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Mokhobo Laletsang, Bonang Mojewa & Marea Mpuse

Course Outline

Unit 1: The Theory and Context of Conflict in the Organisation

1.1 Understanding Conflict
1.1.1 Introdution
1.1.2 Define conflic
1.1.3 Transitions in conflict thought The Traditional View of Conflict The Human Relation View of Conflict The Interactionist View of Conflict

1.1.4 Forms of organisatonal conflict Substantive conflict Task conflict Process conflict Legal conflict Emotional conflict Separating substantive and emotional conflict
1.1.5 Topic Summary

1.2 Levels of conflict

1.2.1 Intrapersonal conflicts
1.2.2 Interpersonal conflicts
1.2.3 Intergroup conflicts
1.2.4 Intrapesrsonal conflicts
1.2.5 Interorganisational conflicts

1.3 The Conflict Process

1.3.1 Conflict Process Model /Stages of conflict

1.4 Conflict in the Organisation

1.4.1 Sources of Organisational Conflict
1.4.2 Outcomes of Conflict
1.4.3 Functonal and Disfunctional Conflict
1.4.4 Stimulating Conflict

1.5 Approaches and Styles of Conflict Management

1.5.1 Structural approches to conflict management
1.5.2 Management Styles

2 The Role of Participative Management in Addressing Conflict Joint Decision Making Achieving Consensus Consultative Decision Making Directive Decision Making Using Principles of Dialogue to Encourage Open Conversation
1.5.3 Creating and Maintaining an Environment of Reduced Conflict
1.5.4 Resolving conflict within a group
1.5.5 The Kilmann-Thomas conflict resolution model
1.5.6 Choosing the best conflict management style

Unit 1: The Theory and Context of Conflict in the Organisation

Topic 1.1 Understanding Conflict

1.1.0 Introduction
When you hear the word conflict, what comes to mind? More often than not, the word conflict
brings to mind things like a struggle between groups, fighting, opposing forces, or
disagreements. Many of us automatically think of conflict as bad and therefore we seek as much
as possible to avoid it. But is conflict really such a bad thing? You must have learned from your

Organisational Behaviour course that people are individual beings with unique ways and motives
of doing things. In an organisation, these individuals are brought together and they are bound by
a common goal. They have to work within organisational rules and regulations while paying
close attention to the external environmental changes, work with other individuals and share
scarce resources to achieve these goals. At the same time they have their own goals, which may
not necessarily be the same as those of the organisation, to achieve. Furthermore, these
individuals come from diverse backgrounds in which they interact with family members and
other members of the society. These individualisms, interdependences and interactions are bound
to result in many disagreements or conflicts, which could derail the achievement of the goals or
even feasibly help achieve the organisational goals if well managed! But exactly what is this
conflict? Is it really such a bad thing? Should organisations expend time and resources avoiding

Topic Objectives
After you have gone through this topic, you should be able to:
a) Define conflict and discuss its prominent characteristics depicted in the definition.
b) Differentiate between the traditional, human relations, and interactionist views of
c) Identify and describe the common forms of conflict.

Before you continue to read on, just take a few minutes and work through the activity below.

Warm-up Activity
1. Attempt to define conflict the way you understand it.

2. Think about and note down a situation you have come across in which there was conflict. In
your note, include information about: who were involved in the conflict, what had caused the
conflict; how the conflict was resolved or ended; whether the parties involved solved the conflict
on their own or someone had to intervene; lastly what the outcomes of the conflict were.

Share your answers with your peers and try to see which aspects of your answers are common.
Your answers should give you a general picture of what the concept of conflict entails. Also, as
you read through the next sections, try to compare the new information you will learn with your
own views of conflict. We shall continue by defining conflict.

1.1.1 Defining Conflict

Conflict is defined as a process in which one party perceives that his or her interests are being
opposed or negatively affected by another party (McShane & Von Glinow, 2009, p. 328).
Griffin & Moorhead (2014) take the definition further to show that the process of conflict can
result in feelings of discomfort and/or animosity. Based on this definition, Robbinson and Judge
(2013), Griffith & Goodwin (2016) and Griffin and Moorhead (2014) bring to our attention the
following characteristics of conflict:
1. Process - Conflict is a process, not a singular event. It evolves over time and draws upon
previous events. While it may emerge as a result of a specific event, more than likely it has
been brewing for some time.
2. Conviction - Conflict will exists only if the parties involved believe that there is conflict.
That is if no one is aware of a conflict, then it is generally agreed that no conflict exists. An
observer may witnesses what appears to be an argument between two other individuals but if
those people do not perceive their dialog to be conflictual, then conflict does not really exist.
3. Opposition and Incompatibility - Also needed to begin the conflict process are opposition
or incompatibility of interests. Interests are the parties wants needs, values, and goals, which
represent the source of the disagreement or conflict. Conflict results from the belief by one or
both parties that their interests are not compatible. If there are no incompatible interests, that
is the needs and wants of both parties are being met, there is no conflict because there is
nothing to fight about. Put another way, each party perceives that his interests cannot be met
except by exclusion of the other partys interestsmore for you means less for me.
4. Interacting parties - Each party in a conflict has needs that only the other party can satisfy.
For example, an employee and her boss are interdependent. She has needs for income, job
satisfaction, and other considerations that can be met only through her relationship with her
boss. Her boss needs her to do certain work, which only she is available and capable to do.
Conflict arises through their attempts to have their needs met. Without this mutual need, no
conflict exists. If the employee finds a job that better meets her needs or her boss finds
someone who will do the work if she will not, their interdependence ceases and so does the
chance of them having a conflict.
5. Competition - Conflict occurs when one or more parties perceive that a need is threatened or
that resources are insufficient to meet the need. This is often referred to as a fixed pie
gambit in which parties perceive that there are limited pieces of pie available or, in other
words, only a finite number of options that will satisfy the need. Conflict is thus seen as a
fight as the parties compete to gain as many pieces of pie, or resources, for themselves and
leave as few as possible for the other party.
6. Discomfort or animosity must occur in order for the conflict to be real. For example, a
group of friends who play each other in a friendly game of softball may be interacting and
competing for victory but are not in conflict.

We should also note that the parties involved in conflict may be individuals, groups, and/or
organisations. Hence, conflict may involve one person in opposition to self, one person in
opposition to another, one group in opposition to another, or one organisation in opposition to
another. Conflict may also exist across levels, for example when an individual is in conflict with
a group or an organisation. Conflict may also result from the anticipation of future problems. For
example, a person may behave antagonistically toward another person whom he or she expects
to pose obstacles to their goal achievement.

