Workplace conflict is common in every working environment. It arises from many causes and can have an extremely destructive effect on productivity. Recent studies have even found that in more and more cases it is leading to violence. It is obviously very important for managers to quickly and effectively manage any conflict that arises. 1. 1 The causes of conflict in work are as follows; Conflicting resources, this is when employees are forced to share the use of certain resources.
Conflicting styles, everybody works differently according to their own personality, strengths and weaknesses however this can often cause conflict because other employees may not like that particular style of working. Conflicting perceptions, we all see the world differently and differing opinions can often result in conflict. Also, certain people may have access to different or more information than others and so are able to perceive things differently. Conflicting goals, different people in our team may have different goals which they are working towards which could possibly be a hindrance to someone else’s goals.
Also, different managers might have different priorities when it comes to how work is completed. Conflicting pressures, is very similar to conflicting goals although usually involves urgent tasks. If you need a staff member or team to complete a piece of work quickly for you but they are already working towards another urgent deadline it puts pressure on the individual or team. Conflicting roles, sometimes staff will have to take on work that they may feel doesn’t fall within their job responsibility, or they may feel that another person is being given a task that should belong to them.
Different personal values, a person might be asked to complete a job that conflicts with their ethical values. Unpredictable policies, when polices or practices change within an organisation and those changes are not properly communicated conflict can arise. 1. 2 Stages in the development of conflict are as follows; No conflict, this is the ideal state for an organisation however it is likely that conflict will arise at some point. Latent conflict, people have differing values and ideas and while this is not a problem in itself, it is likely that an event will occur that will make such differences more noticeable and then conflict can arise.
Emergence, at this stage team members will start to recognise that they have different ideas and values and difference can start to cause discord and tension. Escalation, if team members involved in conflict cannot find a resolution, conflict can escalate. Tensions will rise and people will start to pick sides. Stalemate, at this point conflict has escalated to a point where tensions are running high and neither party is willing to back down. De-escalation, even the most intense conflict will eventually calm down and parties will reluctantly begin to negotiate. Settlement and resolution, parties will find a solution to the problem.
As a manger you may have to work closely with the team to help reach this stage amicably. Peace building and reconciliation, once parties have reached a solution it is important to repair and strengthen working relationships to prevent future conflict. 1. 3 Explain the effects of conflict on individual and team performance in the workplace. A substantive conflict relates specifically to team performance and goals. Substantive conflicts in the workplace can have a positive impact on individual and team performance by helping to refine best practice and creating a little healthy competition between teams and individuals.
Working through conflicts can also be seen as a key phase of group development. However they can cause slower performance if individuals or groups are not working in ways which are compatible with the best and quickest completion of set tasks. An affective conflict tends to be about personal disagreements or dislikes, or in a group setting may relate to the assigned task. These can have a detrimental effect on a group’s ability to work together and communicate with each other effectively. When conflicts are based on personal dislikes and disagreements this can also to exclusion and bullying in the work place and staff forming cliques.
This can greatly impact on employee job satisfaction, staff turnover which lead to company prosperity suffering or even litigation. 1. 4 Explain any recognised technique a manger could use to minimise and resolve conflict in the work place. Mediation is one form of conflict resolution were an impartial third party will meet with two conflicting individuals to discuss a settlement. The meeting will be private and confidential and each individual is given an equal footing and encouraged to discuss their issues freely.
Mediation is a voluntary process and conflicting parties are able to work together to find a mutual agreement. There is a high rate of compliance in mediated conflict resolution because both parties have equal say in finding a solution. 1. 5 Describe how a manager could create harmony at work and engender a positive atmosphere in order to minimise the adverse effects of conflict. Firstly and most importantly try to stamp out gossiping. Gossip has the most detrimental effect on workplace harmony. Just listening to gossip, even when not engaging in it will almost certainly affect people’s views and opinions of someone else.
Ensure that all employees are treated equally and that you are not seen as playing favourites with certain staff members. Ensure staff have adequate and appropriate resources to complete their work. When hiring new staff, try hire people that you think will be a good fit with the current team. If a team member is not pulling their weight or not working to a high enough standard, make sure this is dealt with quickly to avoid leaving the situation to fester and cause discord. Have an open door policy so your staff feel like they can come to you with any problems and be listened to and supported.
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