Conflict and Individual Behavior

Cite this article as:"Conflict and Individual Behavior," in The Business Professor, updated July 15, 2020, last accessed October 22, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/conflict-and-individual-behavior-2/.

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What is Conflict?

Conflict is a state in which two or more individuals hold inconsistent positions that negatively affect the other.

Is Conflict Good?

A moderate amount of conflict can be positive. It allows for a deeper understanding of others. It also brings to the forefront of potential conflicts that could be more severe later. It can also be useful in the ideation process and spawn creativity. Extreme conflict is generally negative. It impedes operations and destroys individual and group relationships.

Personal conflict, deriving from personal differences between individuals, is rarely productive. It destroys the potential for collaboration and has a negative impact on others.

What are the Types of Conflict?

There are three commonly understood types of conflict.

  • Intrapersonal Conflict – This type of conflict arises within the individual. An individual may be torn between two inconsistent decisions, beliefs, positions, or roles. Role conflict can arise from personal disbelief in one’s ability to assume a role, holding differing roles, or failing to fully understand one’s role.
  • Interpersonal Conflict – This is a conflict that arises when two or more individuals hold inconsistent positions that negatively affect the other. These are commonly the result of differing values, objectives, or competition.
  • Intergroup Conflict – This is a conflict that arises when two or more groups of individuals hold inconsistent positions that negatively affect the other.

What are the Sources of Conflict in the Organization?

  • Goals – Competing or different goals.
  • Personality conflicts – Differing personalities between individuals.
  • Scarce resources – Competing over finite resources.
  • Styles – The way individuals carry themselves, act, or behave.
  • Values – The underlying factors that drive and individual’s beliefs, positions, and actions.

What are the Methods of Conflict Management?

The most recognized model of methods of conflict management, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), organizes 5 conflict management styles:

  • Accommodating – An individual in the conflict seeks to acquiesce to the needs, desires, or demands of the other side. The party is cooperating and unassertive.
  • Avoiding – An individual in the conflict fails to take action on his/her position or the other side’s position. There is no cooperation and also no assertiveness.
  • Collaborating – An individual seeks to work with the other side in pursuit of both sides’ goals.
  • Competing – An individual seeks to beat the other side by further his/her position at the expense of the other party’s position.
  • Compromising – An individual forgoes some of their objectives in order to achieve other objectives. This generally means giving in to some of the demands or positions of the other side.

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