In considering this definition, note once again that the existence of conflict is often based on
perception, for it is often the belief that our interests are incompatible, rather than the reality, that
sets the stage for conflict. What often causes conflicts to continue and escalate is this gap
between what is perceived to be irreconcilable and what may be reconciled if the parties
perceptions about each others interests can change.

1.1.2 Transitions in Conflict Thought

Conflict has been in existence since time in memorial. Over time, the way people look at
conflict, its role and impact in groups and organisations has been evolving. These changing
views have given rise to three different schools of thought emphasizing different roles of conflict
in organisations. These three schools of thought are:
(i) The Traditional View
(ii) The Human Relations View
(iii) The Inter-actionist View.

Now let us look at each one of them in detail. Traditional view

The traditional view, also known as the classical approach to conflict, is the view that was
largely held during 1930 - 40s and it considered conflict to be bad and negative hence it was to
be avoided at all costs. Under this view, conflict was seen as harmful, unnecessary and
considered synonymous to violence, destruction and irrationality. According to this perspective,
even moderately low levels of disagreement destroys workplace relations and diverts energy
away from productive activities. Conflict with ones supervisor not only wastes productive time
but also violates the hierarchy of command and questions the efficient assignment of authority
(in which managers made the decisions and employees followed them) (Kondalkar, 2007).

The traditional view held that conflict arose due to poor communication, lack of openness, lack
of trust and failure of managers to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of their employees.
During the same period that this view was prevalent, the Scientific Management and
Administrative School of Management that were in the state of evolution, developed
organisational structures where responsibilities were properly laid down, rules, regulations and
policies were inbuilt in the system so that if a conflict develops, then these inbuilt rules will
identify and correct problems of such conflict. Thus a proper mechanism was introduced in the
management systems and an adequate attention was paid by the managerial staff to ensure that
there was no misunderstanding among the employees and that the conflict was avoided.

This adverse relationship between conflict and organisational effectiveness is depicted in figure
1.1.2. (a) below. The downward line shows that as the level of conflict increases, it produces
more adverse outcomes.

Figure 1.1.2. (a) Relationship between levels of conflict and conflict

The orange line indicates that very low and very high levels of conflict
have bad outcomes.
Source: McShane & Von Glinow, 2010

McShane and Von Glinow (2009) observe that, over time the conflict-is-bad perspective has
been considered over simplistic, (as stipulated by the other views that we will discuss shortly).
They however caution us that this stance may be misleading as numerous studies report that
conflict can potentially undermine team cohesion, information sharing, decision making, and
employee well-being (increased stress and lower job satisfaction). It also seems to distort
perceptions and increase organisational politics. Conflict distracts employees from their work
and, in some cases, motivates them to withhold valuable knowledge and other resources. They
further assert that people who experience conflict are less motivated to communicate or try to
understand the other party, and this further escalates conflict as each side relies increasingly on
distorted perceptions and stereotypes. Whats more, studies have shown that due to conflict the
bulk of managers time is likely to be spent dealing with workplace conflict and that conflict
triggers most voluntary and involuntary employee turnover.

Notwithstanding, the traditionalist view of conflict fell out of favour as researchers came to
realise that some level of conflict was inevitable. This gave rise to a new school of thought, the
Human Relations view of conflict which bacame prevalent between 1940 70s.

7 The Human Relations View
While the traditional view relates the conflicts with destruction and a negative impact and tries
to ensure the removal of conflict, the human relations view, sometimes referred to as the
managed view or the behaviouralists approach to conflict, acknowledges the existence of conflict
in an organisation, (Khaiyat, 2016, p.1). The human relations view and states that conflict is a
natural occurrence inherent in individual behaviour as such it cannot be avoided or eliminated.
Against this backdrop, the theory propagated that conflict must be accepted. Khaiyat (2016)
further puts forward that the theory is based on the premise that a conflict has the potential to
have a positive impact on the performance of an organisation. As such, managers should accept
the conflict and should try to manage it effectively instead of suppressing or totally eliminating
it, (Oseremen & Osemeke, 2015, as cited in Khaiyat, 2016). However, they are cautioned that
they should take care that they do not allow the conflict to increase more than a certain level and
they should also not leave the conflict unresolved as this may lead toward the decrease in

Kondalkar (2007) stipulates that the human relations view further suggests that to live with this
conflict and survive it, organisations must lay down proper policies and procedures, set
achievable goals, have proper communication strategies, resources should be properly allocated
and steps taken to avoid occurrence of conflict. An environment of trust, cooperation, friendship
and sharing is built amongst the employees so that increased productivity for the organisation is

Around the 1970s, this view also fell short and gave way to a new perspective on conflict, the
interactionist view of conflict. The Interactionist View of Conflict

By the 1970s a social worker and political science scholar Mary Parker Follett proposed the
then-radical notion that conflict can be beneficial -the inter-actionist view, or sometimes known
as behavioural approach (McShane and Von Glinow, 2010). This view went a step further from
the human relations approach which accepted conflict but in fact encouraged conflict. This view
was based on the belief that conflict could be a positive force in a group; that it is even necessary
for a group to perform efficiently. Kondalkar (2007) further indicates that behavioural scientists
caught on Folletts suggestion and encouraged conflict as they felt that a group having
intergroup harmonious relations, peace and cooperation among group members is likely to be
non-vibrant, static in nature and can display apathetic attitude towards group members. In this
situation the groups are non-responsive to needs for change and innovation, (Robbins & Judge,

The major contribution of this view is recognising that there is a need for maintaining minimal
level of conflict within the group. This would lead to the group being viable. Group members
should be self-critical and develop creativity. Minimum level of conflict between the groups

would increase competitiveness that will lend itself to higher productivity and increased job
satisfaction. It must be borne in mind that only minimum level of conflict is necessary for it to be
beneficial. Behavioural view proposes that because people differ in their attitudes, values and
goals, conflict is but a natural outcome in any group of people and that it can be helpful and
constructive, (Chandan, n.d., as cited in McShane & Von Glinow, 2010). McShane & Von
Glinow (2010) further ask that we must appreciate, however, that the interactionist view does
not propose that all conflicts are good. Rather, functional conflict supports the goals of the group
and improves its performance and is, thus, a constructive form of conflict. A conflict that hinders
group performance is a destructive or dysfunctional conflict. We will look at these two in more
detail in later sections of this unit. McShane & Von Glinow (2010) revealed that the belief that
companies should have neither too little nor too much conflict, which is illustrated by the upside-
down U-shaped relationship in figure1.1.2. (b), remains popular today.

