Concept of Organizational Behavior

Conflict consists of all kinds of opposition or antagonistic interactions. It is the outcome of behavioral interactions in persons, groups and organizations.

It mainly arises from disagreements over goals and the methods to attain those goals. Poor communication and personality differences cause conflict. Leaders spend about 40 percent of their time dealing with conflict. An important role of leaders is to manage conflicts.

According to Newstrom and Davis, “Conflict is any situation in which two or more parties feel themselves in opposition.”

According to Robbins and others, “Conflict is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about”.

Conflict affects performance. If it is too high, it hinders performance. If it is too low, performance tends to be low. An optimal level of conflict is necessary for organizational effectiveness. 

Sources of Conflict

The conflict may occur between individual and group. Individual conflict occurs between members in the same group. Other side, group conflict occurs between groups. Among these, some of the major sources of conflict are as follows:

1. Incompatible goals:

Goal of different groups are naturally different. This easily leads to group conflict. The achievement of one goal often interferes another group’s goal. For example: loan lending department wants to lend more amount of loan without considering the quality of collateral. Because of this problem the loan recovery department cannot recover the loan at its proper time and size. There is the goal conflict.

2. Different values and beliefs:

Different groups have different set of values and beliefs. For example: engineering department may value and believe “sophisticated designs” while marketing people may prefer simple and cheap designs. There can be seen conflict of values and beliefs.

3. Scarce resources:

A much more common source of conflict is scarce resources. We all know that resources are limited but wants of groups are unlimited. Limited and scarce resources generate conflict because scarcity motivates people to compete with others who also need those resources to accomplish their objectives. The result is that one party wins and another party fails to win.

4. Task interdependence:

As task interdependence increases, the potential for conflict increases. Task interdependence increases when two or more groups depend on each other to accomplish their tasks. When problem arises, it becomes easy to blame other party, and conflict starts.

5. Ambiguous rules:

When work rules are incomplete and difficult to understand, a situation of conflict arises. It occurs due to lack of proper communication of rules and others.  Conflict will increases when there is ambiguity among individuals and groups over their responsibility. Individuals may confuse and conflict occurs.

6. Communication problems:

Conflict arises due to incomplete and faulty communication between group members and groups. When two groups or individuals fail to communicate each other properly, conflict occurs.