Conflict Resolution: What Works?

by Eleanor Phillips, Ric Cheston



The article presents ways to solve conflict. Conflict is due to power struggles between departments with conflicting objectives or reward systems, through competition for scarce resources, or through the necessary interdependence of two or more groups to achieve their goals. Conflict results from the incompatibility of personal goals or social values of an employee with the role behavior required by his job. Certain personality characteristics, such as authoritarianism or dogmatism, may lead to conflict. Structural conflict caused by struggles between departments or groups was the most common type described by study participants; next was conflict due to personal values or personality. Communication conflict was least common. According to the study presented in the article, it was found that the success or failure of each strategy was related to the type of conflict: problem solving proved more successful in settling conflicts caused by communication difficulties and forcing was the only method used with any success in conflicts of personal values or personality.

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