Figure 1.1.2 (b) Relationship between levels of conflict and conflict

The orange lines indicate that very low and very high levels of conflict
have bad outcomes while moderate levels conflict have good outcomes,
shown by the green line.
Source: McShane & Von Glinow (2010)

Many studies support Folletts ground breaking thesis that a moderate level of conflict that keeps
the group alive, self-critical and creative is good. This level of conflict is believed to be structural
in nature, is inevitable and prevalent to the organisational setting. It is a product of systems and
determined by structural factors and integral to the nature of change. When groups interact there
is bound to be difference of opinion and disagreements, which is a cause for conflict. It exists
even when there is a single individual who is faced with organisational problems like decision
making. As such, conflict should be welcomed and managed effectively.

Kondalkar (2007) detailed some of the positive outcomes of minimum level of conflict that
managers could enjoy as:

(a) Conflict should be expressed. By doing so, communication between two groups is restored
that promotes growth.
(b) Minimum level of conflict serves as pre-requisite for organisational development. Conflict
brings changes, perhaps because it prevents organisations from stagnating and becoming
nonresponsive to their external environment, (Mcshane and Von Glinow, 2010).
(c) Conflict helps achieve cohesion within the group that develops group identity and members
of the group follow group norms setting aside personal problems. This tendency leads to higher
level of productivity, sense of identity with the organisation and increases group ability to
compete with groups and departments. Furthermore, conflict with people outside the team
potentially increases cohesion within the team. People are more motivated to work together when
faced with an external threat, such as conflict with people outside the team.
(d) Poor decisions are detrimental to organisational growth. Minimum level of conflict promotes
stimulus for analytical thinking, which may challenge views, policies and systems prevailing in
the organisation. It will lead to reviews hence new policies may be introduced in the
organisation. This sentiment was also shared by Mcshane and Von Glinow (2010) that conflict
energises people to debate issues and evaluate alternatives more thoroughly. The debate tests the
logic of arguments and encourages participants to re-examine their basic assumptions about the
problem and its possible solution.
(e) Conflict can serve as power equaliser between two parties. This is clearly observed during
management union meetings. While management is powerful at the beginning of the discussion
it however tends to equalize itself as the discussion proceeds.

In sum, the traditional view was short-sighted in assuming that all conflict should be eliminated.
The human relations view that conflict can stimulate active discussion without spilling over into
negative, disruptive emotions is incomplete. The interactionist conflict perspective does
recognise that conflict is probably inevitable in most organisations, and it focuses more on
productive conflict resolution. Over time, the research pendulum has swung from eliminating
conflict, to encouraging limited levels of conflict, and now to finding constructive methods for
resolving conflicts productively so their disruptive influence can be minimised.

We shall at this point take some time to check our understaning by going through a short activity

1. After reading through the section above, take a few moments to summarise what you learnt. In
your summary you should compare and contrast the three views of conflict.



2. In your opinion, which view would you say is the most suitable in organisations? Support your
answer with reasons.

1.1.3. Common Forms of Conflict

According to McShane and Von Glinow (2010) the upside-down U-shaped model of conflict,
discussed above, was replaced in the 1990s by the perspective that there are two types of conflict
with opposing consequences; (figure 1.1.3 )the constructive conflict, also known as
substantive/cognitive conflict, and relationship conflict, also known as emotional/affective

Figure 1.1.3 Relationship betweenthe two types of conflicts, levels of

conflict and conflict outcomes.
The orange lines indicate that very low and very high levels of
relationship conflict have bad outcomes while moderate levels of
constructive conflict have good outcomes, shown by the green line.
Source: McShane & Von Glinow (2010)

11 Substantive conflict
Schermahorn (2011) describes substantive conflicts as conflicts that deal with aspects of a teams
work. These are conflicts that often arise over questions about an individuals performance, the
distribution of rewards, differing views about the scope of a task or assignment, disparate
definitions of acceptable quality, or the nature of a project goal. Other substantive conflicts
involve how team members work together. These process conflicts often involve disagreements
over the strategies, policies, allocation of resources, and procedures the group should use in order
to complete its tasks.

The prominent feature of constructive conflict is that when it does occur, people focus their
discussions on the issue while showing respect for people with other points of view. Perhaps this
is why this conflict is called constructive since different positions are encouraged so that ideas
and recommendations can be clarified, redesigned, and tested for logical soundness. Keeping the
debate focused on the issue helps participants re-examine their assumptions and beliefs without
triggering the drive to defend and its associated negative emotions and egodefence mechanism
behaviours. Teams and organisations with very low levels of constructive conflict are less
effective, but there is also likely an upper limit to the level of intensity of constructive conflict
(McShane and Von Glinow, 2010).

Founded on Moorhead and Griffins (2014) description of the forms of organisational conflict,
we can further break down constructive conflict into two different classes based on the substance
of the conflicts; task conflict and process/procedural conflict.

Task conflict refers to conflict regarding the goals and content of the work. In essence, it is an
argument on what has to be done as the job. For instance, suppose one manager believes that the
firm should strive to maximise profits and hence shareholder value. This individual will feel
strongly that the organisation should avoid social causes and instead focus its efforts on
increasing revenues and/or lowering costs to the exclusion of most other activities. Another
manager in the same firm, however, may believe the business should have a pronounced social
agenda and be an active participant in relevant social programs. While this manager recognises
the importance of profits, he or she also sees the importance of corporate citizenship.

Process conflict occurs when the parties agree on the goals and content of work but disagree on
how to achieve the goals and actually do the work. For example, suppose the two executives
noted above actually both believe in the importance of a social agenda and support the concept of
sharing corporate profits with society. However, one thinks the best way to do this is to simply
give a portion of the firms profits to one or more social causes. The other thinks the company
should be more active; for instance, she or he wants the firm to sponsor on-going building
projects through Habitat for Humanity. While they share the same goals, they see different
processes being the best way to achieve those goals. This type of conflict can be eliminated to a
large extent by following strict discipline in the work procedure and adhering to the rules and
regulations (Kondalkar, 2007).

12 Emotional conflict
McShane and Von Glinow (2010) and Robbinson and Judge (2013) agree that in contrast to
constructive conflict, emotional conflict focuses on people, rather than the issues, as the source
of conflict. It relates to trouble that develops in interpersonal relationships among team members.
Affective conflicts are often based on personality conflicts, differing communication styles,
perceptions about level of effort, or personal dislikes based on negative past experiences. It also
results from feelings of anger, distrust, dislike, fear and resentment, emotions that are often
directed at other people. While these personal conflicts emerge as people work together, they
may have their roots in factors separate from the teams purpose and activities, (Schermahorn,
2011) but will tend to affect the teams work, often times, negatively. The parties refer to
interpersonal incompatibilities such as personality clashes rather than legitimate differences of
opinion regarding tasks or decisions. Each party tries to undermine the others argument by
questioning her or his competency. Attacking a persons credibility or displaying an aggressive
response toward the person triggers defense mechanisms and a competitive orientation
(McShane and Von Glinow, 2010). The subject of the verbal attacks becomes less motivated to
communicate and share information, making it more difficult for the parties to discover common
ground and ultimately resolve the conflict. Instead, they increasingly rely on more distorted
perceptions and stereotypes, and this unfortunately, tends to further escalate the conflict.
Relationship conflict is sometimes called socioemotional or affective conflict because people
experience and react to strong emotional responses during such conflict episodes (McShane and
Von Glinow, 2010).

