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Explain sources of conflict within an organization. Discuss types of conflict that can arise when groups vie for resources. Describe different models.

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Presentation on theme: "Explain sources of conflict within an organization. Discuss types of conflict that can arise when groups vie for resources. Describe different models."— Presentation transcript:


2 Explain sources of conflict within an organization. Discuss types of conflict that can arise when groups vie for resources. Describe different models that address organizational conflict. Develop recommendations for methods to address intergroup conflicts.


4 Sources of conflict: There are many causes or reasons for conflict in any work setting. Some of the primary causes are:  Poor Communication: different communication styles can lead to misunderstandings between employees or between employee and manager. Lack of communication drives conflict ‘underground’.  Different Values: any workplace is made up of individuals who see the world differently. Conflict occurs when there is a lack of acceptance and understanding of these differences.  Differing Interests: conflict occurs when individual workers ‘fight’ for their personal goals, ignoring organizational goals and organizational well-being.  Scarce Resources: too often, employees feel they have to compete for available resources in order to do their job. In a resource scarce environment, this causes conflicts – despite awareness of how scarce resources may be.  Personality Clashes: all work environments are made up of differing personalities. Unless colleagues understand and accept each other’s approach to work and problem-solving, conflict will occur.  Poor Performance: when one or more individuals within a work unit are not performing - not working up to potential – and this is not addressed, conflict is inevitable.

5 Types of Conflict in Organizations Definition of Responsibility Unclear When it is unclear who is responsible for what area of a project or task, conflict can occur. Territorial issues arise when decisions are made that appear to cross boundaries of responsibility. To prevent this from happening it is imperative that the roles and responsibilities of all the players are spelled out clearly and agreed upon by everyone involved before the project is started. Conflict of Interest Understanding how personal interests and goals fit within the structure of the organization will alleviate conflict of interest problems. When an individual's personal goals are at odds with the goals of the organization, the individual may be tempted to fight for his personal goals, creating a conflict situation that will hamper success of the project.

6 Types of Conflict in Organizations continued Not Enough Resources Competition for resources, including money, time and materials, will cause the teams to undercut each other, leading to conflict between departments or other work groups. Valuable resources need to be protected, as well as distributed fairly among all the groups. Starting out a project with a clear picture of the resources available will help waylay some of this conflict. Interpersonal Relationships The personalities of the people involved in the organizational structure play an important part in conflict resolution. Often the conflict is a result of interpersonal relationships where the parties to the conflict are unable to resolve personal issues with each other. It is not always easy to set aside personal prejudices when entering the workplace, but it is important to recognize what those prejudices are and deal with them before conflict arises.

7 5Ps of conflict model: I.Perceptions II.People III.Practices IV.Policies V.Persistence

8 Perceptions Individuals beliefs, values, and expectations about the organization and the individuals Individual perceptions influenced by what happens in and out of the workplace Perceptions primarily changed through Education and Experience Interventions resulting in reflective processes Hayes, S. (2009) People Characteristics of the people Age Gender Race/Ethnicity Social class or educational background Experience in their position and others in organization Organization of people in relation to others Hayes, S. (2009) 13

9 Practices Practices are what actually happen Interpretation of policies based primarily in perception and person characteristics influenced by education and prior knowledge/experience with similar policies or practices Most organizational conflicts are at the level of practices Behaviors can altered without altering perceptions or personal characteristics Hayes, S. (2009) Policies Organizational culture Work demands Appropriate demeanor Process of promotion Whose involved in grievance and termination Policy manual Work schedules Productivity expectations Rules for promotion Grievance & Termination Hayes, S. (2009)

10 Persistence Persistence is the element of time, change takes place over time. An interventions ability to be successful is dependent on addressing persistence.” Individual time ≤ Organizational time Interventions are time limited. Individuals must take long view, organizations see shorter term interests of individuals Hayes, S. (2009) 16

11 Recommendations Improve Communication- Groups function more efficiently when there is good communication. Clarify Roles- When groups do not have a clear understanding of the roles each department is to take in a given project, confusion and frustration can develop and hinder cooperation. Address Issues Quickly- Problems and concerns will come up between work groups from time to time. Identify and understand the triggering events, and avoid or dull them. Set rules for the conflict, for instance attempting to limit when and how conflicting groups interact. Developing coping strategies to help groups to more effectively deal with the consequences of conflict. Attempts to eliminate or resolve the latent issues that eventually are triggered into conflict.

12 Cummings, T.G., & Worley, C.G. (2001). Organization Development and Change (7 th edition). Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College. French, W.L., & Bell, C.H. Jr. (1999). Organizational Development: Behavioral Science Interventions for Organizational Improvement (Ch. 10). Upper Sandle Ridge, NJ: Prentice Hall. Nahavandi, A. & Malekzadeh, A.R. (1999). Organizational Behavior: The Person-Organization Fit (Ch. 13). Upper Sandle Ridge, NJ: Prentice Hall. Rahim, M.A (1986). Referent roles and styles of handling interpersonal conflict. Journal of Social Psychology, 126, 79-86. Rahim, M.A., & Magner, N.R. (1995). Confirmatory factor analysis of the styles of handling interpersonal conflict: first-order factor model and its invariance across groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 122-132.

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