Within the organizations open to change, there is an increased risk of conflict. Changes in the enterprise generate conflicts that exert influence on the organization's performance, and therefore effective conflict management is recommended. Conflict, contestation and rivalry between individuals / employees is the fact that employees o forganizations are individuals with personalities, principles and values systems, instruction levels, devotion and different behaviors, and last but not least the competion among themselves for power and resources.
Conflict is tension identified among employees within the organization that have to interact to accomplish a task, make a decision or solve a problem, but the views and interests of the parties are contradictory, therefore parties manifested backlash and reciprocal criticism.
According to a recent article in Forbes «between 60 and 80 per cent of dificulties faced by the organizations result in tensioned relations between employees.” According to research results published in Conflict Study at the workplace (in the UK) in 2010, 40 % of the complaints registered in labour courts refer to workplace relationships . Conflict triggering can be a clue to managers and organization’s employees about the changes that are about to emerge.
The notion of «conflict» refers to both the conflict with negative effects and the positive conflict, with beneficial effects on the individual, on the group or on the organization. Positive conflict can test ideas, can stimulate the generation of alternatives for a decision and can prevent from making hasty decisions, can raise the level of understanding of the issues, increase involvement of members, can stimulate interest and interaction, creative thinking and thus the quality of decisions and adhering to their implementation . The conflict is considered favorable to change, generating ideas, beneficial to the evolution of organizational processes, motivating people to solve problems and adopt creative behavior. The negative conflict causes the waste of resources, time and money. Inefficient resolution of conflicts causes management difficulties due to stressful situations, discomfort, indifference, less motivation in managerial activity. A conflict can help shape borders and personal identities and boost creative and innovative solutions of situations.
The manager of the organization, among the many duties exercised, is also responsible for managing and resolving conflicts that may arise between employees of the organization. In order to prevent, avoid, or resolve conflicts, the manager should develop specific abilities and skills: communication and negotiation skills; the ability to act promptly; skills to improvise and apply the accumulated experience; the skills of application at the right time and place of conflict resolution techniques and methods, etc. Permanent communication with subordinates, collaborators, and managers allows identifying the causes of the conflict appearance and selecting the best way to solve it, a decision influenced by the exchange of ideas, experience and the link between managerial levels within the organization.
The timely settlement and prevention of conflicts is directly related to addressing the issue of quality communication within organizations through a well-thought-out and analyzed informational system, which contributes to making an optimal decision and ultimately achieving the goals. Conflict resolution also contributes to maintaining a steady and balanced state of activity and avoiding further disturbances [2, p. 152].
In specialized literature, we find various approaches regarding conflict resolution within the organization. One of them states that «solving the conflict involves its liquidation through analytical methods, which suppose the accession to the root of the problem and the achievement of a result that is seen by both parties as a permanent solution to the problem [5, p. 42]. " If a conflict is not liquidated, it can be directed to benefit from it.
Managers of an organization have the ability to apply various conflict management and resolution strategies. Optimal strategy is identified depending on the type of conflict, the specific context and the possible consequences of conflict resolution. To resolve conflicts, managers are advised to adopt one of the organizational conflict resolution strategies:
– Deviation strategy (avoidance);
– Acquisition-oriented strategy (adaptation);
– Competitive Strategy;
– Compensated strategy;
– Collaborative strategy.
The five approaches to the conflict reflect different degrees of imposing and cooperation. As it can be seen, the cooperative response is intended to satisfy the interests of the parties involved in the conflict, while the duty of imposing focuses on the satisfaction of personal interests. In other words, the extent of cooperation emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the interacting parties, while the size of the imposing emphasizes the importance of the outcome .
– A detour strategy (avoidance)- involves adopting a passive behavior towards the other party involved in the conflict. The parties involved do not do any an attempt to understand the cause of the conflict.
Conflict management through detour strategy (avoidance) is recommended to be applied in the following situations:
- the importance of the problem and the outcome is reduced,
- lack of motivation for personal involvement in conflict,
- resolution of the conflict requires additional information,
- time is limited to solving the conflict,
- the conflict can be solved by other people.
- maintaining the relationship between the parties is a moment of priority.
– Accomodation-oriented strategy (adaptation)— it is adopted if one party drops its own opinion in favor of the other party involved in the conflict. Divergences are minimized in an attempt to reach an understanding.
Conflict management through accommodation-oriented strategy (adaptation) is recommended to be applied in the following situations:
- maintaining good relationships at work,
- the conflict situation was triggered between the leader and the subordinate and the employee has no other option,
- the importance of the result is small,
- the conflict would be well solved in a short time.
– Competition-oriented strategy— it is recommended if the conflict participant has sufficient means, he / she is determined to achieve his / her own interests to the detriment of the other.This type of conflict management requires that parties do not cooperate and intend to achieve their own interests at the expense of the other person. In the competition-oriented strategy, absolute priority is given to the own goals, since conflict-makers only act to achieve their own goals, often involving authority structures. This strategy is considered to be a way of addressing the power-oriented conflict, using any kind of power that seems appropriate to defend a position deemed correct or simply winning at all costs.
Conflict management through competition-oriented strategy is recommended to be applied in the following situations:
- triggering the conflict between the leader and the subordinate,
- maintaining a distance relationship is acceptable,
- the urgency and speed of making a decision,
- the need to defend some values or policies.
– The compromise strategy— lies between the «competition» and «adaptation» approach and consists in solving conflict issues through mutual concessions, both sides achieving some satisfaction. The compromise is one of the most common methods of solving conflicts between groups that require sharing or divide resources.
Conflict-based management is recommended to be applied in the following situations:
- problems are of greater complexity and are important for both parties;
- there are difficulties in identifying accessible solutions,
- there exists a similar interest for both sides,
- the conflict can be settled through negotiation,
- reasons are identified for developing mutually beneficial relationships between the conflicting parties.
– Collaborative strategy- is rarely applied because participating in the conflict musct succed in mutually accepting the goals and acting together to achieve the best result. In this case, trust and mutual sincerity are the indispesable conditions for solving the probolems.
Conflict management through collaborative strategy is recommended to be applied in the following situations:
- maintaing lasting relationships is very important,
- there is no time limit in solving the conflict situation,
- resolution of conflicting issues can not be postponed,
- conflict situation involving parties from different hierarchical level.
For any type of organizational conflict, a strategy for solving it can be identified. Thus, managers have at their disposal various conflict resolution strategies. But regardless of the chosen strategy, there are preliminary actions that could increase the chances of success: correctly identifying the subject of conflicts, narrowing the conflict field, and expanding the range of conflict resolution possibilities. As a result of the analysis of conflict management strategies, the following recommendations on the position and action of managers in conflict prevention, management and resolution within the company are outlined: identifying the type of conflict facilitates the choice of the optimal strategy for solving it; conflict is inevitable in organizations, so conflict must be resolved; each of the parties involved in the conflict would gain benefits by identifying common interests for the parties; avoiding quick decision-making can increase their objectivity, it is recommended to study the profile of employees in order to know their typical reactions to different types of conflict. Effective conflict management helps to increase performance in the company's business, the emergence and promotion of new ideas, the reformulation of the company's objectives, the removal of tensions in the labour force, the streamlining of the discussions between the members of the organization. In organizational activity, conflicts are inevitable. These can both generate productivity detriments, as well as quicken the dynamism and progress in the field of business, which depend on the way the conflicts are managed.
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