Prevention of conflicts can have dire consequences on productivity. This is because it is through conflict resolution that underlying issues affecting the employees are resolved. It is also through conflict that eventually people get to understand each other and hence work better together in future.
There are many approaches that are used by organizations to deal with conflict at the workplace and of course each approach yields different outcomes. Some of these conflict management approaches include avoidance, negotiation, arbitration, litigation or dismissal and transfer of irreconcilable employees.
In most cases organizations will apply a combination of two or more conflict management tactics. In my workplace the popular conflict management approach used is avoidance. This approach takes the form of simply ignoring conflicts among employees in the hope that the issues of contention will disappear. Needless to say this approach only suppresses conflict and aggravates the problems. With time the conflicts become irrepressible and erupt to scandals. Disgruntled employees sabotage office resources and in case the conflict is among co-workers the scenario may take to physical confrontation. This tarnishes the image and reputation that an organization takes so much to build. Another approach used at my workplace is instant transfer of one or both parties to the conflict and in some cases dismissal. This approach has its pros and cons in that transfers can have an adverse effect on the employee and the same for dismissal. However, other times it has been used to dilute tension between worker with bad blood. Separation thus seems to be very logical. Management at the workplace should ensure that it refrains from using such a technique.
The techniques used at my workplace contradict with my personal conflict management preferences at varying degrees. I highly believe that avoiding a problem in the hope that it goes away does not help. Communication is crucial to conflict management. It is important to note that conflict mounts slowly from simple arguments then accumulates to intolerable tensions culminating to conflicts. Management can contain and dissolve these arguments and tensions before it translates to conflict. This is possible by monitoring employee relations and identifying potential conflicts. (Nelson & Quick, 2006). In addition, frequent open discussions among the employees and the management can help to quell discontent felt by the workforce before it matures to conflicts and scandal. Further, proper channels and policies that clearly outline the organization's stance on conflict and the expected code of conduct at the organization can help to alleviate conflict. For example, harassment is popular at the workplace because the organizations lack clear cut rules and regulations to govern relationship among people in the workforce. Women especially fall victim to sexual harassment from their bosses and managers and in most cases feel helpless and turn to conflict in order to grab attention of others. If proper codes of conduct are placed then conflicts at the workplace can be managed. Another shortfall of transfers and dismissal of parties to conflict is that it assumes that only main participants are