Major Causes of Conflict
Conflicts arise from differences and when individuals come together in teams, their differences in terms of power, values, and attitudes contribute to the creation of conflicts. When negative conflicts occur, there are five accepted methods for handling it; Direct, Bargaining, Enforcement, Retreat and De-emphasis approach (Nelson, 1995).
• Direct Approach; this can be considered as the best method of addressing conflict, it concentrates on confronting the issue head on, by looking at the issue objectively and facing them as they are. If criticism is used it must be constructive to the recipients. This approach uses the techniques of problem solving and normally leaves everyone with a sense of resolution, because issues are brought to the surface and dealt with.
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• Bargaining; this is an excellent method to use when both parties have ideas on a solution, yet cannot find common ground. Often a third party, such as a team leader is required to help find the compromise, which involves give and take on both sides, however it always ends up both sides equally satisfied.
• Enforcement of team rules: avoid using this method if possible; it can bring about hard feelings toward the leader and the team. This technique is only used when it is obvious that a member does not want to be a team player and refuses to work with the rest. If enforcement has to be used on an individual, it may be best for that person to find another team.
• Retreat; only use this method when the problem is not real to begin with. By simply avoiding it or working around it a Manager can often delay long enough for the individual to cool off. When used in the right environment by an experienced manger this technique can help to prevent minor incidents that are the result of someone having a bad day from becoming real problem that should never have occurred.
• De-emphasis; this is a form of bargaining where the emphasis is on the areas of agreement when parties realise that there are areas where they are in agreement, they can often begin to move in a new direction.
• Conflicts can be positive; teams require some conflicts to operate effectively. Co-operative conflict can contribute to effective problem solving and decision making by motivating people to examine a problem, encouraging the expression of many ideas, energising people to seek