Moorhead and Griffin (2014) added another form of conflict that may not necessarily fit within
any of the two categories right away Legal Conflict. They advance that at a somewhat
different level, legal conflict may arise when there are differences in perceptions between
organisations. For instance, if one firm sees a competitor as engaging in predatory pricing
practices or a supplier as failing to live up to the terms of a contract, it may bring legal action
against the other firm. Needless to say, legal conflict may also involve government bodies. A
typical example is the case of whistle-blowing, which refers to the disclosure by an employee of
illegal or unethical conduct on the part of an organisation. By its very nature, whistle-blowing
presupposes a significant level of process conflict between employee and employer; however,
whistle-blowers are protected from retaliation by a variety of state and federal laws, and many
companies have found themselves embroiled in legal conflicts resulting not only from activities
disclosed by whistle-blowers but from actions theyve taken to retaliate against them. As we saw
in our chapter opener, lawsand legal conflictscan get complicated and acrimonious, both for
employers and whistle-blowers.

Robbins and Judge (2013) make a very important observation that relationship conflicts are
almost always dysfunctional. Simply because it appears that the friction and interpersonal
hostilities inherent in relationship conflicts increase personality clashes and decrease mutual

understanding, which hinders the completion of organisational tasks. Unfortunately, managers
spend a lot of effort resolving personality conflicts among staff members.

In contrast, low levels of process conflict and low to moderate levels of task conflict can be
functional, but only in very specific cases. Recent reviews have shown that task conflicts are
usually just as disruptive as relationship conflicts if they are allowed to escalate. For conflict to
be productive, it must be kept within certain boundaries. Studies have shown that moderate
levels of task conflict in the early development stage could increase creativity in groups, but high
levels of task conflict decreased team performance, and task conflicts were unrelated to
performance once the group was in the later stages of group development. Intense arguments
about who should do what become dysfunctional when they create uncertainty about task roles,
increase the time to complete tasks, and lead members to work at cross-purposes. Low to
moderate levels of task conflict stimulate discussion of ideas. This means task conflicts relate
positively to creativity and innovation, but they are not related to routine task performance.
Groups performing routine tasks that dont require creativity wont benefit from task conflict.
Moreover, if the group is already engaged in active discussion of ideas in a non-confrontational
way, adding conflict will not help generate more ideas. Task conflict is also related to these
positive outcomes only when all members share the same goals and have high levels of trust.
Another way of saying this is that task conflicts are related to increased performance only when
all members believe the team is a safe place for taking risks and that members will not
deliberately undermine or reject those who speak up, (Robbins and Judge, 2013). Moore (2008)
concurs that, while affective and procedural conflict can be detrimental to the collaboration,
substantive conflict, which focuses on alternatives and reaching equilibrium can be beneficial.
Thus, managers need to discourage affective and procedural conflict while at the same time
encouraging substantive conflict about the content and rhetorical elements of the job they are
planning. Substantive conflict during collaboration not only is it normal but can be productive, in
large part because it gives collaborators more time to generate and critically examine alternatives
and to voice disagreements on their way to make a decision. Put another way, substantive
conflict defers premature consensus which can short circuit effective decision-making, a concept
related to groupthink. In essence, neglecting cooperative, substantive conflict can reduce the
effectiveness of a group and lower the quality of the groups decisions. However, encouraging
cooperative, substantive conflict can increase the effectiveness of a group, improve the quality of
the decisions, and increase the groups commitment to the decisions that are reached. Before we
move on, we will have a short reflective activity.

You should pause here and reflect on what you have learned so far.
1. Conflict can be either .. or ..; of which
conflict is said to be dysfunctional while moderate levels of
conflict is said to be functional. .
2. conflict is conflict rooted in the substance of the job while
is based on interpersonal isssues.

3. . conflict can be further divided into .,
and . Conflicts. Separating Constructive Conflict from Relationship Conflict

Notwithstanding, McShane and Von Glinow (2010) noted that the current perspective that there
are two types of conflict leads to the logical conclusion that we should encourage constructive
conflict and minimise relationship conflict. They proclaimed that this recommendation sounds
good in theory, as recent evidence suggests that separating these two types of conflict is not easy.
This is because most of us experience some degree of relationship conflict during and after any
constructive debate. In other words, any attempt to engage in constructive conflict, no matter
how calmly and rationally, may still sow the seeds of relationship conflict. The stronger the level
of debate and the more the issue is tied to the individuals self- concept, the higher the chance
that the constructive conflict will evolve into (or mix with) relationship conflict. Wayne (2005)
also contends that the plan to just increase task-related conflict and decrease relationship conflict
with the hope that the business will make better decisions, function more effectively and have
happier workers is too simplistic. Firstly because, the two kinds of conflict are often related -
when one increases, so does the other. Secondly, the nature of a conflict sometimes shifts. It may
begin as a task-related difference but as the conflict progresses it may escalate into the personal
attacks and recrimination that characterise relationship conflict - often because the participants
distrust each other and take the substantive differences as a personal attack. As such, seeing the
difference between task-related and relationship conflict is therefore just a beginning, one step
toward understanding how conflict can work for or against the organisation (Wayne, 2005).
Nonetheless, all is not lost. Walton (n.d.), insists that it is still necessary to determine whether
conflict is either constructive or emotional. He advances that the distinction between substantive
and emotional issues is important because the substantive conflicts requires bargaining and
problem solving between the principals and mediative interventions by the third party, whereas
emotional conflict requires a restructuring of a persons perceptions and the working through of
feelings between the principals, as well as conflictive interventions by the third party. The
former processes are basically cognitive; the latter processes are more affective.

Fortunately still, McShane and Von Glinow (2010) say that conflict management experts have
identified three strategies that potentially minimise the level of relationship conflict during
constructive-conflict episodes:
Emotional intelligence - Relationship conflict is less likely to occur, or is less likely to escalate,
when team members have high levels of emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent
employees are better able to regulate their emotions during debate, thus reducing the risk of
escalating perceptions of interpersonal hostility. People with high emotional intelligence are also
more likely to view a co-workers emotional reaction as valuable information about that persons
needs and expectations, rather than as a personal attack. This implies that managers have to
always monitor and reinforce this aspect of their employees.

