The principles of conflict management: The reasons why conflict occur in the workplace and tips on how to resolve them.

Essay by sorrentocat January 2004

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The principles of conflict management:

Dr. Kenneth W. Thomas defines conflict as the process, which begins when we perceive that someone has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something we care about. The more deeply we care about something the more intense the conflict.

If you have to deal with people, sooner or later, you will have to deal with conflict. Conflict is not inherently bad. Conflicts simply stems from differing viewpoints. Since no two people view the world exactly the same way, disagreement is quite normal. There are many different types of conflicts. Conflicts can be within yourself when you are not living according to your values. It can arise when your values and perspective are threatened or discomfort from fear of the unknown (Thomas, 2002).

The traditional approach holds that all conflict is bad and that a good manager will work to minimize conflicts at all costs (Robbins, 2001).

Now we learn to view conflict as potentially helpful because, " raises and addresses problems, can energize work to be in the most appropriate issues, motivate employees to participate in the decision-making process and help people learn how to recognize and benefit from their differences" (Davidson, 2002).

There is no good or bad conflicts, it's the way we deal with it that determine the outcome, giving us the potential to enhance or lessen the quality of our relationships with one another. Depending on how they are handled, conflicts can produce constructive behavior and positive outcomes or destructive behavior and negative outcomes (Thomas, 2002).

According to Thomas, constructive conflict is the positive behavior towards the conflict, which will usually produce a positive outcome, e.g. fostering of innovations and diversity of opinions. On the other note, destructive conflict is the negative behavior applied to the conflict and it...