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What is Organizational Conflict & 4 Types of Organizational Conflict

Organizational conflict is a state of disagreement or misunderstanding that can happen between colleagues or leaders in an organization. Various factors, such as differences in needs, values, and interests, can be the reason for conflict.

What is Organizational conflict and its types definition of Organizational conflict by author

Conflict in the workplace can start from minor disagreements to big disputes that can have a huge impact on the organization’s productivity and motivation.

Workplace conflict can lead to positive outcomes. Such as increased creativity and innovation if managed effectively.

Conflict can arise due to differences in opinions, values, goals, or resources among members of the organisation. Conflict can be detrimental to the organization if it is not managed correctly.

Definition of Organizational Conflict

Karl Marx first developed conflict theory, is a theory that society is in a state of perpetual conflict because of competition for limited resources.

According to S. R. Robbins defines conflict as “a process in which an effort is purposefully made by a person or unit to block another that result in frustrating the attainment of others goals or furthering of his or her interests.”

According to Chung and Meggison, “Conflict is the struggle between incompatible or opposing needs, wishes, ideas, interests, or people.”

According to Morton Deutsch, conflict as a “situation whenever incompatible activities occur.”

James D. Thompson says that organizational conflict is that behaviour by the organizational members which is expanded in opposition to other members.

According to Pondy, “Conflict has been defined as the condition of objective incompatibility between values and goals; as the behavior of deliberately interfering with another’s goal achievement; and as emotionally in terms of hostility.”

4 Types of Organizational Conflicts

There are different 4 types of organizational conflicts. That are as follows

      1. Intra-Individual or Intra-Personal Conflict.
      2. Interpersonal Conflict
      3. Intra-group Conflict
      4. Inter-group Conflict

      Intra-individual Conflict

      Intrapersonal conflict arises within a person and involves internal disputes, such as competing motivations or roles.

      Intra-individual conflict is a type of individual conflict that arises within a person. Basically, it occurs when an individual experiences difficulty within themselves.

      Such as uncertainty about what is expected or wanted, or feeling insufficient to meet expectations. Intra-individual conflict can also refer to a situation where an individual’s objectives and vision differ from their company’s overall vision.

      This type of conflict is internal and involves only one individual. An example of intra-individual conflict could be a lawyer experiencing confusion between their personal values and the values of their client.

      Interpersonal Conflict

      Interpersonal conflict is between two or more people who are required to interact and can result in a loss of productivity and employee turnover.

      It can arise due to differences in personalities, values, expectations, goals, scarce resources, or opposing viewpoints. Interpersonal conflict can be viewed as the opposite of affinity. And can be lead to a breakdown of attraction between individuals.

      Interpersonal conflicts are also of many types, such as value-based conflicts. Basically, it occurs when people have different basic value systems.

      If not managed effectively, interpersonal conflict can lead to negative outcomes, such as decreased productivity and morale.

      Resolving interpersonal conflict through effective communication and negotiation. Other hands, it can result in positive outcomes such as better understanding and cooperation.

      Intra-group conflict

      Intra-group conflict refers to disagreement or confrontation between two or more members of the same group or team. It arises when the conflict between groups inside and outside an organization disagrees on various issues. And can involve a disagreement over goals, values, or resources.

      Intra-group conflict can be caused by various factors, such as differences in personalities, values, interests, and perceptions.

      If not managed effectively, intra-group conflict can lead to negative outcomes. Such as decreased productivity and morale.

      Inter-group Conflict

      Inter-group conflict refers to disagreement or confrontation between two or more groups and their members. It can occur between work departments, entire companies, Organizational political parties, or nations.

      Inter-group conflict can express itself to be interpersonal conflict, psychological tension, or physical violence. It differs from intra-group conflict, which is dealing with conflict within a group.

      Inter-group conflict can be produced by a variety of variables, such as cultural differences, value, interest differences, and perception differences.

      So if it is not managed effectively, inter-group conflict can lead to negative outcomes. Such as decreased productivity and morale.

      However, if managed effectively through effective communication and negotiation, it can lead to positive outcomes. Such as increased understanding and collaboration among groups.

      Organizational Conflict Process

      The conflict management process involves several steps that can help resolve conflicts in a productive manner. These steps are as follows:

      Recognizing the issue or problem that is creating the conflict: In this stage, we just identify the issue or problem that is causing the dispute.

      Exploring the conflict: Once the conflict has been identified, it’s important to explore it thoroughly. This involves gathering information and knowing the perspectives of all parties involved. And identifying the underlying causes of the conflict.

      Discussing the conflict: After exploring the conflict, the next step is to discuss it openly and honestly. This involves creating a safe space for everyone to express their views and feelings.

      Co-creating the alternative solution: The best solutions are those in which everyone in the team participates. Working together to resolve an issue ensures that it is in everyone’s best interests.

      Setting simple actions and responsibilities: After you’ve reasoned out the solution to a workplace conflict. Your group should agree on what actions should be taken to achieve it.

      This means that you are agreeing on specific things that we can do both collectively. And also as individuals and then putting them in composition.

      Implementing the solution: Once the solution has been agreed upon, it’s important to execute it in a timely and effective manner.

      Evaluating progress and follow-up: Even after the solution has been implemented. It is important to consider its effectiveness and make any necessary changes. This helps ensure that the resolution sticks and that the conflict doesn’t arise again in the future.

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