Managing Conflict in the Workplace.

Essay by ricconyUniversity, Bachelor'sB, November 2003

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Managing Conflict in the Workplace

Conflicts are a natural and inevitable part of people working together, sharing diverse thoughts, concerns, perspectives and goals. Essentially, conflict can be defined as any situation where your concerns or desires differ from another person's or group's. Organizational and personal effectiveness are often influenced by how conflict is managed. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview on conflict and how it is viewed in the workplace. Also, we will provide an overview on the levels and categories of conflict and describe the five modes of handling conflict.

Views of Conflict

When a group of people is asked to write down five words or phrases that come to mind when they hear the word conflict, the most common way to describe it would be by using negative terms such as anger. In fact, rarely would anyone describe conflict in a positive way as creating positive change.

As stated, most people view conflict in the workplace as a negative experience when in fact it's a neutral experience, when two differing views can't come to an agreement it becomes a neutral experience. Some would argue that conflict is an important and necessary experience in any high-performing organization. Although conflict is inevitable in the workplace, it does not need to have destructive consequences; it's how you manage conflict that matters.

In the 1800's, the Traditionalist view of conflict in business organizations was that conflict was always bad for an organization. It was believed that as conflict increased productivity decreased. This created a business culture for business managers to pay considerable attention to eliminating all conflict.

In the middle part of the 20th Century organizations developed a Behavioral view on conflict. This view recognized that conflict was inevitable in any organization and that it could have both...