Aside from methods of arbitration or involvement of costly legal action, conflict mediation moves toward worker empowerment. This involves using the services of a mediator, such as, a human resource professional. Training for all employees that includes conflict resolution is available and popular today.
A diverse workforce, characterized by organizational drivers of change, is drawing attention to interpersonal conflicts among workers. Teams do not always work effectively, and change may not accomplish everything intended. “According to a recent Accountemps survey, executives spend more than nine weeks each year resolving personality clashes between employees.”(Brown 1). Such clashes undermine morale. Competition and complex communication barriers create conditions that generate the need for new training and employee development. “Conflict management is the ability to manage every-day situations that involve personal interactions involving difference of opinion. It differs from conflict resolution, where successful resolution means that the issue is totally resolved and finished.” (Brown 1).
Conflict exists in every organization and to a certain extent indicates a healthy exchange of ideas and creativity. However, counter-productive conflict can result in employee dissatisfaction, reduced productivity, poor service to clients, absenteeism and increased employee turnover, increased work-related stress or, worse case scenario, litigation based on claims of harassment or a hostile work environment.
In this section, we look at managing the day to day conflict that occurs in all workplaces – ways to identify and understand it and ways to manage it effectively. As an executive director or manager, it is often your role to discern when a conflict is a normal part of the work day and work relationships or whether you need to engage an external alternative and/or refer to a more formal conflict resolution policy and procedure.
Blaine Donais B.A., LL.B., LL.M. (ADR), RPDR, C. Med., author of published by Canada Law Book, has spent many years working with public and private sector professionals. He is President and Founder of the Workplace Fairness Institute, Conflict Management Solutions. He has represented professionals as a labour lawyer since 1995. He is an expert in both the practice and theory of assisted labour/management negotiation, mediation-arbitration and facilitation. He teaches Human Resources professionals, Labour leaders and others in Human Rights, Labour and Employment law, Human Resources, Collective Bargaining and Conflict Resolution.
Even though this move is not recognized by the United Nations and the resolution to the conflict is far from being determined, the crisis is still a perfect opportunity for the analysis of the use of political power....
He waits them out, then when both gentlemen leave with no resolution to their differences, the Director calls upon other city employees who witnessed the conflict and asks what they feel was actually going on....
Large companies that manage conflict effectively employ several strategies, including negotiation, incrementalism, mediation, and effective communication. Michelle Maiese describes negotiation as “a discussion between two or more disputants who are trying to work out a solution to their problem” (1). Further, she indicates negotiation “can occur at a personal, corporate, or international (diplomatic) level.”
Another strategy used by large corporations to manage conflict is effective communication. Donna Bellafiore stresses the importance of effective communication as she describes six critical steps for conflict resolution.
Managing Workplace Conflict ()
This site was developed by the Vancouver Island University in British Columbia to help their employees deal with conflict in the workplace. They offer a unique perspective on how to approach an employee, to manage anger and to handle criticism.
This report also discusses the strategies and methods used or involved to put inter-personal conflicts and what role does the project manager play in conflict resolution....
Conflict resolution can be defined as the ability of individuals or groups of people to settle or avoid disputes through strategies that stop violence and bring people together in one peace (Bonta 1996: 406).
Managers who respect their employees are more likely to gain the respect of their employees. Likewise, companies that claim respect as a corporate value will reinforce it through corporate practices. Anna Maravelas illustrates the critical role of respect in conflict resolution in the following scenario. Hours of constant dissension had left executives exhausted and disconnected (203). Then a mediator stepped in and asked them to share things they respected about one another. As they did so, positive energy replaced negativity, building a platform of conflict resolution that transcended “pettiness and irritability” (204-205).
When assessing what conflict resolution strategy to use, also consider the impact and energy your efforts will make. For example, in many organizations coming to consensus is a valued way of working and making decisions together. For obvious reasons, the "win/win" result of consensus or collaboration is the most rewarding for all parties involved. That being said, it is not always the best approach. It is the most difficult of all styles to achieve due to the high amount of participation, cooperation and time required by you and the other person(s). Before engaging in any type of conflict situation, take a step back (breathe and count to 5) and do a quick scan of the situation to ascertain which style would have the most impact.