The word conflict brings a lot of controversy. A conflict occurs when there is a struggle between interdependent forces. Any conflict can cause disturbance to persons or even a group, but when it is carefully handled we can bring about harmony and peace. Administrators and managers face a lot of conflicts and good decision making skills in a person helps to solve conflicts smoothly.
Conflict is a controversy or disagreement existing in desires and opinions among the workers. Organizational conflicts is both desirable and is useful if maintained at a functional level. Most health care organizations experiences a high level of conflict because there is much interfacing of roles and functions. How conflicts at these kinds of interactions are managed determines positive or negative outcomes.
Types of conflicts:
Human conflicts arise at different levels:
1. Intra personal: Dissention regarding oneself regarding a troubling issue(e.g. A person who had a fight is struggling internally whether to apologize or not)
2. Inter personal: Conflict between two or more persons.(e.g. quarrel for land or property between two people)
3. Inter group It takes many forms and it depends on the inter departmental interactions. Dissention commonly occurs between care givers and servicing units.
Sources of conflicts:
Sources of conflicts usually focus on role expectations, value systems and communications.
· Unclear boundaries of responsibility(job description and assignment
· Conflicts of interest
· Communication barrier causing misunderstanding
· Organizational structure related to organizational levels
· Decision making
· Need for concerns
· Behaviour regulation
· Unresolved prior conflicts
Strategies used to manage conflicts:
Aimed at creating a situation where there are few differences. Example of this is: We don't need to worry about that
Repression: This is another restrictive approach. It puts a lid on approach. The climate overly stressed the organizational values of co-operation and framework. Example of this is: Do it because I say so. What you think doesn't matter
Advantages: The work environment is under the total control of the manager
Resentments are generated and workers will retaliate against the manager.
It is also a restrictive approach.It is a win lose approachWe reach a solution to a problem by an arbitary situation
Compromise by majority vote result
In this strategy differences are not dealt with may faster again at other places or other times. Undealt differences will arise in a different form.
This is a participative or integrative decision making. Participative effort implies expectation of a win-win outcome or acceptable gain to both parties or groups. Employers try to produce the best result for all.
Participative group requires
Clear distension of values, purposes and goals
Open and honest communication of information
A sense of responsibility shared by all who participate
An environment of trust and commitment of all to the success of the process.
Variables in conflict management:
· Personal characteristics of the parties involved
· The previous relationship between the parties
· The nature of the problem
· The environment or setting
· The audience
· The strategies or tactics used
Modes of conflict management:
· Competing: Here there is a power struggle to win or lose
· Collaborating: Achieve win - win outcomes
· Compromising: Acceptable to all relationship
· Avoiding: Withdraw from situation
· Assertiveness: Focus on ones needs
· Co-operativeness: Focus on others needs and relationships
Communication skills needed to overcome conflict management:
1. Clarity of message
2. Active listening
3. Concrete statements
4. Asking questions
5. Mature behaviour
Every person who wants to be a good manager needs to know the tactics of conflict management.
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