Stimulation of conflict


Conflict improves group and organizational effectiveness. The stimulation of conflict initiates the search for new means and goals and provides the stimulus for innovation. The successful solution of a conflict leads to greater effectiveness, to more trust and openness, to greater attraction of members for each other, and to depersonalization of future conflicts. In this write up we are discussing how the stimulating conflict can provide benefits to the organization.

Conflict is a means by which to bring about radical change. It’s an effective device by which management can drastically change the existing power structure, current interaction patterns, and entrenched attitudes

Conflict facilitates group cohesiveness. Whereas conflict increases hostility between groups, external threats tend to cause a group to pull together as a unit. Inter group conflicts raise the extent to which members identify with their own group and increase feelings of solidarity.

Conflict brings about a slightly higher, more constructive level of tension. When the level of tension is very low, the parties are not sufficiently motivated to do something about a conflict.

Groups or organizations devoid of conflict are likely to suffer from apathy, stagnation, groupthink, and other debilitating diseases. In fact, more organizations probably fail because they have too little conflict, not because they have too much. Take a look at a list of large organizations that have failed or suffered serious financial setbacks over the past decade or two. The common thread through these companies is that they are stagnated. Their management became complacent and unable or unwilling to facilitate change. These organizations could have benefited from functional conflict.

It may be true that conflict is an inherent part of any group or organization. It may not be possible to eliminate it completely. However, just because conflicts exist there is no reason to deify them. All conflicts are dysfunctional, and it is one of management’s major responsibilities to keep conflict intensity as low as humanity possible. A few points will support this case.

The negatives consequences from conflict can be devastating. The list of negatives associated with conflict are awesome. The most obvious are increased turnover, decreased employee satisfaction, inefficiencies between work units, sabotage, labor grievances and strikes, and physical aggression.

Effective managers build teamwork. A good manager has a coordinated team. Conflict works against such an objective. A successful work group is like a successful sports team; each member knows his or her role and supports his or her teammates. When a team works well, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts Management creates teamwork by minimizing internal conflicts and facilitating internal.

Any manager who aspires to move up in such an environment (of conflict) would be wise to follow the traditional view and eliminate any outwards sign of conflict. Failure to follow this advice might result in the premature departure of the manager.

Managers who accept and stimulate conflict don’t survive in the organizations. The whole argument of the value of conflict may be moot as long as the majority of senior executives in organizations view conflict from the traditional view. In the traditional view any conflict will be seen as bad. Since the evaluation of a manager’s performance is made by higher-level executives, managers who do not succeed in eliminating conflict are likely to be appraised negatively. This, in turn, will reduce opportunities for advancement.

  • Col Virendra Kumar

    Its a wonderful article.Conflict has to be there and you will have to live with it, it has to be controlled and it has to be functional. How you manage it within specified limits is the art of management and upto some extent politics also. You have to be politically correct also otherwise you will be the first casualty of dysfunctional conflict.In manufacturing units, since all are working in close proximity ,more conflicts are seen and if one has to manage the show he has to develop this expertise of conflict management.Even the most competetent professional will fail if he dont have functional conflicts or if he is not able to manage dysfunctional conflicts.

    Col Virendra Kumar

  • Lala Alaban

    Would have been better if you gave concrete company examples