Cohesive team - Relationship conflict is suppressed when the conflict occurs within a highly
cohesive team. The longer people work together, get to know each other, and develop mutual
trust, the more latitude they give each other to show emotions without being personally offended.
Strong cohesion also allows each person to know about and anticipate the behaviours and
emotions of teammates. Another benefit is that cohesion produces a stronger social identity with
the group, so team members are motivated to avoid escalating relationship conflict during
otherwise emotionally turbulent discussions.
Supportive team norms - Various team norms can hold relationship conflict at bay during
constructive debate. When team norms encourage openness, for instance, team members learn to
appreciate honest dialogue without personally reacting to any emotional display during the
disagreements. Other norms might discourage team members from displaying negative emotions
toward co-workers. Team norms also encourage tactics that diffuse relationship conflict when it
first appears. For instance, research has found that teams with low relationship conflict use
humour to maintain positive group emotions, thereby offsetting negative feelings team members
might develop toward some co-workers during debate.

1.1.4 Topic Summary

1. Conflict is the process in which one party perceives that his or her interests are being
opposed or negatively affected by another party. It results in feeling of hostility or animosity.

2. There are three distinct views on conflict that have evolved over time. The traditional view
holds that any type of organisational conflict is negative, harmful, and should be avoided.
The human relations view proposes that organisational conflict should be accepted since it is
an inevitable part and may improve the performance of a group. Lastly, the interactionist
view holds that a minimum level of organizational conflict is beneficial for both
organisations and its groups. Organisational conflict makes individuals and groups effective,
self-critical, adaptable, responsive, and flexible to change.

3. Conflict can be divided into two major classes, substantive conflict conflict that is rooted in
the content of the job, and relationship conflict which occurs when the parties have
interpersonal issues. It is disfunctional and it lowers perfomance if no managed stringently.
Substantive conflicted can be further segregated into two basic forms. Task conflict refers to
conflict regarding the goals and content of the work. Moderate levels of task conflict result in
optimum performance. Process conflict occurs when the parties agree on the goals and
content of work but disagree on how to achieve the goals and actually do the work. Process
conflict can be harmful to the organisation but can be easilily reduces if roles and procedures
of the work are clearely outlined. Legal conflict may arise when there are differences in
perceptions between organisations.

End of Topic Activity
1. _______________ occurs when one party perceives that another party has negatively
affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about.
a. Incompatibility
b. Friction
c. Conflict
d. Competition

2. Discuss the characterising features of conflict.

3. The _____________ view states that all conflict should be avoided.

a. human relations
b. interactionist
c. scientific management
d. traditional

4. The ________ view suggests that conflict is a natural occurrence in all groups.
a. interactionist
b. human relations
c. performance
d. traditional

5. _______________ forms of conflict support the goals of the group and improve its
a. dysfunctional
b. legal
c. functional
d. relationship

6. ___________ conflict relates to the content and goals of the work.

a. task
b. relationship
c. process
d. legal

Revise the material you have learned in this chapter to ensure that your responses are correct.
You could check with your tutor if you have the right responses.


2.0. Introduction
Welcome to the Topic 2 of Unit 1 in your Negotiation in Conflict Management course. Now that
you have an overview of the theory and context of conflict in the organization, we will look at
the levels of conflict in an organization. As already implicated; conflict is seen as a reflection of
not just organizational demands and tensions but also, and perhaps more importantly, the
economic and social divisions within society between those who own and manage the means of
production and those who have only their labour to sell.

Learning Objectives
Before you begin, take a moment to familiarise yourself with the key objectives of this topic
a. Number of levels where conflict can occur
b. Types and sources of conflict within levels

Topic contents list

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Individual level conflict
3.0 Interpersonal Conflict
4.0 Types of Conflict Within oneself
5.0 Interpersonal Conflict
6.0 Reasons of interpersonal conflict
7.0 Group Level Conflict
8.0 types of conflict at group level
9.0 Organizational Level Conflict
10.0 Summary
11.0 Self-assessment exercise

You will need about 10 hours to study this topic
1.0 Introduction
Conflict can never be eliminated in organizations; however, conflicts can be managed typically,
conflict arises when people feel strongly about something. Conflicts can take place between
individual, staff, within unit, or within a department. They can be inter unit and
interdepartmental, affect the entire organization, or even occur between multiple organizations,
between or within teams and units, or between an organization and the community. Conflict is
the tension arising from compatible needs, in which the actions of one frustrate the ability of the
other to achieve a goal. (Boggs, 2003: 366). Conflict exists in many forms other than the form
that can result from competition, and managers should understand the different ways of conflict

resolution. Thus examines conflict from a variety of viewpoints. It first considers the positive
and negative aspects of conflict. Next, it discusses the levels of conflict that can occur within
organizations. These three levels of conflict; individual, interpersonal, and
intergroup/organizational, are indicated on the figure 1 below,

Figure 1

2.0 Levels of conflicts

Conflict may take several forms as explained below:
Individual Level Conflict
Individual conflict is the first of these levels; here individuals experience intra-psychic conflict
which in turn may have an impact on interpersonal relationships. For example; when the person
experiencing inner conflict is a manager or supervisor, he may poison the political climate of an
organization. (Zaleznit 1970)
Inter personal conflict; some combination of the following factors is usually at issues, divergent
interests, incompatible values and unconscious motives. Interpersonal relations are the basis of
social life and therefore of an organizations, which are affected by conflicts over important
decisions or difficulties of communications. Employees too may engage on conflicts that have a
significant impact on the organization.
Factors of Conflict in Individuals:
1. Unacceptability:
Every individual has a known acceptable alternative in terms of his own goals and perceptions.
Since the alternative preferred by the organization is not satisfactory to him, he is unable to
accept it. Unacceptability is subjective because the alternative unacceptable to one may be

acceptable to another individual. When the alternative is unacceptable to an individual, he will
search for new alternatives. His search for acceptable alternative continues. But sometimes,
repeated failure to discover acceptable alternatives leads to a redefinition of acceptable.
2. Incomparability:
The individual knows the probability distribution of the alternatives but he is not able to take
decision because the outcomes are incomparable. When the results are not comparable, no
decision could be taken. Similarly, an individual is also unable to make proper comparison of
alternatives. Comparison requires clarity, technique of comparison including assigning weights
to different components, rationality in attitude and behavior and the competence to perform the
The procedure of comparison depends also on the clarity and decisiveness of the individual
regarding the minimum standard of achievement. If the individual does not have much clarity as
to the expectancy, he will not be able to make comparison. The state of incomparability causes
lot of tension and conflict to the individual.
3. Uncertainty:
Individuals are uncertain about the environments within and outside the organizations. If the
environment could be properly depicted, the behavior of the people regarding acceptability of the
alternative and efficacy of the alternative could be ascertained with certainty. In a state of
uncertainty, the individual feels frustrated which is ultimately reflected in conflict. Within an
individual there are usually a number of competing goals and roles.

