Friday, January 17, 2014

Identifying functional and dysfunctional conflict

In the last byte, we looked at the issue of dysfunctional conflicts, and built a case for the need to be able to identify between functional and dysfunctional conflict.

Distinguishing between conflicts and being able to diagnose it as good or bad isn’t an easy task. The context of the conflict and the parties involved are key considerations for a manager in being able to diagnose the situation.
Some of the key questions that could help the manager diagnose the type of conflict could be:
  1. Are the parties approaching the conflict from a hostile standpoint?
  2. Is the outcome likely to be a negative one for the organization?
  3. Do the potential losses of the parties exceed any potential gains?
  4. Is energy being diverted from goal accomplishment?

If the answers to a majority of the questions listed above is "yes" then the conflict is probably dysfunctional.
Once the type of the conflict is diagnosed, the manager could either work to resolve it (in case of dysfunctional conflicts) or stimulate it (in the case functional ones).
We next explore the causes of conflict in organizations.

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