Types of conflicts in organizations: Human Resources Managers challenged

Conflict is considered a form of conflict resolution.

How this resolution will proceed depends on the type of controversy that caused it. So, we can talk about conflict based on:

– temporary contradictions;
– relatively lasting contradictions;
– significant contradictions;
– insignificant contradictions.

In terms of how many and what are the parties to the conflict there are:

– interpersonal (between two or more individuals);
– between an individual and a group;
– between groups

They can take place at different levels:

– personal (a person resolves the conflict within himself);
– social (with an external manifestation of the conflict).

Structure of interpersonal conflict:

1. Intertwining of causes and conditions.

2. Conflict situation.

3. “Transmutation” of the conflict situation (formation of the “parties”).

4. Open conflict. Reference: “Conflict Management in Human Resources Management“, https://securityinformationeventmanagement.com/conflict-management-in-human-resources-management/

5. Conflict resolution.

6. Post-conflict situation.

Conflict takes place as a process in a certain time and space, and with a certain structure. Each of these points can be analyzed:

The conditions for the emergence and course of the conflict are a set of specifically existing opportunities for conflict behavior. Reference: “Human resource management (HRM) as a theory“, https://pgov.org/human-resource-management-hrm-as-a-theory/

The interaction between the causes and conditions of the conflict determines the conflict situation. In the beginning, the conflict is characterized by the formation of motives for conflict behavior and action.

The content of these motives includes: striving for opposition and choosing strategy and tactics. Conflict resolution is the reduction to zero of the conflict orientation and the opposition of the conflicting parties. Reference: “Evolution of the concept of Human Resources Management (HRM)“, https://www.mu7club.com/evolution-of-the-concept-of-human-resources-management-hrm/

The post-conflict situation is a period of analysis and evaluation, of conclusions about the achievements of the conflict.

The conflict process covers the entire period from the action of conditions and causes, through transmutation, to conflict and its attenuation.

The transmutation of the conflict situation is the immediate cause of the conflict!

The conflict situation in the transmutation is the same, but the catalytic functions of the conditions trigger mechanisms that change the relationships between people during this period.

The transformation of the conflict situation into a conflict takes place in the person and represents the perception of the causes of the conflict, their understanding, their comparison with the needs of the person, goal setting, and choice of behavioral strategy. Reference: “Development of the Human Resources Management (HRM) concept“, https://customer-service-us.com/development-of-the-human-resources-management-hrm-concept/

Transmutation in this sense is a higher degree of analysis and precedes the conflict itself. Orlova and Filonov identify 3 phases of transmutation: 1) perception and awareness of the situation; 2) choice of strategy; 3) choice of action.

Transmutation is an intermediate link and is mainly related to the course of mental (cognitive – perception, evaluation, decision-making; and emotional) processes.

Cognitive processes are usually accompanied by a high degree of tension, with negative emotions. This stressful condition interferes with work and harms the person. Reference: “Objectives of Human Resources Management (HRM)“, https://www.powerhp.net/objectives-of-human-resources-management-hrm/

Therefore, it is not desirable for the transmutation period to last long (because negative energy accumulates). Conflict itself releases this energy. Conflict takes place as a mutual exchange of conflicting actions, which is often accompanied by strong emotional outbursts. The underlying condition is affected. Everything possible is being done to harm the “enemy”.

Conflict begins with a specific occasion, which may not be related to the causes of the conflict. The conflict has two components:

1) rational and constant analysis and evaluation of the achieved; 2) emotional component. Depending on the severity of the two components, one can speak of: deliberate or ill-considered (spontaneous) conflict. The means of action are: verbal, nonverbal, or mixed.

Main parameters of the conflict:

1) Scope (measured by the number of participants, but not equal to the number of participants in the conflict at all!).

2) Strength (measured by degrees of expert assessment that take into account the impact of the conflict on the persons in it, as well as on the group or organization). Strength is a characteristic of the whole process (conflict). Often the forces of conflict and the conflict itself are equal (rarely they are not).

3) Duration of the conflict (the time from the manifestation to the subsidence of the tension).

4) Power (formula: power is equal to the strength of the conflict over its duration).

These parameters characterize not only the conflict but can also be used to judge the depth of the conflict situation, the causes, goals, experiences, etc.

Conflict resolution begins with conflict and is characterized by a reduction in the strength of all parameters. Conflict resolution is different from “managing” conflict – it is the goal of management!

According to Balding, there are several types of conflict resolution: 1) Reconciliation; 2) Compromise; 3) Arbitration intervention. The reduction or cessation of the conflict action can be caused both by the participants themselves and by the environment, and the management of the organization.

Form of resolving interpersonal conflict

A form of resolving interpersonal conflict is the integration of goals in the course of the conflict.

This presupposes a change in the situation itself. In such a situation, it is sometimes possible to neutralize the actions and goals that caused the conflict.

There may also be changed in the situation that will neutralize one or the other party (eg accident, critical situation, etc.) and unite the goals of the warring parties. Fear of the consequences of the conflict helps to resolve it more quickly.

At the same time, this fear often contributes to the accumulation of more negative energy and increases the duration of the hidden phase of the conflict, which is unfavorable for both the individual and the work.

According to research, neither side is feeling well in a time of conflict, but each is striving to win for itself. Therefore, those who expect more victory are more inclined to conflict.

Conflict resolution can be: 1) complete; 2) partially.

Complete resolution is characterized by the final elimination of the causes or deprivation of the parties of the possibility of conflict interaction. The most important condition for this is the elimination of opposition between the parties. With partial resolution, the conditions may change so that the parties have no interest in continuing the conflict.

The cessation of conflict and opposition depends on the mental characteristics of the individual. The main influences are aggression, dominance, the level of intellectual development, etc. The goals set by the parties are also important, as well as the social situation in which the conflict takes place.

The role of leaders is great. They are often generators of opposition – than resolving the conflict is almost impossible. An important task for leaders is to always consider the causes of the conflict and strive to eliminate them promptly.

After resolving the conflict comes the post-conflict situation. The motives for opposition no longer exist. This is a moment of analysis and evaluation of the results of the conflict.

Conditions are being created to eliminate the consequences and improve the relationship (but the conflict is remembered for a long time!).

The post-conflict situation depends more on the number and characteristics of the participants than on the strength of the conflict itself.

It is concluded that the persistence of contradictions in the post-conflict situation is inversely proportional to the social integration of the group. In this situation, the positive and negative consequences are noticeable.
Positive: improving interpersonal relationships; criticality; self-criticism; discussion, which takes into account the causes and identifies measures to eliminate them, etc.

Negatives: continuing tension in the relationship; alienation of some of the members; mistrust, which can grow into hatred, etc.


The predominance of positive or negative consequences

The predominance of positive or negative consequences depends on how the conflict is resolved. The “winner-winner” scheme is usually dominated by negative emotions in both countries.

They continue to create an unfavorable climate. This does not apply to cases where the discount or compromise is made deliberately on one side!

The atmosphere is more likely to improve if the conflict is resolved by compromise. Then the discount of one person/group can lead to a discount on the other side.

The role of public opinion as a mechanism for controlling behavior is great. It usually manifests itself: 1) as an assessment of the conflict interaction from ch. of the established social norms; 2) in conflict analysis to prevent future causes; 3) as a “sentence” on the conflicting parties (may have a positive effect and should be used in the interests of the organization and the parties to the conflict).

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