Conflict is inevitable in all facets of life, both personal and organizational. Philosophers have studied conflict since Plato and Aristotle, and more recently sociologists, biologists, and organizational researchers have examined the origins, causes, and strategies for resolving conflict.
Masters and Albright (2002) point out that people thrive on conflict in most areas of their lives--football games, political debates, legal disputes--yet steer clear from workplace conflicts. But conflict is actually a healthy way to challenge the existing order and essential to change in the workplace. The real problem is not conflict per se, but managing conflict.
Masters, M. and Albright, R. (2002), The Complete Guide to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace, AMACOM, New York, NY.
Dana (2001) argues that workplaces are changing. As interpersonal rules of conduct become looser and time deadlines become tighter, conflict resolution is gaining importance as a strategic management issue. Organizations that recognize the necessity of strategically managing internal conflict will be one step ahead in increasingly competitive business environments.
Dana, D. (2001), Conflict Resolution: Mediation Tools for Everyday Work Life, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
Cloke and Goldsmith (2011) reveal how the inevitable disputes and divisions in the workplace are actually opportunities for greater creativity, productivity, enhanced morale, and personal growth.
Cloke, K. and Goldsmith, J. (2011), Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
Clearly, confronting and managing organisational conflicts presents a major challenge to organizations that wish to successfully compete in today’s global economy.