Increasing Organizational Efficiency Through Conflict Resolution

Increasing Organizational Efficiency Through Conflict Resolution

Social interaction occurs on three levels of social organization.  Like social interaction, interactive behaviour can occur at the individual, personal, group or organizational level and it frequently results in conflict at each of these levels.


With every individual there are usually

  1. A number of competing need and roles.
  2. A variety of different ways that dries and roles can be expressed.
  3. Both positive and negative aspects attached to desired goals.

These complicate the human adaptation process and offer result in conflict.  Intra individual forms of conflict can be analysed in terms of the frustration from work, goals and roles.

Frustration occurs when a motivated drive is blocked before reaching a desired goal.  Reaction to frustration includes aggression against the barrier, withdrawal, fixation and compromise.  In some cases, frustration may bring forth a positive response in which the individual tries to overcome the barriers or over compensate.

Goal conflict is another source of conflict for an individual.  Goal conflict exists when a given goal has both positive and negative features, or there are two or more competing goals.  Where as in frustration a single motive is blocked before the goal is reached, in goal conflict two or more motive block are another.

There are three separate types of goal conflicts:

  1. Approach – Approach Conflict:- This type of goal conflict probably has the least impact on organizational behaviour because the competing goals are all positive.
  2. Approach – Avoidance Conflict:- This type of goal conflict is most relevant to the analysis of organizational behaviour.  Normally, organizational goals have both positive and negative aspect for employees

According, the organizational goal may avenue a great deal of conflict within a person and may actually cause the person to vacillate anxiously at the point where approach equals avoidance.

  1. Avoidance – Avoidance Conflict:-  This type of conflict does have a great deal of impact on organizational efficiency and behaviour.  Avoidance – avoidance conflict is usually easily resolved.  An employee failed with two negative goals may choose either of them and simply leave the situation in some situations, however, the person is unable to leave.  To a lesser extent, most personnel in modern organsations are also restricted from leaving, for example recently UBA threw most of the personnel out of job.  Such workers as their job are very scarce.  Role conflict involve an incompatibility between job tasks, roles, polices or resources, and other people.  Role conflict create ambiguity which results from inadequate information or knowledge to do a job due to any of poor training, low communication or the deliberate withholding or distortion of information by a co-worker or boss.  In any event the result of the role conflict and role ambiguity is stress for the individual.

This concerns the conflict that can arise when two or more persons are interacting with one another.  Johari window is effective approach to the analysis of interpersonal behaviour (conflict).  Developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham (hence the name Johari) the model helps to identify several interpersonal studies, shows the characteristics and result of these styles, and suggests ways of interpreting the conflict that may develop between the employee and others.


The person knows about him or herself and about other.

This type of interpersonal relationship would tend to lead to hittle, if any interpersonal conflict.




The person understands him or herself but does not know about the other employee.  The result is that the person remains hidden from the other because of the fear of how the other might react.

There is potential for interpersonal conflict in its situation.



This is potentially the most expensive situation.  The person does not know about him or herself and does not know about the other.  In other words there is much misunderstanding, and interpersonal conflict is sure to result.



In this situation the person knows about the other but not about himself or herself.  The person may be unintentionally irritating to the other.  There is potential for interpersonal conflicts in this situation.





Intra-individual and inter-group conflicts all take place within organizations.  Conflict is inherent in organizational processes such as:

The boss wants more services, subordinates want consideration:

Customers demand faster services:

Consultants suggests change

Operators resist changes

The rulebook prescribes a formular

The staff says it will not work.



Conflict can be resolved through these approaches:-

  1. Lost – Lose Approach

In a lose- lose approach to conflict resolution, both parties lose.  This approach takes different forms.  One of the more common forms is to compromise or take the middle ground in the dispute.  A second form is to pay off one of the disputing parties in the conflict.  These payments often take the form of bribes.  A third form is to use an outside third party or arbitration.  A final type is to resort to existing regulations top resolve the conflict.  In all fear of these form of the lose-lose approach, both parties in the conflict loss.


  1. Win Loss

A win-lose strategy is a very common way of resolving conflict in modern complex organizations.  In a competitive environment as found in banking industry, one party in a conflict situation attempts to marshal its forces to win, and the other party losses.  Win-loss strategy can be found in superior subordinate relationship, Lind-staff confrontations, union-management relations and many other conflict situations found in modern organization.  The biggest problem however with a win-dose strategy is that someone always loses.  Those who suffer the loss may learn.  Something in the process, but losers also tend to be bitter and vindictive.


  1. A Win-Win strategy of conflict resolution is probably the most desirable from a human and organizational stand point. Energies and creating are aimed at solving the problems rather than beating in the conflict situation is met and both parties receive rewarding outcomes.

According to Allen C.F, Robert J.H and Stewen with-win decision strategies are associated with better judgments, favourable organization experience, and more favourable bargains.

Although it is often difficult to accomplish a win-win outcome of an interpersonal conflict, this should be a major goal of the management of conflict.

On a more practical level, the following steps have been suggested for more effective management of conflict.

  1. a) Perceiving or experiencing unacceptable conflict
  2. b) Diagnosing the source of the conflict
  3. c) Intervening

Concerning the management of conflict, kilman and Thomas suggest;

1)      The erection of buffers between the conflicting parties

2)    A second strategy is to help the parties in the conflicting situation develop better insight into themselves and how they affect others.

3)    A third strategy is to redesign the organizational structure in order to reduce the conflict.

4)    A fourth strategy is to turn the conflict into an instrument for attaining the organizational objectives.



Conflict resolution can lead to innovation and change; it can energize employees to activity, develop protection for something else in the organization, and be an important element in the systems analysis of the organization.  Such factors indicate that conflict can be managed to work for, rather than against goal attainment in the modern organization conflict resolution heads to favourable.  Organization experience, more favourable bargain and is associated with better judgments.

On the dysfunctional side, a win-lose conflict resolution strategy ignores other solutions as co-operative, mutually agreed upon outcomes, there are pressures to confirm, which may stifle a questioning, creative atmosphere for conflict resolution and highly structured power relationship tend to emerge rapidly.

Finally, conflict resolution is necessary to keep such conflict from surfacing again, to cool of the emotions and hostilities of the parties involved, and to bring the conflicting parties into favourable face to face confrontations to reach a mutually satisfactory solution.



Conflict has favourable and unfavourable consequences for organization.  Conflict because of its unfavourable impacts at the continuation has the following effects.

The amount of communication between conflicting groups parties decreases.  When there is communication, it is characterized by negative comments and hostility.

If a party is losing in conflicts, the members cohesion decrease and their experience increased tension among themselves.  They lock for a scapegoat to blame their failure on the positive feelings and cohesion within the in-group do not transfer to the member of the out-group.  The members of the out-group are viewed as the enemy rather than as neutrals.

Relationship can become antagonistic and so disruptive that the entire flow of activity is slowed or even stopped.

Conflict results into dissatisfaction, withdrawing of employees from engaging in most organizational activities thus causing the organization to be ineffective and fragmented.

Moreso, conflict can be favourable to organization in the sense that it can lead to importation and change and energies people to activity.

Whatever the quality and quantity of inter-group relations, they always produce some consequence for all the parties concerned.

The inter-group behaviour that emerges in organizations may be beneficial or detrimental for the total organization for inter groups, or it may have varying effects upon each depending on behaviour involved.  Conflict may be detrimental to the existence and improvement of employee relations but it may be beneficial to organizations in the short run.  What probably is more commonly found is conflict, but which is detrimental to many individuals, groups and entire organization in general.




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