Conflict as Part of Organizational Communication Activities
Conflicts and negotiations are critical aspects of an organization’s communication activities. An organization’s success or failure largely depends on the conflict resolution processes and the negotiations’ efficiency. A conflict is a disagreement within oneself or with others, while talks are the processes used to reach an amicable situation on a matter. Being aware of an existing conflict or one likely to arise is vital to establishing a proper resolution mechanism. Understanding the different types of disputes, resolutions, and appropriate negotiation methods is crucial to enhancing an organization’s success.
The different types of conflicts are intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intergroup. Intrapersonal conflicts occur within an individual due to uncertainty or inadequacy, whereas interpersonal misunderstandings arise between individuals, such as co-workers. Intergroup conflicts arise between different groups of people in the organization, such as departments or employee unions versus the management. A proper resolution mechanism ensures that both parties are satisfied with the decision made to address the problem.
One of the essential features of a successful resolution is understanding the cause of the conflict. Some of the triggers include limited resources, communication challenges, organizational structure, personality differences, and incompatible goals. Conflict resolution is mainly through five methods: avoidance, competition, compromise, accommodation, and collaboration. Avoidance is an uncooperative style used to avoid confrontation; it is appropriate when the issues of concern are trivial. Accommodation is whereby one party gives in to the other one’s wants and is applicable if the problem is more critical to the other party.
Through compromise, the other person’s needs are respected as a common goal is reached through both parties’ sacrifice. It is most appropriate where an organization’s reputation is likely to be damaged. Through completion, parties seek to have their needs met at the expense of others. It is practical where the alternative idea is harmful or unethical. Collaboration is a powerful and cooperative method where both parties argue for consideration and still listen to one another for the best outcome, hence a win-win situation.
A conflict resolution process has five steps, as described below. First, an investigation is conducted to gather information on the conflict. Second, the involved parties determine the best alternatives out of the available options. The third step entails presenting the available data to support the adopted position. The fourth step is discussing the available options with the other party by bargaining, and finally, closure where an agreement is reached or one party is walking away.