Conflict management in an organization is done in two approaches
In a preventive approach, the company management tries to develop a work environment or a situation where dysfunctional conflict can be avoided. Conflict is not constructive, so it needs to be resolved quickly as soon as it seems to arise. Efforts should be made consistently to prevent conflicts from arising. Following are the preventive measures taken by company management to reduce organizational conflicts.
Develop Common Goals
It has been seen that the main cause for the development of organizational conflicts is due to incompatible objectives. This occurs when conflicts between groups or between an organization and its employees occur. The prime strategy to reduce conflicts is to establish common goals that all the groups can agree on to facilitate effective communication. The common goals facilitate mutual group dependency since they are high-value superordinate goals. An incentive system can be used to reduce group conflicts and reward the task that benefits the organization.
Interdependence is the main cause of all inter-group conflicts. For instance, staff managers as well as line managers. When the interdependence will below the level of conflicts among the groups also be below. Although, indeed, interdependency among groups can’t be avoided totally. It is better to separate the departments physically instead of separating them organizationally.
Reduce The Shared Resources
Sharing scarce resources poses another cause for inter-group conflict. This type of conflict is reduced by management by reducing the sharing. One way to reduce this inter-group conflict is by increasing the scarce resources so that all units can use them independently. However, being scarce, these resources can’t always be increased. The best technique for solving this conflict is the optimum allocation of scarce resources.
Building Trust and Communication
Management ensures to build trust among all unit members. More honesty and trust in an organization will ensure effective communication. Management should ensure that all groups and individuals communicate openly with one another to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. Building more trust will help them understand each other’s problems and be open to each other.
The next step after effective communication is maintaining proper coordination. Conflict can be managed in an organization by properly coordinating all organizational activities. It is better to establish a specialized unit to deal with coordination problems whenever it arises.
Another best way for managing and reducing organizational conflict is exchanging the personnel of the conflicting team for a specific period. Exchange of the conflicting group’s personnel ensures better understanding between groups where one person will defend and present the other’s role. The method of personnel exchange is identical to role reversal.
Suppose a conflict that arises in an organization can’t be solved by organizational team members or group members. In that case, it has to be reported to the superior authority, who can resolve organizational conflict and give a correct decision. Although the decision may not result in agreement all the members will accept it since it will be given by a superior who holds an official higher rank.
Reorganizing the Conflicting Group
Conflict management can be ensured through group reorganization. Group members having similarities will be put in one group since they have common interests and similar perspectives. So their objectives, as well as the problem-solving approach, will also be similar. As this group includes predictable behavior, it becomes easy for the management to reduce conflict.
The curative measure helps to resolve behavioral conflict. This measure helps resolve conflicts when they occur and become dysfunctional in the company.
Five major styles for conflict management
Conflict is a natural phenomenon that takes place in the work environment. However, it leads to mental health problems, absenteeism, and low organizational productivity. Conflict also acts as a great motivator to increase flexibility, generate new ideas, and better understand the relationship and workplace. Therefore, it is important to manage conflict effectively to help the organization gain more success. As per TKI (Thomas Kilman conflict mode instrument), five big conflict management styles are used by human resources.
This conflict style requires groups to be cooperative and assertive and be collaborative to find a solution to work and work with others. This conflict management style helps to satisfy the needs of all people as it is the opposite of avoiding. This style works best to minimize negative feelings and maintain long-term relationships. For instance, integrating two departments into one department where both sides work in the best way in the new department.
Uncooperative and assertive people take this style to achieve their concerns without caring about the relationship. This style works for an organization while hiring a new client and competes with other companies.
Groups adopt this style to avoid conflict and take diplomatic steps to withdraw themselves from risky situations. For instance, conflict with any member regarding their ethics. It is better to use this style to postpone the situation /outcome when it is secure.
Accommodating style is an approach to conflict management that may seem generous and self-sacrificing but also tends to take advantage of your weakness. It is better to use this style to avoid conflict when you want to preserve your relationship with the opposite person and when you don’t care much about the result.
This style is a perfect solution that is mutually accepted by both parties and satisfies both conflicting parties while carrying an element of cooperation and assertiveness. It is better to use this style when the outcome isn’t important and there is a shortage of time. For instance, giving a little by making a decision and moving on to other important things.
The General Approach to Managing Conflict
There are three steps required to minimize conflicts in an organization.
First, Ensure coordination and cooperation are the norms by maintaining a low stressful climate and low conflict
The second step requires isolating each conflict into a single family of conflicts. It should include concrete conflict and rational points instead of accepting personality conflict.
Learn more about conflict management training. They would help you understand all the inter-department workings and learn how to resolve any conflict resolution strategies.