Reasons for Conflict Within an Institution or Organization and How Individual Differences and Perceptions Contribute to the Conflict
One of the causes of conflict with an organization or institution is unrealistic expectations. In some cases, employers may set unrealistic expectations that employees cannot achieve, hence making them feel that the employer is not mindful of their welfare (Kwafo, 2016). This creates conflict between the employee and employer and reduces employee productivity. Unrealistic expectations may also make employees feel that the employer is not concerned about their needs. For instance, when an employer sets high targets and short deadlines for employees, the employee may be forced to overwork themselves to meet the target within the required timeline yet go unrewarded for their efforts, thus creating conflict between the employer and employee. The second cause is sharing resources. When employees share resources, the scarcity of the resources could lead to conflict because every employee who needs to use the resources undermines the other who requires the resources to pursue their goals. Sharing resources could also result in a conflict of interest because each party will focus on allocating resources to themselves at the expense of the other (Garden, 2018). The third cause is interdependence. Task interdependence may cause conflict in the workplace because it makes it easier for co-workers to blame each other when something goes wrong. Individual differences and perceptions also have a significant impact on conflict. For instance, highly authoritarian individuals tend to antagonize co-workers by highlighting minor differences, creating conflict. Individual differences such as differences in race, gender, color, and ethnic background may create personal biases, resulting in poor treatment of some employees, hence creating conflict. For instance, minority groups may be assigned complex tasks, particularly if an employer wants to increase their intention to quit, thus creating conflict. Gender differences may also create conflict due to stereotypes associated with specific genders. For instance, conflict may arise when a male employee takes orders from a female employee or is summoned by the female employee for underperformance because he may feel undermined. Individual aggressiveness, dominance, tolerance for ambiguity, and authoritarianism may also cause conflict and influence how individuals deal with conflict (Garden, 2018). In addition, when two parties are autocratic and with closed minds, they are bound to disagree, creating conflict in the institution.
The Role of Functional Conflict in Institutional Change.
Functional conflict can facilitate successful institutional change by supporting organizational goals and improving employees’ performance. The main argument behind supporting functional conflict is that if conflict results in regular competition among groups and the groups work harder and are more productive, it is advantageous to the organization and the group (Omisore & Abiodun, 2014). Functional conflict can promote institutional change by allowing employees to identify the problems that may hinder successful change and see opportunities. It can also inspire new ideas, growth, and learning among employees, creating institutional change. It allows people to feel free to express their opinions and challenge the assumptions, beliefs, and ideas of others, hence creating group thinking where feelings of loyalty and solidarity in decision-making are developed and may override the imperative to realistically and logically evaluate all possible solutions. This can effectively address issues that may create resistance, facilitating effective change.
The Role of Dysfunctional Conflict in Institutional Change.
Dysfunctional conflict hinders institutional change and creates resistance to change because it includes competing for individual interests and overriding the institution’s overall interests. It may make managers withhold information from each other, and employees sabotage the work done by others either through a lack of participation in teamwork or intentionally (Omisore & Abiodun, 2014). This type of conflict also distracts employees from the institution’s goals and wastes energy and resources in competing to win. Personal victory is usually more important than meeting institutional goals. Dysfunctional conflict may also slow down institutional change by creating issues in the sharing of resources because managers focus on meeting their interests, thus being reluctant to provide the resources required to effect change. It also limits communication, thus making it hard for employees to collaborate in implementing the required change. For instance, implementing change may be delayed if top management withholds information employees need to implement change, such as any changes in employee responsibilities and how to use new technology to complete operations in an organization.
Conflict Resolution Strategy Organizational Leadership Could Use With Functional Conflict.
Functional conflict can be resolved through collaboration or integrative conflict resolution strategy. This strategy focuses on collaboratively solving a conflict by working together to find creative and new solutions to problems. This is achieved by focusing on the needs of all conflicting parties. Integrating behaviors incorporate conciliatory remarks, such as statements showing acceptance of responsibility, and analytical comments, such as statements disclosing relevant information (Chea, 2006). It encourages communication focused on reaching a successful resolution that maintains the relationship for future interaction by opening communication channels and increasing information gathering and sharing.
Conflict Resolution Strategy Organizational Leadership Could Use With Dysfunctional Conflict.
Dysfunctional conflict can be resolved using the competing or dominating conflict resolution strategy. This strategy relies on aggression, position power, perseverance, and verbal dominance. It also includes accusations, confrontational remarks, hostile imperatives, personal criticism, denial of responsibility at the expense of others, and threats. Chea (2006) argues that this style is mainly effective in addressing dysfunctional conflict arising from production-related goals. An individual might use aggression and power strategies to instill fear in the employees and make them cooperate toward achieving institutional or organizational goals.
Chea, A. (2006). organizational Conflict: Strategy, Leadership, Resolution Framework, and Managerial Implications. Journal of Business & Leadership: Research, Practice, and Teaching, 2(2).
Garden, A. (2018). Conflict within organizations – teams. How to Resolve Conflict in Organizations, 55-78. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351206112-5
Kwafo, S. (2016). Corporate conflict and its effects on workers’ behavior. GRIN Verlag.
Omisore, B. O., & Abiodun, A. R. (2014). Organizational conflicts: Causes, effects, and remedies. International Journal of Academic Research in Economics and Management Sciences, 3(6). https://doi.org/10.6007/ijarems/v3-i6/1351
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Develop a 3-4 page report on how conflict can affect an organization. Describe reasons for conflict and explain the role of both functional and dysfunctional conflict in institutional change. Recommend strategies for resolving both functional and dysfunctional conflict.
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