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Chapter 13 : Conflict Management
The success of an organization depends on how well staff members recognize, understand, and resolve conflict, hopefully within a climate and culture where conflicts are anticipated and not ignored. This chapter begins by defining and describing conflict. Next, it draws a comparison between constructive and destructive conflict. Conflict is constructive when the involved parties recognize and acknowledge that they have a disagreement and actively work to resolve it. Constructive conflict resolution results in outcomes that may involve a compromise on both sides, and the best interests of the organization are served by addressing the conflict. Destructive conflicts occur when people try to ignore a situation and when one person forces a resolution on another that results in a win-lose outcome. The net result is that the organization is harmed. The chapter focuses on five different strategies for resolving conflict and the pros and cons of each style: forcing, accommodation, collaboration, avoidance, and compromise. The role of the manager in resolving conflicts is also discussed. Managing conflict is one of the key skills all managers need to master. The job of every manager involves planning, organizing, directing others, and controlling. The ability to manage conflict runs across each of those skills. The chapter discusses the seven-step model for resolving conflict. This model can be implemented in any organizational setting and can be used to resolve all conflicts.