The bringing of people together in social interaction necessarily involves a set of interpersonal dynamics which sooner or later will lead to conflict. Conflict between people or groups often arises from competition for resources, power, and status. Family members compete for attention. Individuals compete for jobs and wealth. Nations compete for territory and prestige. Different interest groups compete for influence and the power to make rules. Often the competition is not for resources but for ideas, one person or group wants to have the ideas or behaviour of another group suppressed, punished, or declared illegal. When you consider what a diverse society we live in, with so many different backgrounds, perspectives and approaches to life, it is not surprising that conflict is established as part and parcel of our everyday life. This is because people will have competing interests and competing perspectives in relation to the same issues, and so we should not be surprised when tensions exist between individuals and groups. Conflict is concerned with difference. If we were all the same, then there would be little or no conflict. However, thankfully we are not all the same, and so part of the price that we pay for the richness of diversity is that conflicts will arise at certain times. Conflicts are inevitable in one's organizational life and personal life. Conflict tends to have negative consequences for both the individual and the organization. Performance is adversely affected. Decisions made may not be appropriate. Occasionally, they might even be unrealistic or irrational. Thus, conflicts tend to impair one’s efficiency.
Sometimes, conflict is also observed to give rise to certain maladjusted behaviours in individuals trying to cope with it. These include alcoholism, drug abuse, excessive smoking, under eating or overeating and extremely aggressive or submissive behaviour. Conflict has also certain physiological consequences in that, certain changes take place within the physiological system which are often ignored or unnoticed. Hence, it may be understood that conflict not only affects an individual’s performance, but also gives rise to psychosomatic disturbances, which undermine the health of the individual. It can also be argued that conflicts are not necessarily bad. The progress we have made so far in our civilization is due to the conflict between nature & man. Conflict releases energy at every level of human activity, energy that can produce positive, constructive results. Conflicts tend to have a motivational value; they drive or energize an individual to tackle a situation. To resolve a conflict one might explore different avenues or alternatives of action, which make him/her more knowledgeable. Conflicts also provide opportunities to test one’s own abilities. Conflict can occur at personal level, interpersonal level, group level. It can be latent or covert. Causes of Conflict
1. Conflicts arise when people are competing for the same resources, when they are not fairly distributed or when there are not enough to go round. 2. Conflicts arise when the people are unhappy with how they are governed. 3. Conflicts arise when people's beliefs clash. Religious and political views are particularly sensitive, because people often depend on these for a sense of identity and belonging. Sometimes the conflict is caused by a religious/political group being attacked; sometimes it is because the group is eager to spread a particular belief and even enforce it on others. Some leaders may aggravate religious and political differences as part of their tactics for keeping or gaining power. 4. In the same way ethnic differences can cause conflict, or be made to cause it. Again, people's ethnicity gives them a sense of identity and belonging, and it is threats to this sense which can cause violent responses, just as individuals may lash out with angry words or gestures when they feel threatened. Causes of...
References: 1. Robbins, Stephen P.(1999), Organizational Behaviour, Eight edition, Prentice Hall of India
2. Robbins, Stephen P. (2004) Organizational Behavior - Concepts, Controversies, Applications. 4th Ed. Prentice Hall
3. Scott, W. Richard. (2007) Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems Perspectives. Pearson Prentice Hall
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