Conflict benefits for organizations

by Sreeram


Let’s briefly review how 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. While 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 increases feelings of solidarity.

Conflict improves group and organizational effectiveness. The stimulation of conflict initiates the search for new means and goals and clears the way 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

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 .you see names such as E.F Hutton ,General Motors, western Union, Gimbel’s Kmart, Morrison Knudsen, Eastern Airlines, Greyhound, and Digital Computer .The common thread through these companies is that they stagnated. Their managements became complacent and unable or unwilling to facilitate change .These organizations could have benefited from functional conflict.


It mat 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 in 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 humanly possible. A few points will support this case.

The negative consequences from conflict can be devastating. The list of negatives associated with conflict is 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 builds a coordinated team. Conflict work against such objective. A successful work group is like a successful sports team; each member known 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 coordination.

Manager who accept and stimulate conflict don’t survive in organizations. The whole argument on the value of conflict may be moot as long as the majority of senior executives in organizations have a traditional view of conflict. 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, those managers who do not succeed in eliminating conflicts are likely to be appraised negatively. This in turn, will reduce opportunities for advancement Any manager who aspires to move up in such an environment will be wise to follow the traditional view and eliminate any outward signs of conflict. Failure to follow this advice might result in the premature departure of the manager.

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