Introduction: Conflict and the Collaborative Ethic

by Kenneth Thomas



The article presents a survey indicating that managers spend a considerable portion of their time dealing with conflict and that conflict management has become increasingly important to their effectiveness. There is growing recognition of the importance of conflict in organizations. Most organizational change efforts, particularly those that fall within the category of organization development (OD), are directed toward promoting collaborative relationships. A survey of the OD indicates that increased collaboration is often cited as an explicit change objective. Moreover, collaborative group processes play a central part in the technology of organizational change-often in the service of addressing and resolving interpersonal or intergroup conflicts, which are barriers to collaborative functioning. The developments suggest a need to modify or qualify the collaborative ethic in some way. Together, they make a strong case for finding a new overview of the role of collaboration in the theory and practice of organizational behavior and organizational development.

California Management Review

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