We have all experienced conflict of various types, yet we probably fail to recognize the variety of conflict that occur in organizations. Conflict may be defined as a difference of opinion between two or more individuals or groups.
Today’s organizations may face greater potential for conflict than ever before in history. The marketplace, with its increasing competition and globalization, magnifies differences among people in terms of personality, values, attitudes, perceptions, languages, cultures, and national backgrounds. With the increasing diversity of the workforce, furthermore, comes potential incompatibility and conflict.
In this chapter we examine conflict and negotiation from several viewpoints. First, we compare functional versus dysfunctional conflict. Next, we identify what causes conflict to include various types and sources of conflict. We examine workplace violence and aggression before turning to a discussion of factors that make jobs especially prone to coworker conflict. Then we present various reactions to the frustration that accompanies conflict along with effective and ineffective techniques for coping with difficult behavior and conflict. We focus on major conflict resolution approaches. The chapter concludes with an examination of negotiation and mediation, two types of conflict management.
Not all conflict is bad. In fact, some types of conflict encourage new solutions to problems and enhance the creativity in the organization. In