I did two things once I decided the topic for this week of blog to be conflict management. First I began the process of recalling each memorable conflict that I had witnessed or involved from my past work experience. Secondly I began to research and read some of the so-call tips, suggestions, tools, or strategies out there on the internet. There are some tips out there to prevent conflict, such as a “to-do list” in a work place that involves you should return things that you borrow and so on. Initially I just think that some of the tips or helps seem very basic and trivial. It is almost silly to have those as way to prevent work place conflicts.
However, the more suggestions or guides on conflict management that I read through, I realize that most of them have couple of similarities. There are three most common suggestions toward resolving conflict:
- Focus on the “real” issue that is causing the conflict
- The importance of effecting and open communication
- Establishing understanding and acceptance for both parties
I believe that the first idea, focus on the core cause of a conflict is the very critical since it is the steppingstone toward resolving the conflict. In order to uncover the cause or the source of the conflict so that we can have a better knowledge of what types of the conflict it is and how we can go on to resolving it. There are two basic types of conflicts, Substantive and Emotional. Substantive conflict is a disagreement of expectation or goal, and emotional conflict is difficulties occurring base on negative emotion. Moreover, according to one of the article by Donais he categorizes the source of the conflict to four: Interpersonal, Organizational, Trend/Changes, and External factors. After find out the real problem for each source of the conflict then we can go on use some tools, such as personality test, focus interview, and survey to help us better communicating with the parties involving the conflict. In addition once the core issue is uncover then the resolving process can have more effective dialog between the people who are involved. Lastly, “not all conflicts are bad” that’s why establishing understanding and acceptance is one of the important idea too. Some functional conflicts as constructive resolving can result positive outcome for the group even the organization. An example of this would a policy or procedure improvement after a successful conflict outcome.
- Max Messmer, Lawrence Kahn. Managing Conflict. Business Credit. 2006;108:52.
- Blaine Donais, What Are the Sources of Workplace Conflict? http://www.mediate.com/articles/donaisB2.cfm. June 09, 2012
- CRMLearning, What to Do When Conflict Happens. http://www.crmlearning.com/ . June 10, 2012