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Conflict and Organization Effectiveness

Please address the following questions:

1. How can conflict improve effectiveness?

2. What organizational conflicts have you experienced that went through all five stages. Did anyone experience open aggression? How did the organization's structure contribute to the problem?

3. How will you effectively manage conflict within your company?

Solution Preview

1. How can conflict improve effectiveness?

Conflict is "a situation of competition in which the parties are aware of the incompatibility of potential future positions and in which each party wishes to occupy a position which is incompatible with the wishes of the other." Thomas has defined conflict as a process that begins when one party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect something that the first party cares about. Thus a conflict is a perception in the mind of an individual or group of individuals that the other person or group is hindering the first party from achieving a goal.

Deutsch (1973) has suggested five types of basic issues underlying conflicts:
Control over resources, preferences and nuisances, values, beliefs and the nature of the relationship between parties. Thus internal characteristics of conflict include perception of the goal, perception of the other, view of the other's actions, definition of problem, communication, and internal group dynamics. These can be explained as follows:

- Perception of the goal becomes a problem when success becomes competitive, the focus is placed on the solution rather than attaining the goal.
- Perception of the other can create conflict when the attitude becomes "us versus them." Similarities and differences are emphasized causing division within a group.
- View of the other's actions can be a problem when the situation is competitive instead of cooperative. Behavior can be suspicious in a competitive environment.
- Definition of the problem can result in conflict when the size of the problem is escalated, issues are misconstrued, and original issues are lost.
- Communication in a competitive environment can cause mistrust and information may be withheld or may be lacking. Communication is not open and honest.
- Internal group dynamics can be negative when the group structure is centralized and rigid rather then safe and open. Conformity is emphasized and tasks dominate over the needs of the team members.
- These characteristics can strongly influence the behavioral style of group members and affect the potential outcome of the conflict. In some instances, the manager's lack of skills to effectively manage and resolve conflict can be the problem.

Conflict can improve effectiveness:

- Conflicts can be ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses sources of conflict and conflict management in an organization in 1115 words with 16 references for further inquiry. Reference to particular studies has also been incorporated into this solution and helps to further strengthen the points being made.

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