'Conflict is the heart of the employment relationship'. Discuss the validity of this statement.

Essay by Fab111 May 2004

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The word 'conflict' may be used to refer to physical confrontation such as a fight or a battle or a struggle. Or it can be used more broadly to denote a disagreement or opposition of interest or ideas.

Conflict is not necessarily negative. Conflict can be constructive or destructive. People tend to look at conflict in the workplace as being negative, however, conflict can be an effective way for everyone to learn and become more productive and satisfied in the workplace. Conflicts occur when the needs and goals of the individual are not in harmony with the needs and goals of the organization. Managing this inherent conflict between individual needs and organizational needs demands a high degree of self-awareness on the part of the manager. If conflict is dealt with effectively the organization will need to continuously meet the challenge of change in a creative way. Conflict is constructive when it improves the quality of decisions, stimulates creativity and innovation, encourages interest and curiosity among group members, provides the medium through which problems can be aired and tensions released, and fosters an environment of self-evaluation and change.

Conflict can also work in a positive way to develop the organization. For this to happen the organization needs to separate personal conflict from the issues at hand. Conflict can occur for many reasons. It occurs when people have differences on a subject and care about the issue at hand. Sometimes, two people, through interaction develop a dislike for one another, they will argue, debate and even insult each other. It becomes a personality conflict. Negative emotions then become a part of the work place. The employees see themselves then as personal enemies. People in the organization need skills and understanding to interact in conflict situations. Management and employees must work together...