutual Development of Procedures:

For routine tasks, the procedures should be developed keeping in
mind the inputs received from employees. If possible, encourage
them to write. Such written procedures should be distributed to all
concerned. If the need be, concerned employees be trained in those
6. Holding Regular Meetings:
The managers need to hold regular management meetings to
inform subordinates about new initiatives to be taken and the
progress of current programmes.

7. Anonymous Suggestion Box:

Consider such a box in which employees can provide suggestions.

Conclusion of Management Conflict:

Conflict in project management is not necessarily
unfavourable when properly managed. Several advantages have
been identified such as increasing personal growth and morale,
enhancing communication, and producing better project outcomes.
However, conflict can be the decline of an organization if it is not
effectively managed. The challenge for organizational leaders and
project managers is to try to maintain the right balance and
intensity of conflict in project management. By utilizing project
management principles, understanding the dynamics of conflict,
and learning approaches to conflict resolution, managers will be
able to establish an environment in which creativity and innovation
is encouraged and project goals are accomplished.

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