Monday, 19 January 2015



  • A process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affects something that the first party cares about.
  • Incompatibility of goals
  • Differences over interpretations of facts
  • Disagreement based on behavioral expectations.

The Traditional View:

  • The belief that all conflict is harmful and must be avoided.
  • 1930s and 1940s
  • Assumed that all conflict was bad.
  • Conflict was used synonymously with such terms as violence, destruction and irrationality to reinforcement its negative connotation(Meaning)
  • Conflict was seen as dysfunctional (weak, damage, abnormal) outcome resulting from poor communication, a lack of openness, trust between people, and failure of managers to be responsive to the needs and aspirations (ambitions, goals, objectives) of their employees.

The Human Relations View:

  • The belief that conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in any organizations or group.
  • Since conflict was inevitable (unavoidable, expected, predictable) the human relation approach advocated acceptance of conflict.
  • Rationalize its existence.
  • It cannot be eliminated.
  • There are times when conflict may benefit a group’s performance.
  • 1940s to 1970s

The Interactional View:

  • The belief that conflict is not only a positive force in a group but that it is absolutely necessary for a group to perform effectively.
  • Interactionist approach encourages the conflict.
  • Harmonious, peaceful, cooperative, clam group is prone to becoming static, nonresponsive to needs for change and innovation.
  • Interactionist approach:
  • Encouraging group leaders to maintain an ongoing minimum level of conflict- enough to keep viable, self-critical and creative.

Whether the conflict is good or bad depends on the type of conflict:
  • Functional Conflict
  • Dysfunctional Conflict

Functional versus Dysfunctional conflict:
The Interactionaist view does not propose that all conflicts are good or bad.

Functional Conflict: Conflict that supports the goals of the group and improves it performance.
Dysfunctional Conflict: Conflict that hinders (delay, obstruct) group performances.

There are three types of conflicts:

  • Task Conflict: Conflict over content and goals of the work.
  • Relationship Conflict: conflict based on interpersonal relationships.
  • Process Conflict: Conflict over how work gets done.

Relationship conflicts are almost always dysfunctional. (personality clashes, decrease mutual understandings)
Low level process conflict, Low to moderate level task conflicts are functional conflict (supportive)

 (Ref: Organizational Behavior- S.P.Robbins)

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