3.0 Intra Personal Conflict

This kind of conflict occurs within an individual, for example through ideas, thoughts, emotions,
values or drives that are not compatible to each other. Here goal conflict exists for individuals
when their behavior will result in outcomes that are mutually exclusive or have compatible
elements (both positive and negative outcomes). These intrapersonal conflicts often involve
types of conflict within oneself, which encompass frustration, goal conflict and role conflict.
(a) Frustration
When an individual is unable to do what he wants to do, he becomes frustrated. Frustration is the
highest level of dissatisfaction which, in turn, generates conflict in the individual. This is
generally caused when the motivated drives of an individual are blocked before he reaches his
goal. These blocks may be physical or mental/social-psychological. Frustration, in turn, leads to
defense mechanism.
The defensive mechanism or the outcome or the reaction of frustration has broadly been
classified under four heads:
(i) Aggression
(ii) Withdrawal
(iii) Fixation
(iv) Compromise.

(b) Goal Conflict

These intrapersonal conflicts often involve actual or perceived pressures from incompatible goals
or expectations of the following types:
Types Of Goal Conflict
Approach Approach situation in which individual is faced with incompatible goals; for
example, a person can choose between two jobs that appear to be equally attractive.
Approach Avoidance situation in which individual is faced with a goal having both positive
and negative valencies; for example, being offered a good job in a bad location.

Avoidance Avoidance situation in which individual is faced with two unpleasant alternatives; .
For example, employees may be threatened with punishment in the form of demotion unless they
do something they dislike spend much time travelling on their job,

(c) Role Conflict

Every person plays a number of roles in social and organisational situations. Although all the
roles which he brings into the organization are relevant to his behavior, his organisational role is
most important in the study of organisational behavior. Every individual in the organization is
expected to behave in a particular manner while performing a specific role.
When the expected role is different or opposite from the behavior anticipated by the individual in
that role, role conflict arises because there is no way to meet one expectation without rejecting
the other. In organisational setting everyone plays the role of a superior and subordinate.
Whenever there is a different expectation in relation to oneself and others, conflict ought to arise.
Similarly, conflict may also arise whenever there is overlapping of the two roles played
simultaneously by the same person. For example, a superior is reprimanding his subordinate for
the lapses and during this course his boss communicates with him. As he was so surcharged with
anger on his subordinate that he failed to leave his role as superior and adopt the role of
subordinate with the result that he lost temper with his boss also. This overlapping more often
causes conflict to the individual owing to role performance.

5.0 Inter Personal Conflict

Interpersonal conflict occurs between two or more individuals who are in opposition to one
another. It may be substantive or emotional or both. Two persons debating each other
aggressively on the merits of hiring a job applicant is an example of a substantive interpersonal
conflict. Two persons continually in disagreement over each others choice of work attire is an
example of an emotional interpersonal conflict.
This is conflict that occurs between individuals, typically in a face to face situation. That is a
conflict involves two or more individuals rather than one individuals; for example
Two managers competing for the same promotion.
Between bosses and subordinates
6.0 Reasons Of Interpersonal Conflict
1. Personality differences:
Some people have difficulty in getting along with each other. This is purely a psychological
problem and it has nothing to do with their job requirements or formal interactions.
2. Perceptions:
Varied backgrounds, experiences, education and training result in individuals developing
different perceptions of similar realities; te result being an increase in the likelihood of
interpersonal conflict.
3. Clashes of values and interests:
Conflict that so commonly develops between engineering and manufacturing personnel shows
how differences in values might underlie conflict. Members of the engineering department might
place a premium on quality, sophisticated design and durability while members of the
manufacturing department might value simplicity and low manufacturing costs.
4. Power and status differences:
As pointed out by Abraham Zalenznik "Organizations are political structures". They operate by
distributing authority and setting a stage for the exercise of power. Similarly status
inconsistencies lead to conflict.
5. Scarce resource:

Interpersonal conflict is almost automatic anytime there is scarcity. Conflicts over scarce
resources are exceedingly common in organizations. Where the scarcity is absolute (the resource
level cannot be enhanced) it is very difficult to manage interpersonal conflicts. For example if
three qualified individuals ie. for superior positions in the organization and there is only one such
position, interpersonal conflict may develop to an unmanageable level.


A group consists of two or more persons who are in interaction with each other, have a well-
defined structure of role and status relations and have a system values and norms of behavior for
the smooth working of the group. Groups not only affect the behavior of their members, rather
they have impact on other groups and the organization as a whole.
8.0 Types Of Conflicts At Group Level
In this process of interaction, two types of conflict arises (A) Intra group and (B) Inter group.
Intragroup Conflict
This is a conflict, which happens within a group such as among team or committee members.
Intra group conflict arises when differences crop up between the members of the group. The
individual may want to remain in the group for social needs but may disagree with the group
Intra-group conflict may arise in three ways.
(i) When the group faces a new problem
(ii) When new values are imported from the social environment into the group and
(iii) When a persons extra group role comes into conflict with his intra group role.
Intra group conflict is like the interpersonal conflict with the difference that the persons involved
in the conflict episode belong to a common group. The causes are similar to those of
interpersonal conflicts.
Intergroup Conflict
This is conflict between groups, unions, management, warring nations, feuding families or
communities challenging government authorities.
Intergroup Causes
Thompson identifies a number of causes of intergroup conflict (1967)
Work interdependence
Work interdependence happens when two or more parties must depend on one another to
complete their tasks. The potential for conflict in such situations is high.
Pooled interdependence
Pooled interdependence requires no interactions between groups because each group, in effect,
performs separately. However the pooled performance of all the groups determines how
successful the organization will be.
Sequential interdependence
Sequential interdependence requires one group to do its task before the next group can complete
its task. Tasks are performed in a sequential fashion.
Reciprocal interdependence
Reciprocal interdependence occurs when multiple groups provide input for a single group in the
organization. This occurs when expect team from different departments are required to give their
input at the same time.
Differences in goals
Widely divergent goals could be the cause of frequent conflict during negotiations. Parties will
have to move considerably more relative to one another, before they can come to an agreement.
Limited resources

