Conflict Management

Organizations today operate in an increasingly challenging and dynamic environment. Individuals in organizations also increasingly have to balance personal and professional needs in a highly competitive environment. It is imperative that management recognizes the significance of conflict and the need to manage conflict which arises due to situations and decisions involving allocating limited resources, differing methods, opposing interests, needs, perceptions and values. Thus with diverse organizational needs and many stakeholders, conflict has become an inevitable and unavoidable aspect of organizational life.

This poses many challenges as management has to reconcile the needs of different professionals and units who are required to work as a team. It is inevitable that conflict will thrive in such diversity and if not harnessed will give rise to numerous problems that may affect productivity, performance and the quality of service. Left unattended, the adverse consequences of conflict can lead to wastage of human resources, time, and finances. Conflict also has strong negative connotations and it seems to imply anger, direct confrontations and harsh damaging behavior.

Managers who are unable to deal with conflict may just ignore it and this can result in major losses or even crises. Though it has been traditionally regarded as negative, and even destructive, it has the potential for providing the energy for much organizational and individual change. It is therefore necessary to understand and examine why conflicts arise, our own responses in conflicts and examine other strategies to manage conflict, so that we can also take advantage of the possible positive aspects of conflict.