In most cases, conflict in the workplace seems to be a fact of life. It has been witnessed where different people with different goals and needs have come into conflict. It seems like workplace conflicts are inevitable. Often, intense personal animosity can result out of conflicts leading to good people quitting, morale can plummet, and sometimes violence can erupt. However, the fact that conflicts exist is not a bad thing in essence: as long as it is resolved effectively, it can lead to personal and professional growth (Mayer, 2004). In many cases, effective conflict resolution can differentiate between positive and negative outcomes. By solving a conflict successfully, a good manager or supervisor can be able to solve many of the problems that the conflict had brought to the surface, as well as getting those benefits that he/she might not expect. Various ways of conflict resolution are discussed in this study.
Negotiation process of conflict mitigation
Conflict happens in all corners of the work place. The trick for mitigating workplace conflict is as follows: first let people tell their story. When people are deeply upset about a given situation, they need to find somebody who can help them get their story out. This is a basic principle of mediation and a very important one to be remembered. Allowing people to speak their minds may increase the level of conflict at the surface, but it enables the mediator to go through the conflict phase in order to find a solution (Mayer, 2004). By a feeling that the affected person has finally been heard, it helps to change the angry person’s outlook.
Then the negotiators should bring a reality check to the table. Often in a conflict, the parties are focused on details that they lose sight of the whole picture and its implications. The mediator needs to bring people back to the reality by spraining their attention away from small matters and having them focus on the bigger picture. By so doing, the resolution may be arrived at in a quick manner (Wallensteen, 2011).
When the reality has been checked, the mediator should identify the true impediment. In every conflict, there should be a true motivating factor that is keeping a person from agreeing to the solution. If the impediment is identified, then the mediator can predict how the person will respond to certain ideas which can help to shape the negotiations accordingly (Bercovitch & Jackson, 2009).
Then, the mediator should take the spotlight off somebody if they refuse to budge. The fact here is that isolation will create movement for people who like taking hardline approach.
Do not rush the dance or the negotiation will fail. Even when the mediation team knows that they can wrap up things quickly, it is to the advantage of everyone to keep the negotiations proceeding normally, for a reasonable amount of time, before the inevitable settlement. In a situation where elusive goal cannot be reached, isolate the participants if possible and just move on (Wallensteen, 2011).
Advantages and disadvantages of one-on-one approach of conflict resolution
The advantage of this approach is that the affected parties will face one another with the facts as they both know them. The supervisor or the employee has a chance of explaining himself/herself conclusively to make the other party understand. It, however, depends on the trustworthiness of both parties (Avruch, 1998). Another advantage is that the matter at hand is not taken out of context as both parties understand it and may not say lies to one another. Is a solution is reached, it is meant to last long because it came from within the parties affected.
The parties affected may blow the matter out of control due to lack of understanding from one another. Every party may want to hold their ground which may not lead to a conclusion. Sometimes, it might turn into violence and abuse because the parties cannot accommodate one another (Bercovitch & Jackson, 2009). Some do not want to negotiate and as, they have a perception of the outcome, it may lead to a supervisor losing employee if he or she holds their ground.
A worker took two days to compile a report about a field work they had done with the supervisor. On presenting the report to the supervisor, He took five minutes to glance at the report and dismissed it pointing out the things in the report that he thought were not right (Wallensteen, 2011). The worker was angry because the supervisor took five minutes to look at a report that took more than 20 hours to prepare. The worker took the issue to the manager claiming she cannot work with that supervisor due to bad attitude, and their styles of working differed. While the worker preferred steadiness, the supervisor’s style was dominating where he could make fast decisions (Avruch, 1998). The conflict went to negotiation with the manager being the mediator, and they discussed how to use each other’s style to work together.
Advantages and disadvantages of mediation
The advantages of mediation is that it is often less expensive, quick, easy, and can provide a more complete solution than going to court. The disadvantage include is that negotiation is not ideal to get to the truth of the matter, mediation does not have formal rules and the aggressive people may overrule those who are timid. And finally mediation might not reach the conclusion of the matter.
Litigation related issues
Litigation leads lost productivity as people spend more worrying about the conflict than the organizational goals, the parties involved withdraw emotionally because their morale is weakened by the conflict, there is aggression within the parties which can sometimes lead to violence, and the parties may feel frustrated, discontented and even miserable.
The strategy includes teaching people on how to solve disputes. High performance organizations are aware of the need to train the workforce in the soft skills which include spending a portion of their budget on developing the social skills of people (Avruch, 1998). When the management and workers learn and master the skill to deal with any type of conflict within the workplace, the organization will be far more productive.
Supervisors and managers do not need to become certified mediators in order for them to settle disputes. What the supervisors and managers are needed to do is the basic understanding about human behavior, practicing the fine art of paying attention and offering themselves as neutral parties. By so doing, a good manager can be able to solve many problems that arise as a result of conflicts within the organization.
Avruch, K. (1998). Culture & conflict resolution. Washington, D.C: United States Inst. of Peace Press.
Bercovitch, J., & Jackson, R. (2009). Conflict resolution in the twenty-first century: Principles, methods, and approaches. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Mayer, B. (2004). Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Wallensteen, P. (2011). Understanding conflict resolution: War, peace and the global system. London: SAGE.