If money, space labour and materials are unlimited each group could persue its own goals. But in
virtually all cases, resources must be allocated or shared. What often occurs in limited resource
situation is a win lose competition that can easily result in dysfunctional conflict.
Reward structures
Intergroup conflict is more likely to occur when the reward system is related to individual group
performance rather than to combine group performance. When rewards are aimed at individual
groups, performance is viewed as an independent variable even while the performance is, in
reality very interdependent.
All the conflicts discussed in the preceding discussion relate to conflicts within the
organisational settings.
Intra-Organizational Conflict
Four types of intra-organizational conflict exist: (1) vertical conflict (2) horizontal conflict (3)
line-staff conflict and (4) role conflict. Although these types of conflict can overlap, especially
with role conflict, each has distinctive characteristics.
Vertical Conflict: Vertical conflict refers to any conflict between levels in an organization;
superior-subordinate conflict is one example. Vertical conflicts usually arise because superiors
attempt to control subordinates and subordinates.
Horizontal Conflict: Horizontal Conflict refers to conflict between employees or departments as
the same hierarchical level in an organization.
Line-Staff Conflict: Most organizations have staff departments to assist the line departments.
The line-staff relationship frequently involves conflict. Staff managers and line managers
typically have different personal characteristics. Staff employees tend to have a higher level of
education, come from different backgrounds, and are younger than line employees. These
different personal characteristics are frequently associated with different values and beliefs, and
the surfacing of these different values tends to create conflict.
Role Conflict: A role is the cluster of activities that others expect individuals to perform in their
position. A role frequently involves conflict.
Inter Organisational Conflict
Inter organisational level conflict occur between organizations which are in some way or the
other dependent upon each other. Conflicts at individual level, group level or inter group level
are all inherent in the organization level conflict. The organization level conflict can be between
the buyer and seller organization, between union and organizations employing the members,
between government agencies that regulate certain organizations and the organizations that are
affected by them.
Managers must try to live with this type of conflict. If the conflict is properly handled it can be
constructive in achieving the results. It can act as a stimulus it may be a challenge and
motivational force to keep the organisation moving.

10.0 Summary
In this topic you have learnt that
Properly managed, conflict can be constructive in that it constantly highlights areas for
improvement in the organization, while simultaneously eliminating complacency. But conflict
that is allowed to go unchecked becomes destructive (Bendix 2006:13). There are three types/
levels of conflict; individual, interpersonal, and intergroup/organizational (Finkelman 2006: 80)

The levels of conflict are intrapersonal (within an individual), interpersonal (between
individuals), intragroup (within a group), intergroup (between groups), and intra organizational
(within organizations), inter organizational (between organizations).

Figure 2
The most common type of individual conflict in the workplace is role conflict, which occurs
when there is incompatibility between one or more role expectations. When staff do not
understand the roles of other staff this can be very stressful for the individual and does affect
work. Staff may be critical of each other for not doing some work activity when in reality it is
not part of the role and responsibilities of that staff member or staff may feel that another staff
member is doing some activity that really is not his or her responsibility.
Interpersonal conflict occurs between people. Sometimes this is due to differences and / or
personalities, competition, or concern about territory, control or loss.
Conflict also occurs between groups (e.g., units, services, teams, health care professional groups,
Conflict is merely individuals or groups experiencing differences in views, goals or facts that
place them at opposite poles. It is usually involves areas of differing expertise, practice, or

Questions for Discussion And Review

1. The four main dimensions which influence behavior in work organizations are:
a. Individual, organization, group, gender
b. Individual, group, organization, environment
c. Group, environment, organization, gender
d. Environment, group, individual, gender

2. Which of the following is not an influence on behavior in work organizations?

a. The environment
b. The building
c. The individual
d. The group

3. Mitzberg concluded that managers perform 10 different, highly interrelated roles. Which
of the following is one of the broad categories into which these roles could be grouped?
a. Intrapersonal
b. Institutional

c. Decisional
d. Affective

4. Psychology' major contributions to the field of organizational behavior have been

primarily at what level of analysis.
a. The level of the group
b. The level of the individual
c. The level of the organization
d. The level of the culture

5. What term is used for the tendency for individuals to spend less effort when working
a. groupthink
b. the rule of diminishing returns
c. social loafing
d. groupshift

6. Which of the following is a phenomenon in which group pressures for conformity deter
the group from critically appraising unusual, minority, or unpopular views?
a. group conformity
b. groupshift
c. groupthink
d. compromise
1. What is frustration? What are some of its manifestations? How can the frustration model
be used to analyze organisational behavior?

2. Explain approach - avoidance conflict. Give a realistic organizational example of where it

may occur.

3. What are some of the major sources of interpersonal conflict? Which do you think is
most relevant in todays organizations?

4. How do groups or teams in conflict behave? What are some antecedent conditions of
intergroup conflict?

Multiple choice
1. B, 2. B, 3. C, 4. B, 5. C, 6.C
1. (i) Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Frustration occurs when a
motivated drive is blocked before a person reaches a desired goal.
(ii) ANGER: There is a saying "Frustration begets anger and anger begets aggression." Direct
anger and aggression is expressed toward the object perceived as the cause of the frustration. If
a machine does not work, you might hit it or kick it. If someone gets in your way, you could
verbally threaten them or push them aside.
GIVING UP: Giving up on a goal can be productive if the goal is truly out of reach. However,
more often giving up (quitting or being apathetic) is another form of giving in to frustration.

When repeatedly frustrated, people can drop out of school, quit jobs, or move away. Apathy is
giving up all of your goals, so you cannot be frustrated by trying to reach them.
LOSS OF CONFIDENCE: Loss of confidence is a terrible frequent side effect of giving up and
not fulfilling your goal. A loss of self-confidence and self-esteem means that If we quit once,
then the next time we plan a goal, we may not be able to accurately assess our ability to carry it
out and we stop trusting ourselves and our own abilities. This became a self-fulfilling and self-
destructive attitude. You need to be able to learn that when the going gets tough, you say to
yourself "It is worth it!" and by following through, it not only gets the job done, but it builds
STRESS: Stress is the "wear and tear" our body and mind experiences as we adjust to the
frustrations our continually changing environment. Too frequently, extreme, or prolonged
frustration and stress strains us and generates distress signals. Our body experiences distress
signals in a variety of ways, often in the form of: irritability, anger, fatigue, anxiety, headaches,
depression, stomachaches, hypertension, migraines, ulcers, heart attacks, or colitis.
DEPRESSION: Depression can affect almost every aspect of your life. It affects people of all
ages, income, race, and cultures. Depression can affect the way you eat and sleep, the way you
feel about yourself, the way one think about things, and the way you interact with others. While
we all feel depression at various appropriate times in our lives, excess or inappropriate
depression cannot be easily dismissed or wished away.
OTHER REACTIONS: Abuse of drugs or alcohol is self-destructive and usually futile attempt at
dealing with frustration, as are many eating and weight problems and addictive behaviors.
Whenever the immediate effects of the addictive behavior wear off, users find themselves back in
the same, or even worse, frustrating situation.
(iii) A model based on the organizational frustrationaggression work of Spector and colleagues
was tested using structural equation modeling and zero-order correlational analysis. As
expected, a positive relationship was found between employees' experience of situational
constraints (events frustrating their achievement of organizational and personal goals) and
counterproductive behavioral responses to frustration (personal and organizational aggression),
mediated by affective reactions to frustration. In addition, personality (trait anger and trait
anxiety), control beliefs (Work Locus of Control), and estimation of likelihood of punishment
were strongly associated with affective and behavioral responses. In particular, strong direct
relationships were found between affective response variables and anxiety and locus of control,
while direct relationships were found between behavioral response variables and anger and
punishment. Finally, differentiated relationships between two facets of trait anger (angry
temperament and angry reaction) and four categories of counterproductive behaviors (serious
and minor deviance directed at organizational and personal targets) were explored.

