There are different levels at which conflict occur in organizations: within the individual (role conflict where, for example, the individual feels a clash between his role as an executive and parent); between two immediate individuals; between persons when they are working in a group or in teams; between different groups within organisations (out of rivalry arising out of variety of reasons like resource allocation, mergers); and finally between the organization and the society when there is a mismatch between organizational goals and societal goals (e.g. environment). Given this situation it is in the interest of organization to see that conflict does not harm or injure the organizational process in achieving its goals. With the individual differences, of people who comprise the organization, it will be a futile to think of developing a group which will be free of conflict with members completely aligned and harmonious. The issue would be as to how to manage conflict in an organization so that it actually benefits out of it. Experts see potential positive benefits to the organization when conflict is constructively managed, not avoided. It is even recommended that conflict is stimulated for better group performance.
What this paper is about:
In this paper the attempt is to understand the general nature of conflict how it arises and why and how it should be managed by organizations. In order to have some focus on this huge and highly researched topic, the paper confines itself only to issues relating to the topic of conflict and its management process in a group/teams and the role of group leadership in successfully managing conflict. Group effectiveness is one of the key determinants of success of an organization. Groups in organizations are very often formal (departments and divisions) but increasingly their working is seen to be informal, where there is a large delegation of responsibility and where the group is allowed to choose its process and task break ups.
"The ability of groups to benefit from cognitive conflict (that is, differences in information, knowledge and opinions) can be a critical source of competitive advantage."(Philips and Thomas-Hunt, p 37)
Conflict management in groups therefore is a very crucial issue. Claus Langfred (p 181) says that new organizational forms with increase in individual and group autonomy and self management, will face many new challenges on conflict management in the future and they should focus on training of all involved in the group so that conflict manageme