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Chapter one


1.1 Background of the Study

Kornhanser, Dubin, and Russ (1954) define conflict as “the total range of behaviours and attitudes that express opposition and divergent orientation between individuals, owners, and managers on the one hand and working people and their organisations on the other.”

Furthermore, a conflict situation is one in which individuals involved are unable to resolve their disputes, which may not always lead to strikes.

Flanders (1968) defined conflict as the discrepancy between the actual and desired states of affairs.

In other words, conflict is the difference between where you are and where you aspire to be. Crises are unexpected problems that can lead to tragedy if not addressed swiftly and appropriately. Nobody can avoid crises, especially the intensity of business crises in the current world.

Conflict is an unavoidable result of interpersonal relationships. This is especially true for work groups, which are typically made up of people from various backgrounds, perspectives, attitudes, and values.

Conflict can be good, terrible, or ugly, and it can be managed in all three ways. Conflict inside an organisation is the issue that generates the greatest emotion and frustrated comments. We do not typically view conflict as an opportunity, but rather as unpleasant, counterproductive, and time consuming.

Conflict in the workplace does not have to be destructive, as long as the emergency associated with conflict is harnessed and directed towards problem solving and organisational improvement; however, managing conflict effectively necessitates that all parties understand the nature of conflict.

The dysfunctional view of organisational conflicts embedded in the nation is that organisations are created to manufacture goods by creating structures that perfectly define job responsibilities, authority, and other job functions, like a clockwork, with each “cog” knowing where it fits and how it relates to other parts.

This conventional perspective of organisation values order, stability, and the suppression of any conflicts that arise. Using the watch analogy, we can understand why this makes logical.

What happens if conventional watches decide to become less traditional and rethink their place in the system?

Conflict, according to “Traditional” organisational thinkers, implies that the organisation is not designed or structured correctly or adequately. Common solutions include expanding job descriptions, authorities, and responsibilities, increasing the use of central power (discipline), separating conflicting members, and so on.

This perspective on organisation and conflict problems. Unfortunately, most of us, consciously or unconsciously, cherish some aspects of this “orderly” environment.

The problem arises when we fail to recognise that this perspective on organisation and conflict is only applicable to organisations that operate in normal ways, with innovation and change essentially abolished.

The functional view of organisational conflict sees conflicts as a productive process, one that can stimulate members of the organisation to increase their knowledge and skills, as well as their contribution to organisational innovation and productivity

. In contrast to the position maintained above, this more modern approach organisation NEEDS conflict so that diverging points of view can be discussed and new ways of doing things can be developed.

The functional perspective of conflict also implies that conflict gives people with feedback about how things are doing, and that “personality conflict” conveys information to managers about what isn’t functioning in an organisation, allowing for opportunities to improve.

We’ve covered the good (conflict is beneficial), the bad (conflict should be avoided), and now we need to handle the ugly. Managers and employers may strive to suppress conflict when it is unavoidable. This is known as ugly behaviour. You know you have ugly in your organisation if:

– Many conflicts have been ongoing for years, and people have given up on resolving and managing conflict problems inside an organisation.

– When people tend to blame the boss or formal leader for the mess. In truth, that is how most employees would see the situation; while managers and supervisors play important roles in shaping how disagreements are handled in the organisation, it is also true that avoiding ugliness must be a shared responsibility.

Management and staff must collaborate to limit the unpleasantness and improve the probability that conflict can be channelled into a powerful force for change.

In industrial relations, there is no permanent opponent, either at the individual or collective level. There may be instances when a conflict must be resolved frankly on managerial problems in order to achieve long-term managing goals.

One expects that managers in both public and commercial organisations would demonstrate increased competence and willingness to manage with such clarity. However, conflict appears to be recurring throughout our organisations and institutions.

1.2 Statement of Problems

Conflict management is a must-have in any organisation, because no organisation can function without conflict. This is the essence of the necessity to comprehend the term conflict.

Conflict management is required to reduce its negative impact on an organization’s efficiency.

This emphasises the need of understanding the source of conflict as well as the methods and approaches to take in order to get the greatest potential outcome(s).

Organisations experience conflicts, such as

a. What are the conditions of work? When employment in an organisation is based on favouritism, giving unfair benefits to some. Nepotism occurs when employment is based on persons with authority or influence favouring their own relatives.

b. When corrupt employees/management of an organisation are selfish in their decision-making and overall functioning.

c. Where suitable resources and support are not provided in sufficient quantities to accomplish projected goals.

d. When an organisation lacks responsibility.

d. When there is an absence of communication within an organisation.

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