2. (i) Approach-avoidance conflict occurs when an individual is faced with a decision to pursue
or avoid something that has advantages and disadvantages. This form of conflict involves only
one goal. The name comes from the advantages of the goal making the person want to approach
the goal and the disadvantages making him or her want to avoid it. Since the tendency is to
approach and avoid each of the goals, this pattern is called double approach-avoidance.
(ii) For example, managers engaged in long range planning typically are very confident of a
goal (a strategic plan) they have developed for a future. Yet, as the time gets near to commit
resources and implement the plan, the negative consequences seem to appear much greater than
they did in the developing stage. Managers in such situation may reach the point where
approach equals avoidance.

3. (i) Differences in behavior and communication styles ii. Differences in priorities and values
iii.Workplace conditions, including poor communications from leaders
(ii) Interpersonal conflict is the most apparent form of conflict for workplace participants. It is
easy enough to observe the results of office politics, gossip, and rumors. Also language and
personality styles often clash, creating a great deal of conflict in the workplace.

4. (i) Conflict inevitably arises in one form or another in varying degrees due to the mere group
and/or team dynamics of having people with differing backgrounds, ideas, and potential agendas
coming together in an effort to accomplish a common goal. Conflict is generally considered to be
negative and something to be avoided.
Subgroups, or factions, can develop within a team. Each group has their own opinions and will
stick together and oppose other factions within the team. Organizations can be greatly divided
by such factions
Team members can disagree with the team leader. This can lead to refusal to follow the direction
of the team leader. There may be conflict with management because management has not given
clear goals to the team or may not be supporting the team. The organization could have a culture
that does not allow teams to work effectively.
Conflict generates buy-in and offers elements of ownership and a sense of cooperation and
enhanced membership to all of the group members.
(ii) One of the most prominent reasons for intergroup conflict is simply the nature of the group.
Other reasons may be work interdependence, goal variances, differences in perceptions, and the
increased demand for specialists. Also, individual members of a group often play a role in the
initiation of group conflict.
Limited resources and reward structures can foster intergroup conflict by making the differences
in group goals more apparent. Differences in perceptions among groups regarding time and
status, when coupled with different group goals, can also create conflict. Reorganization of the
workplace and integration of services and facilities can be stressful to some and create negative
conflict. Some individuals within the group have inherent traits or social histories that impact
intergroup conflict, but problems within intergroup relations are not usually caused by the
deviate behavior of a few individuals.

Don Hellriegel, et al (1989) Organizational Behaviour, 5th ed., West, St.Paul, Minn,
Finkelman .A. W (2006) Leadership And Management In Nursing, Pearson Education, Upper
Saddle River, New Jersey.
Luthans F, (1998) Organisational Behaviour, IRWIN/Mcgraw-HILL.
Salamon M (2000) Industrial Relations, Theory And Practices 4th Edition Pearson Education
Limited England
Venter R Et Al (2009) Labour Relations In South Africa, 3rd Edition Oxford University Press
Southern Africa Pty Ltd Cape Town

Unit 2 Resolving Conflict Through Negotiation

2.1 The Nature of Negotiations

2.1.0 Introduction
Welcome to unit 2. In unit 1 you were introduced to the concept of conflict in details. Among
other things, you learnt about the types of conflict, how conflict arises and how conflict can
be managed. Unit 2 takes you further and introduces you to how conflict can be resolved
through negoiation.

Whether you manage a small department, own your own business, head a major corporation, or hold an
entry-level sales position, you must know how to negotiate. Negotiation is a process whereby two or
more parties reach a mutually agreeable arrangement. It is one of the most commonly used and
beneficial skills managers can develop. The global business environment, the diverse workforce, rapid
pace of change, and shift toward teams and empowerment all require managers to hone their
negotiation skills. Negotiation is another set of methods for resolving conflicts between and among
people. We define negotiation as a communication process of resolving conflicts through mutually
acceptable concessions.

Topic Objectives
After you have gone through this topic, you should be able to:
a) Define conflict and discuss its prominent characteristics depicted in the
b) Differentiate between the traditional, human relations, and interactionist
views of conflict.
c) Identify and describe the common forms of conflict. Defining negotiations

In an organizational context, negotiations may take place:
Between two people
Within a group
Between groups
Over the Internet
Negotiations are characterized by four elements:
1. Some disagreement or conflict exists, which may be perceived, felt or manifest.
2. There is some degree of interdependence between the parties.
3. The situation must be conducive to opportunistic interactioneach party must have both the means
and in the inclination to attempt to influence the other.

4. There exists some possibility of agreement, without which the negotiation cannot bring about a
positive resolution.

2.1.2 Phases of negotiation (Robbins & my Negotiation hand out/chapter 6)


2.2 Negotiation Strategies and tactics

2.2.1 Bargaining zone model of negotiations
2.2.3 Types of interests (Power based, Interest based & Rights based)
2.2.4 Distributive negotiation strategies Developing a BATNA, Reserve point, Target point Opening offers, Anchors and Concessions
2.2.5 Integrative negotiation Sharing information, diagnostic questions & unbundling issues Package deals, multiple offers and post-settlement settlements Overcoming barriers to integrative negotiation 206
When the Parties Are at Impasse 207
When the Other Party Wont Play 212
When the Other Party Wont Play by the Same Rules 217
2.2.6 The possible outcomes of a negotiation

2.3 Negotiation Planning and Preparing

2.3.1 Criteria of an effective negotiation
2.3.2 Assumptions of successful negotiation (chapter6 pg 177)
2.3.3 Principled negotiation and basic rules of thumb (Chapter 6 pg 179)
2.3.4 Situational influences on negotiations
2.3.5 Organisational settings for negotiation
2.3.6 Two-party negotiation and group negotiation




Christopher Moore, The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving

Conflict, 2nd ed., (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996).