Conflict management refers to the act of enhancing works that diminish the unconstructive aspects of conflict and promote the constructive aspects of it. The whole process aims at improving efficacy in organizational set ups. Conflicts can be managed using five different responses, which are usually founded on two facets; assertiveness and cooperativeness (Eunson, 2012). These responses include forcing, avoiding, compromising, accommodating and collaborating. This paper seeks to explore on each of these responses to conflict and provide a scenario where they can be best applied.
Responses to conflict
Forcing is one of the responses that can be used in conflict management. This approach is basically a “win-lose” approach (Eunson, 2012). In this case, one of the parties to a conflict tends to act aggressively to realize his own interest, even at the other party’s expense. This strategy may be suitable in emergency cases that need to redeem time, or when there is need for a prompt crucial action (Eunson, 2012). In such cases however, it is important that the other people around approve of such actions.
Avoiding as a response to conflict, works by basically evading the issue that resulted to conflict. In this response, neither of the party in conflict aims at assisting the other to achieve their goal and is not assertive pursuing their own interests (Eunson, 2012). Avoiding is usually used to respond to conflicts that are inconsequential or when one of the parties in conflict realizes that they have no opportunity of winning. In other cases, avoiding is deemed appropriate when the issue at hand would be costly, or when there is tension in the environment, hence a need for creating some space (Eunson, 2012).
Compromising is a response strategy that involves a ‘lose’ to both parties in a conflict (Eunson, 2012). In this case, neither party realizes their interest. This approach requires a reasonable intensity of forcefulness and cooperation. Compromising can best apply in scenarios that require impermanent solutions or when both parties in a conflict have equally significant goals to realize (Eunson, 2012).
Accommodation is an approach in conflict management that involves high level cooperation. In this response strategy, either one or both parties to a conflict may choose to cooperate. The cooperation may be at one’s own peril and may not be in favour of one’s interests (Eunson, 2012). Accommodation in response to conflict is usually efficient when one of the parties is an expert or has a healthier solution (Eunson, 2012). This approach can also be used in cases where there is a need to maintain good relations between the parties in the future.
Collaborating is another approach that can be used to respond to a conflict. Collaboration aims at bringing a ‘’win –win’’ situation in a conflict situation (Eunson, 2012). In this approach to conflict, the parties to a conflict usually join up to accomplish both of their goals. This response is mostly applied when the issue at hand is complex and there is a requirement for both parties’ ideas. However, this approach needs a high level of trust and arriving at an agreement can be time consuming.
Conflict case example
I recently found two men arguing in my neighborhood. I was interested in knowing what the disagreement was all about. After an inquiry, I found out that one of the men had purchased a portion of land from the other. When he visited the place to start construction works, a neighbor asserted that he owned the land and availed the necessary documents. The other man was however reluctant to refund the initial buyer the cash for the land. He accepted that the land was not his. He was willing to refund the cash but at a later time since he did not have the cash at that time.
Collaborating would have been the best approach to this conflict. This is because both parties had a goal to achieve in this conflict. One man needed a refund while the other was only willing to avail it later. The two men needed to come together to an agreement of the way forward. The men for instance could reach a formal agreement on the payment date and the action to be taken if the agreement terms were not observed.
Eunson, B. (2012). Conflict Management. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.