Chapter 13 Conflict and Stress
1. What is conflict?
Interpersonal conflict: The process that occurs when one person, group, or organizational
subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another.
----Conflict often involves antagonistic attitudes and behaviors.
2. Causes of organizational conflict:
Group identification and intergroup bias: identify with the successes of one’s own group and
disassociating oneself from outgroup failures boosts self-esteem and provides comforting
feelings of social solidarity.
Interdependence: When individuals or subunits are mutually dependent on each other to
accomplish their own goals, the potential for conflict exists.
----it necessitates interaction between the parties so that they can coordinate their interests.
----Interdependence implies that each party has some power over the other. It’s easy for one side to
abuse its power and create antagonism.
Differences in power, status, and culture: (conflict happen when parties differ significantly)
Power: If dependence is not mutual, but one way, the potential for conflict increases.
Status: when people of lower status are dependent on those of higher status.
Culture: when tow or more very different cultures develop in an organization, the clash in
beliefs and values can result in overt conflict.
Ambiguity: ambiguous goals, jurisdictions, or performance criteria can lead to conflict. Under
such ambiguity, the formal and informal rules that govern interaction break down. In
addition, it might be hard to accurately reward or punish.
3. Types of conflict:
Relationship conflict: interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do with their
relationship per se, not the task at hand. (“Personality clashes”)
Task conflict: disagreements about the nature of the work to be done. (Differences of opinion
about goals or technical matters)
Process conflict: disagreements about how work should be organized and accomplished.
(Disagreements about responsibility, authority…)
----Not all conflict is detrimental.
4. Modes of managing conflict:
Avoiding: low assertiveness of one’s own interests and low cooperation with other party.
“Hide the head in the sand”
Accommodating: cooperate with the other party’s wishes while not asserting one’s own
Competing: maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperation. You tend to frame the
conflict in strict win-lose terms.
Compromise: combines intermediate levels of assertiveness and cooperation. It is a
compromise between pure competition and pure accommodation. You attempt to satisfies
rather than maximize your outcomes.