Management – Conflict Resolution


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Professional business objectives requires intellectual, philosophical, procedural, and administrative approaches to achieving goals. Therefore, many business decisions and operations benefit from input by team members whose efforts and expertise are dedicated to specific areas.

Conflict is an inevitable component of negotiation among groups of individuals dedicated to accomplishing a common goal or achieving a shared objective. In many respects, conflict is beneficial because it allows the group to consider wider perspectives than normally available to each member of the group individually. In the business environment, effective conflict resolution strategies are necessary to minimize any disruptive or destructive effects caused by conflict within the team.

When managed and resolved appropriately, conflict often generates team productivity rather than . Doing so requires the ability to identify the sources of existing conflicts as well as the foresight to recognize some of the potential triggers for future conflicts. At the management level, this includes understanding substantive operational causes of conflict and also personnel-specific causes of conflict.

In many respects, conflict is one of the most ubiquitous elements of professional business management, because it arises at every level of organizations, and within virtually every professional business environment from the smallest and least sophisticated to the largest corporate conglomerate. For this reason, effective conflict resolution strategy is universally important in professional business operations. Thesis Statement:

Conflict is inevitable within the professional business environment. Where it is ignored or managed ineffectively, conflict has the potential to undermine fundamental business functions. Effective conflict resolution strategies are essential to minimize any negative effect of conflict on business operations. Where conflict resolution strategies are effective, team performance benefits from a wider range of expertise and perspective. Introduction – the Benefits and Challenges of Working in Teams:

Some of the benefits of working in teams are very obvious: multiple team members bring a much greater range of personal talents and intellectual strengths; team members usually contribute different intellectual approaches and, therefore, a wider perspective on achieving shared goals; and the team approach allows individual members to concentrate their efforts on specific tasks to a much greater degree than possible without a team (Kinicki & Williams 2005).

The corresponding challenges of working in teams include negotiating differences in perspective and within the team as well as the need to understand the individual team members in a manner conducive to achieving group productivity. Very often, the most difficult challenge posed by working in teams is the need to address conflict within the group to minimize its potential for affecting productivity adversely.

Managing conflict successfully enables the group to benefit to the fullest extent possible from the contribution of all the members of the team while eliminating the corresponding potential for individual differences to generate disruptive influences on the team that may impact negatively on team performance and goal achievement (Bass 1985).

Enhancing Team Performance Through :

Conflict resolution enhances team performance in two major ways: (1) by eliminating potential obstacles to high performance in the form of conflicts that disrupt productivity, and (2) by making beneficial use of , specific concerns, and operational analyses contributed by individuals with a wide range of perspective and talent (Russell-Walling 2005).

Because unresolved conflict within teams can undermine the talents and efforts of even the most dedicated individuals, conflict resolution is an essential component of modern business management. Specific approaches to conflict resolution generally consist of strategies intended to prevent conflict preemptively and strategies intended to resolve conflicts after they arise. As a rule, eliminating conflict prospectively is more effective and more efficient than resolving conflict after it emerges. Generally, once conflicts erupt within a working group, more time must be dedicated to their resolution than would have been required to avoid the conflict prospectively. Likewise, conflicts that require resolution waste the time dedicated to the conflict, even before any efforts at resolution. However, the primary reason that conflict resolution strategy should emphasize prevention ahead of time is that the mechanisms for resolution are essentially the same, but preventing conflicts in advance spares the organization the lost productivity associated directly with conflicts and their resolution.

Equally important is the degree to which conflict prevention eliminates any residual negative sentiments among team members that often persist even after conflicts are successfully resolved in the short-term (Ross 2002). In practice, conflict avoidance is made possible by identifying its natural triggers and implementing strategies designed to address them in advance. Examples of natural triggers for conflict within teams would include inadequately defined responsibilities of individual team members, insufficient communication, and inefficient direction from leadership (Ross 2002). Other sources of conflict include personality and philosophical differences between team members. In the case of natural triggers for potential conflict, it is possible to eliminate many potential conflicts before they occur by providing clear instruction delineating individual areas of responsibility, outlining expected schedules for group meetings, and by providing a hierarchy for immediate supervision and periodic review (Ross 2002). In the case of conflict generated by interpersonal incompatibilities and individual idiosyncrasies, effective minimization of conflict in advance usually requires prior experience with the same individuals involved.

In general, management strategies for eliminating the detrimental potential of conflict require effective communication of specific responsibilities within the team, mechanisms for ensuring ongoing communication to address areas of potential conflict before they materialize fully, and assignment of team members with an understanding of any personal incompatibilities between and among individual team members.


Despite the fact that conflict is virtually inevitable within working groups, its detrimental effect on business is capable of being minimized by strategies designed to identify it sources. Conflict resolution requires anticipating and eliminating conflicts before they occur, as well as establishing mechanisms for their resolution where they are unavoidable. In many respects, organizational conflict resolution strategy is an ongoing evolution incorporating both general principles as well as personnel-specific information.


Bass, B. (1985) Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations.

New York: Free Press

Kinicki, a., Williams, B. (2005) Management: A Practical Approach.

New York: McGraw-Hill.

Ross, a. (2002) No Collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden Costs.

New York: Basic Books

Russell-Walling, E. (2005) Fifty Management Ideas You Really Need to Know. London: Quercus