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Conflict Management Research

In the article “The Management of Conflicts in the Knowledge-Based Organization”, Holban (2011) states that there are two types of conflicts: competitive and cooperative. Competitive conflict is usually destructive because the conflicting parties intentionally avoid constructive dialogue and have a win-lose attitude. Contrary, in a cooperative conflict, the conflicting parties seek a win-win approach of solving their differences. Holban points interpersonal conflict as one of the conflicts that arise in human relationships within a knowledge-based society. Interpersonal conflict occurs when an employee tries to frustrate another employee by preventing him/her from achieving a proposed goal. From a positive view, interpersonal conflict allows employees to solve their differences in an ethical and equitable manner. However, interpersonal conflict may cause exhaustion of an organization’s resources.

Holban refers to Professor Kennet’s conflict management styles. Detour style entails reducing people’s ability to assert their own interests. Accommodating style emphasizes on minimum realization of personal interests and maximum cooperation with other people. Competitive style allows those in power or higher ranks to assume the decision-making power in conflict management. Contrary, collaborative style entails the maximization of personal interests and communication of the conflicting parties.

Conflict resolution styles include avoidance, forcing, accommodating, collaborating, and compromise. In avoidance, individuals keep away from incidents that are likely to results into conflicts. This method is desirable when a problem is minor. Forcing approach entails making others to accept a decision. It is effective during emergences and is used to discourage unpopular actions and to protect a party from being taken advantage of by other parties. Accommodation approach of conflict resolution entails encouraging conflicting parties to cooperate with each other. On the other hand, collaboration aims at encouraging conflicting parties to seek satisfaction of their needs. Conflicting parties come together and look for the most effective way of solving their differences. Lastly, compromise approach entails looking for a solution that provides an incomplete satisfaction to both parties.

Conflicts are inevitable. There are natural results of our social interaction and interdependence. Although conflict can have either negative or positive effects, the best way to look at conflict is to view it as an inevitable evil which helps to improve our relationships with other people in the society.

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