Archive for September, 2013

Functions of Conflict Within an Organisational Structure

a) Conflict generates new values, norms, and subsystems within an organisation.
b) Conflict within bureaucratic structures provides the means for growing ritualism and stagnation that could threaten such structures.
c) Conflict could attack and overcome the resistance towards change and innovation, but may be a threat for people managing the organization.
d) Conflict has personal or social value within an organization. Interest and curiosity are stimulated, problems could be aired and timeous solutions arrived at. Suppressing or disregarding conflict within an organization could easily lead to an intensification of a more pronounced type of conflict.

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What are the positive effects of conflict?

There are Stages of Conflict Development in dealing with and facing conflict. Conflict does not appear suddenly. As tension builds up, the signs and essence of conflict pass through a series of progressive stages.

  1. Latent conflict. At this stage, the basic conditions for potential conflict exist.
  2. Perceived conflict. One or both parties recognize the cause of conflict.
  3. Tangible conflict. Strain and tension is beginning to build up between the parties, although there are no real signs of mental or physical  struggle.
  4. Manifest conflict. The struggle is beginning to manifest and non-participants become aware of perceptible signs of conflict between the participating parties.
  5. Aftermath of conflict. The conflict has been ended by either resolution or suppression. This could lead to greater understanding or coöperation among the participants, or to an even more intense and prolonged conflict than the first one.

Possible Effects of Conflict.

The negative effects of conflict could be that:

a) Productivity of the movement may suffer
b) A loser may resign or work with  minimum allowable efficiency
c) Other staff members may choose sides
d) An essential feeling of belonging could be irreparably damaged
e) Manner in which we approach interpersonal conflict
f) Larger problems and deeper personal resentments may occur

The positive effects of conflict could be that:

a) It is an educational experience for participants to know and understand the other party’s functions and problems.
b) It may lead to energizing people
c) Helps towards better understanding and better channels of communication
d) The air is cleared since conflict is a safety valve for pent-up tensions which could otherwise cause explosive damage.
e) The necessary changes in an organizational system may be discovered and implemented.
f) Promotes growth in a relationship
g) Allow for healthy release of feelings
h) Increases motivation and self-esteem


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