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Conflict Management

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Essay title: Conflict Management

Conflict Management

What is conflict? Conflict is an ongoing condition of antagonism between two or more people. A clash of interests, principles, actions, or instructions often sparks a conflict. Conflict and simple disagreements are frequently confused but are definitely not the same. Different opinions on facts, interpretation of reality, and placing of blame are examples of simple disagreements which initially may be just an exchange of words, but could escalate to conflict. If the persons involved can not sustain respect for each other’s beliefs, then simple disagreements may turn into conflict. Conflict is inevitable because of individual differences. Conflict arises when the assumption is “if you get what you want, I can’t get what I want”. When two or more parties want the same thing or outcome, conflict arises. You and a co-worker want a promotion, but there is only one opening for the position. Hence, a conflict begins to emerge and conflict management techniques have to be executed.

There are four levels of conflict: intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup. Intrapersonal conflict occurs within an individual such as deciding which job offer to take or what to order from a menu. A conflict between two persons is interpersonal. Examples of interpersonal conflict are a couple deciding on what restaurant to dine in or what play to attend. Conflicts between group members are intragroup ie., deciding on a new group name or annual trip. Intergroup conflicts occur between two or more groups such as group competitions or contests. It is imperative to distinguish between the levels of conflict in order to know how to resolve or manage the disagreement.

Content, decisional, role, material, expectancy, judgmental, and ego are the seven types of conflict. Content conflict is over dissimilar beliefs of facts therefore, obtaining more information on the subject leads to resolution of the conflict. An example of content conflict is determining who won last night’s baseball game. The results may be obtained from the internet or the newspaper. Decisional conflict is the uncertainty about which course of action to take in a situation which involves challenges, regrets or risks (i.e. a health decision on having surgery or medical management). Normally, decisional conflict is intrapersonal and it is vital to assess all options before making a judgment. Role conflict is when a person is expected to play two irreconcilable parts such as the difficulty a boss would encounter having to fire a family member. Also, role conflict occurs when the expectation of someone’s function is not met, for instance a spouse’s part in marriage is below expectation. Competing for limited resources such as money and food is material conflict. Material conflict is always interpersonal with hopes to lead to a “win-win” solution, but sometimes moves to a “win-lose” solution. Judgmental conflict is basically differing opinions on the worth of something such as a movie. As always, opinions vary and people tend to disagree. Rather than waste time on whose opinion is superior, it is best to compromise. Expectancy conflicts relate to one’s anticipation of people and life. It is best to maintain a sensible outlook on what life has to offer. Unrealistic expectations lead to an existence filled with disappointment. Lastly, ego conflict is challenging which person is better than the other. This conflict diminishes

relations because there is little productive communication between the parties and attacks are common. Ego conflict lacks rationality and is the most destructive type.

Conflict management is the principle that all conflicts can be resolved. Learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of nonproductive situations and is one of the most important skills one can learn. There are two types of conflict management: destructive and constructive. Destructive conflict management focuses on negative feelings which divert energy, intensify differences, create suspicion/distrust, and decrease productivity. Constructive conflict management also classified as productive conflict management begins with positive feelings which initiate growth, increase productivity, develop clarification of an issue, and improve problem solving qualities.

There are five conflict management strategies: collaborating, accommodating, competing, avoiding and compromising. Collaborating is when two parties jointly identify the problems and recognize personal concerns to obtain a mutually agreeable solution. Choosing to collaborate is one of the best strategies because it enables people to work together for a reciprocal

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