Chapter 11: Conflict Management
Alternative Dispute Resolution Helps the RCMP Address Internal Conflicts* (p313)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was one of the first org in North America to adopt alternative
dispute resolution (ADR) and to see the link between their approaches to conflict management, cultural
transformation and service delivery.
ADR system improve morale and relationships also saves significant dollar savings
RCMP has a permanent Office of the ADR Advisor.
Guide Lets talk ADR is defined as the informal methods used to resolve disputes, such as simple
negotiations and mediation
Objective offer a fair, friendly, flexible and fast way for people to jointly work out a resolution to a dispute
that leaves everyone happier with the outcome.
ADR system tries to resolve conflicts at lowest possible level, create incentives to communicate, and include
an explicit right for either party to withdraw
The Nature of Conflict in Org (p314)
Conflict: the perception, in an interdependent relationship, of incompatible wishes, goals, attitudes,
emotions or behaviours.
o Contemporary definitions of conflict assume its associated with emotions (many are uncomfortable
o Western conflict at work are often viewed negative than positive
Interpersonal Conflict: dynamic process that occurs between two interdependent parties as they
experience negative emotional reactions to perceived disagreements and interference with the attainment of
Conflict and Emotion
Behavioural component of emotion: includes the verbal/nonverbal messages we express when we
o Nonverbal facial expressions, voice, gestures
o Often a mismatch between verbal and nonverbal messages
Incongruence (chpt6) can be a conflict trigger.
Physiological component of emotion: bodily experience of emotion; the way emotion makes us feel thus
what makes emotional experience so compelling.
Cognitive component of emotion: involves the way we experience an emotion, which depends, in part,
upon the way our mind appraises or interprets it.
o E.g. same joke upset him while makes her laugh.
www.notesolution.com 3 Interpersonal Conflicts: Task, Relationship, and Process Conflict
Relationship (affective) conflict: interpersonal incompatibilities that typically include feelings of anger,
tension and friction
Task (cognitive) conflict: differences in viewpoints/opinions that pertain to group task
o Disagreements about content of decision, task conflict is evident.
o People behave differently when involved in task and relationship conflicts
o Value conflicts are those that arise out of opposing principles/ideals involved in carrying out a task
Process conflict: controversy about aspects of how task accomplishment will proceed
o High performing teams had low but increasing levels of process conflict.
Low levels of relationship conflict that slightly rose as their deadlines got closer
Moderate levels of task conflict at midpoint of group interaction.
According to Tjosvold, we need to integrate our reason/emotion as well as task and relationship issues in
order to effectively deal with important interpersonal conflicts effectively.
Organizational Manifestations of Conflict (p316)
Different forms of manifested conflict interorganizational, intergroup, intragroup, interpersonal conflict.
o Interorganizational conflict: conflict that occurs between two or more org.
Cause competition, corporate takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, new org arrangements
o Intergroup conflict: conflict between groups or departments
Becomes more and more prevalent in turf wars between managers
Decreases communication with other group
Lead to win-lose outcomes and negative consequences (like territoriality, aggression,
But can lead to functional outcomes such as re-evaluation and introspection within teach
o Intragroup (team) conflict: occurs within single group/team
Occurs in storming stages.
o Interpersonal conflict: occurs between two or more people:
is a dynamic process involving interdependent parties as they experience negative emotional
reactions to perceived disagreements and interference with the attainment of their goals
Is Org Conflict Healthy or Unhealthy? (p317)
www.notesolution.com Early approaches assume conflict was detrimental to org performance and should be eliminated
Later viewpoints; too little conflict lowers performance because it leads to complacency
while too much conflict lowers performance because stimulation levels are too high and energy is diverted
away from task
*Exhibit 11.1 The Curvilinear Relationship between Task conflict and Performance
Another approach to determining if conflict is healthy/unhealthy is to observe if consequences are +
(functional) or (dysfunctional)
o Functional conflict: productive force, and one that can stimulate members of the org to increase
their knowledge and skills, as well as their contributions to org innovation and productivity
Individuals develop better awareness of themselves/others
Conflict can improve working relationships
When two parties work through their disagreements (accomplishment together)
By releasing tension, morale is improved.
William Wrigley Jr. when 2 people in biz always agree, one of them is unnecessary.
*Exhibit 11.2 Consequences of Conflict
Positive Consequences (functional) Negative consequences (dysfunctional)
Leads to new ideas Diverts energy from work
Stimulates creativity Threatens psychological well-being
Motivates change Wastes resources
Promotes org vitality Creates a negative climate
Helps individuals and groups establish Breaks down group cohesion
Serves as safety valve to indicate problems Can increase hostility and aggression
www.notesolution.com o Dysfunctional conflict: unhealthy, destructive disagreement between two or more people.
Takes away focus away from work to be done, the conflict itself, and parties involved.
Excessive conflict drains energy
Disagreements that involve anger and resentment at specific people than ideas are
Those involved in dysfunctional conflict rely on threats, deception and verbal abuse to
Bullying: repeated non-physical, health impairing psychological mistreatment that falls
outside discriminatory harassment.
Costs UK $80 million lost workdays
Sources of Conflict in Org (p319)
2 broad categories of sources
o Structural sources: those that stem from aspects of org in which conflict is occurring
(interdependence between jobs, goal differences, degree of resources being shared/scarce)
o Personal sources: arise from different individuals, such as their differing personalities, perceptions,
values, and conflict-handling behaviours.
o *Exhibit 11.3 Structural and Personal Sources of Conflict
Specialization and goal diff
Interdependence or common resource
Status and power diff
Personal Sources Situations Where Appropriate Situations where
Personality difference inappropriate
Perception, values, ethics
Structural Sources of Conflict
(related to org structure)
Specialization and Goal