Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Conflict Management

                                                
“Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”- Matthew 5:9
Conflict
is a natural and necessary part of our lives. Whether at home with our families
and friends or at work with our colleagues, conflict pervades our
relationships. If your job involves dealing with people, either as a manager or
an individual contributor, it is almost inevitable that you will experience
interpersonal and inter-group conflict from time to time. Rather than suppress
or ignore conflicts, it is to the advantage of the manager or individual member
of the group to learn effective techniques to cope with or deal with conflicts.
We
should not expect complete success in resolving conflict. When personal or
group animosities exist between the different parties, conflict is likely to
arise again. The conflict management techniques may have to be repeated time
and again. In extreme situations, the only practical solution may be to
physically separate the two parties. The manager or leader should not try to
eliminate all conflict among subordinates but should try to resolve or manage
conflict that potentially has severe negative consequences. There is a famous
Chinese saying which goes: A certain amount of opposition is of great help to a
person. When kites arise, they do not go with the wind but against the wind. In
this case, an optimum amount of conflict improves individual or organizational
performance.
What
is conflict?    
Conflict is the energy created when individuals or
groups of people pursue incompatible goals in an effort to meet their personal
needs and interests.
Causes
of conflict
In order to develop an effective intervention
strategy, it is important to know the general categories of causes of conflict.
Here are some of the causes of conflict in our institutions:
·        
Poor
Communication which involves lack of information and misinformation, as well as
differing views on what data is relevant, the interpretation of that data and
how the assessment is performed. Martin Luther King Junior had this to say on
communication: People hate each other because they do not communicate. They do
not communicate because they are far apart.
·        
Relationship
conflict, which results from strong emotions, stereotypes, miscommunication and
repetitive negative behaviour. It is this type of conflict which often provides
fuel for disputes and can promote destructive conflict even when the conditions
to resolve the other sources of conflict can be met.
·        
Value
conflict, which arises from ideological differences or differing standards on
evolution of ideas or behaviours. The actual or perceived differences in values
do not necessarily lead to conflict. It is only when values like religion,
language and customs are imposed on groups or groups are prevented from upholding
their value systems that conflict arises.
·        
Differences
in training and specialisation can also be sources of conflict. This happens
when individuals or groups despise the type of training those other colleagues
may have had.
·        
Structural
conflict, which is caused by unequal or unfair distribution of power and
resources.  Time constraints, destructive
patterns of interaction and non-conducive geographical or environmental factors
contribute to structural conflict.
·        
Role
conflict which is caused by an overlap in the allocation of responsibilities.
In this case, members may clash on whose responsibilities a certain task is
involved.
·        
The
responsibilities will be overlapping.
·        
Personal
variables and value systems like racism, tribalism, religion and regionalism
can also be a source of conflict.
·        
Interest
conflict, which involves actual or perceived competition over interest such as
resources. For examples, in Zimbabwe today, we find our indigenous mines
fighting over mine claims. Some have even gone to the extent of fighting over
land.
·        
The
way a dispute is resolved or perceptions of trust and fairness can also lead to
conflict.

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