Written by Intern Psychological Counsellor,
What is organisational conflict?
According to Surbhi (2027) organizational conflict, also known as workplace conflict, can be described as the state of disagreement or misunderstanding by individuals or groups within the organization resulting from opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. At the workplace, whenever two or more persons interact, conflict occurs when opinions concerning any task or decision are in contradiction.
Conflict is common in an organization, and its cause can be attributed to the following: when managerial expectations are misunderstood or not fulfilled within the stipulated time, conflicts arise. One of the major causes of conflict in the workplace is the disruption in communication. For example, if one employee requires certain information from another who does not respond properly, conflict sparks in the organization. -
Misunderstanding information can also alleviate disputes in organizations, in the sense that if one person misinterprets some information, it can lead to a series of conflicts. Lastly, Lack of accountability, in a project, responsibilities are not clear and some mistake has arisen, for which no member of the team wants to take responsibility. It can also become a cause of conflict in the organization.
Moreover, conflict in itself is not problematic, it becomes trouble in the ways it is handled or controlled. Mbuidusi et al (2010) identified the following conflict Intervention Strategies, Negotiation when parties meet (usually without the help of 3rd party) to resolve differences. Facilitation is when a neutral or professional 3rd party helps to improve communication between parties, usually in a meeting. Conciliation is when a 3rd party acts as a “go-between” for parties to meet and resolve differences or disputes. Mediation is when a neutral 3rd party helps parties to resolve differences themselves and improve the relationship between parties. Arbitration is when a neutral 3rd party hears both points of view and then imposes a decision.
Adjudication / Litigation is when a Judge or magistrate imposes a decision after hearing legal arguments from both sides according to complex legal procedures. Lastly Force, when power or violence is used dominantly to impose a decision or to force a ‘solution’.
Organizations should therefore select conflict intervention strategies that best suit their goals and improves relationships within the institution.
Bayer, C.T.H & Shernick (2008). Youth Leadership Development Programme
(YLDP)Module: conflict management.
Ndubuisi, Z.R., Ifeanyi., E.O, Ogunjiofor. M.C, Nilson, A. (2010). Thesis for the Master of
Science in Business Administration. School of Management Blekinge Institute of
Technology ‘‘Managing Organizational Conflict from the Cultural Perspective: A Comparison of Nigeria and Sweden’’
Surbhi, S.S. (2017). Chapter 4. B Organizational conflict. Business Jargons.