Conflict Management and Resolution
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Conflicts occur in our daily lives and it is normal. Researchers on conflict management argue that it is not bad for two parties to be in conflict since conflict strengthens relationship between people. It is normal for conflict to occur between family members, among close friends, between states and between partners in a close relationship. According to specialists who concentrate on conflict management in organizations, senior managers spend about 20 percent of their time in solving conflicts between employees (Jeong 22). This is in an attempt of preventing organization failure due to lack of cooperation between employees. Conflict management process involves implementing strategies that mainly aim at reducing negative aspects that may result from conflict and instead increase positive aspects from conflict. Studies have proved that conflict increases group outcomes and thus organizations should not eliminate all the conflicts in an organization. This essay focuses on conflict management.
The topic of conflict management contains several categories. Examples of these categories include distinction between conflict and conflict management. Conflict refers to disagreement between two or more people. People deal with conflict in several ways. One of the ways to deal with conflict is to deny or avoid that a conflict exists. However, this may result in worsening of a particular conflict. Another method of dealing with conflict is blaming the other party for a particular disagreement (Wilmot & Hocker, 69). However, these further increase conflicts between two parties as each party will be using defensive mechanisms to deal with the conflict. Conflict management mainly involves formulating several strategies that aim at enhancing organizational or interpersonal learning from a particular conflict. Another category for conflict management is the difference between organizational conflict and interpersonal conflict. Organizational conflict occurs when two or more organizations have opposing ideas due to competition or production of a similar product. Organization conflict may also occur when two departments do not agree. Interpersonal conflict occurs when two or more individuals do not agree. This conflict may occur between members of the same group or between members of two different groups. A model for conflict management is another critical topic category of conflict management. Examples of these models include distributive model and integrative model of dealing with conflict (Jeong 64). In distributive model, the person who is engaged in solving a particular conflict distributes positive outcomes between the two parties in a disagreement but one of the parties ends up winning. In integrative model, the person solving the conflict brings together the needs of all the parties and looks for a way to solve the conflict so that all the parties benefit. Conflict resolution is another important topic and it involves elimination, reduction or termination of a particular conflict.
Several interpersonal problems exist during conflict management. The goals of the two parties who are in conflict may be incompatible. Due to this, it might be hard for the parties in conflict to come into an agreement on the most applicable way of reducing the conflict. This brings problems to the process of conflict management (Interpersonal Communication 2). In addition to this, the two parties in a disagreement may not be willing to cooperate as one of the parties may be viewing the other party as an obstacle of achieving personal goals. This party may not be willing to participate in conflict management and thus deterring the whole process. Conflict management faces interpersonal problems since the parties may be having myths about conflict management that deter the whole process of managing conflict. Examples of these myths include conflict infers that a relationship is in trouble. Due to this, people will be having negative aspects about conflict and thus they may not be willing to participate in formulating strategies that will ensure that efficient strategies are formulated to reduce conflict. In addition to this, some parties in conflict believe that conflict is bad since it destroys interpersonal relationships by revealing the negative side of an individual. Due to this, people will be trying their best to avoid any involvement in conflict management process, as they may fear that their weaknesses may be exposed during the process. This is not true since conflict management improves interpersonal relationship between two parties as the parties learn to live together despite the weakness of the other party. Some people have a belief that during conflict, one of the parties has to win while the other party looses. Instead, research on conflict management has revealed that in most instances both parties win after a successful management process. Several challenges exist in interpersonal conflict management. The process of conflict management may lead to negative effects (Interpersonal Communication 3). The reason for this is that there is a high possibility that it may lead to further antagonisms between the two parties if it is not managed properly. Moreover, there is a high chance that one of the parties may close his or her feelings for the fear that they may not want an intimate relationship with the other party. There is also a possibility that the two parties may refuse to exchange rewards thus hindering the whole process of conflict management.
Certain communication methods and skills may be used to ensure that the interpersonal problems do not challenge the process of conflict management. One of the communication methods is defusing technique. In this technique, one of the parties in conflict agrees with all the things that the other party suggests, especially if the other party approaches the conflict in an angry perspective (Wilmot & Hocker 87). Another communication skill that a person can use is using exploration skills. In this technique, one of the parties asks the other party polite questions on what he is thinking or feeling. This is done in order to know what the other person is thinking and this will help in eliminating negative attitudes towards the process of conflict resolution. Stroking is another communication skill that a party can use to deal with interpersonal problems during conflict management. In this technique, one of the parties finds positive things to say about the other party by maintaining high standards of respect. Argumentativeness is a communication method that can be used to deal with interpersonal challenges of conflict management. In this form of communication, both parties argue their own point of view and use good methods of dealing with disagreements. Some of these methods include avoiding interrupting or attacking the other party.
There are several guiding principles and theories that can help a person to deal with challenges involved in conflict management. Conflict is inevitable to all people. Different studies have revealed that it is common for couples and friends to be in conflict and it does not imply that their relationship is in jeopardy (Wilmot and Hocker 47). Different styles of managing conflict have their own consequences. If a person adopts accommodating style, he will sacrifice his own needs but there is a high possibility that these needs may not go away. In addition to this, if the parties decide to adopt compromising style of managing conflict, peace will be achieved but there is a high possibility that dissatisfaction will occur due to the losses that may be endured during the period of conflict. Another guiding theory is that the process of conflict management may lead to both positive and negative outcomes and thus people should not disregard the negative outcomes.
To conclude, the process of conflict management is important since it helps in reducing negative aspects that may result from a conflict. The whole process of conflict management has several interpersonal challenges since the parties in a conflict may have different goals and, thus, they not want to align their goals and come to a common conclusion. In addition to this, many people have negative perceptions on conflict management since they claim that conflict infers a relationship is in trouble. However, communication skills such as defusing technique and stroking may be used to deal with conflict.