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Conflict Management in Business

There are various reasons why conflicts occur in organizations. Moreover, conflicts take place on different levels based on the core of the problem that needs to be addressed. One source may be a lack of proper communication where two or more parties cannot adequately discuss and engage in effective dialogue. Furthermore, conflicts may occur due to unreasonable constraints in regard to time and resources. If a project is to be completed by the team without priorly discussing adequate deadlines, financial resources, and human resources, team members can find it challenging. Another possible issue that leads to conflict is a lack of clear roles. When two individuals have the same responsibilities but their points of view differ, unclear roles can cause disruption in the working process. A lack of support from leaders, managers or colleagues is one more problem that can compromise an organization.

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An employee that does not feel like their opinions and points of view are validated will not be interested in maintaining a favorable internal environment within the company where they operate. Furthermore, coworkers may vary in terms of interests. This can happen if one member focuses on improving productivity and another is concerned with the budget required for such improvements. Last but not least, differences in values can also lead to organizational problems. In case one person wants to fulfill personal objectives while the other ones are focused on organizational goals, conflicts are inevitable.

There are several ways which people use to address such conflicts. One may choose to accommodate the opponent and forget about certain personal overviews. In other cases, people collaborate and aim towards the same goal. Moreover, individuals may find compromises and aim for a goal that fits the criteria for all parties. Avoiding conflict is another style that involves one party’s dismissal of the problem as an aim to deescalate the situation. Last but not least, competing is another technique that correlates with having unchanging policies and a stagnant overview that individuals follow without trying to understand the opposing parties.

People rarely engage in only one style to descale conflicts. More often, people base their decision on particular situations. If one conflict can be solved by collaborating with the opponent, others require a stricter style of competing or avoiding altogether. Effective negotiators apply various techniques mentioned before to minimize the effect of the conflicts and create a favorable environment where such issues occur less often. If they occur, they are instantly addressed using reasonable strategies.

Effective negotiation consists of three crucial factors. First, individuals have to try on their opponent’s point of view. This can mitigate misunderstanding and allow for a second opinion that contributes to a more objective decision-making process. Another factor is implementing a win-win agreement. Effective negotiators are able to find common ground and solutions that benefit them and the opposing party. Last but not least, proficient negotiating processes benefit from an insistence on using objective data in contrast with subjective opinions and personal overviews. For example, an employee asks for a raise. The negotiation must take into consideration whether this particular member takes on more challenging projects, works more compared to coworkers, or has a significant contribution to positive organizational outcomes.

Other factors include being hard on problems and soft on people, understanding before being understood, and focusing on interests rather than positions. The second one is similar to the priorly mentioned “focusing on the opponent’s position”. However, being soft on people contrasts with the argument of relying on objective data. People can have an altered view of their situation, so it is essential to look at the problem subjectively instead of always being companionate. On the other hand, interest-based negotiation supports the argument for objectivity while not supporting the aim to look for a win-win solution. Since someone’s interests are based on personal desires, a solution that benefits both parties tend to take all the factors into consideration.

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