Three Views of Conflict: How Conflicts Viewed in Organizations

Three Views of Conflict: How Conflicts Viewed in OrganizationsThree views of conflict are traditional, human relations, and interactionist view; where each view treats and manage conflict uniquely and differently.

Organizational conflict is the discord that arises when the goals, interests or values of different individuals or groups are incompatible and those individuals or groups block or thwart one another’s attempts to achieve their objective.

Conflicts can occur because of task, relationship, or process related issues between personnel.

Conflicts at organization were perceived or viewed as only a negative object. But through the development of “organizational behavior” studies; conflict is now viewed differently and organizations now learned how to manage them.

But, there is conflict over the role of conflict in groups and organizations.

Three Views of Conflict are;

  1. Traditional View of Conflict.
  2. Human Relations View of Conflict.
  3. Interactionist View of Conflict.

Conflict views are described below;

The Traditional View of Conflict

The traditional view is the early approach to conflict which assumed that all conflict was bad and to be avoided. The conflict was treated negatively and discussed with such terms as violence, destruction, and irrationality to reinforce its negative implication.

The conflict was a dysfunctional outcome; resulting from poor communication, lack of transparency and trust between people, and the failure of managers to be responsive to the necessities and aspirations of their employees.

The view that all conflict is negative certainly offers a simple approach to looking at the behavior of people who create conflict.

We simply need to direct our attention to the causes of conflict, analyzing them and take measures to correct those malfunctions for the benefit of the group and organizational performance.

The traditional view of conflict fell out of favor for a long time as scholars and academics came to realize that in some circumstances a conflict was inescapable.

The Human Relations View of Conflict

The human relations view of conflict treats conflict as a natural and inevitable phenomenon and, so can’t be eliminated completely from any organization.

Here, the conflict was seen in a positive light as it was suggested that conflict may lead to an improvement in a group’s performance. But it is similar to the interactionist view of the conflict.

The Interactionist View of Conflict

The interactionist view indicates that conflict is not only an encouraging force in a group but also an absolute necessity for a group to perform effectively.

While the human relations view accepted conflict, the interactionist view encourages conflicts on the grounds that a harmonious, peaceful, tranquil, and cooperative group is prone to becoming static apathetic and non-responsive to needs for change in innovation.

So the major contribution of the interactionist view is encouraging group leaders to sustain an ongoing minimum level of conflict enough to keep the group viable, self-critical and inspired.

Related
More Conflict /