Dealing with Conflict


Definition of conflict

Conflict : Is a process in which an effort is purposely made by one party of the efforts of another party by some form of blocking that will result in frustrating other party in attaining its goals or frustrating its interests.

Conflict :Is a behavior intended to obstruct the achievement of some person’s goals


Levels of conflict

a. Personal level: interpersonal , between persons .

b. Group level: between two organizations

c. Organizational level: between two organizations.

Causes of Conflict

1- Differences in goals between parties.

2- Increasing complexity and specialization of health care institutions.

3- The rising expectations of those delivering and receiving health care.

4- Increase the size of the group .

5- The changing role of the nurse .

6- Increase competitions among health care institutions .

7- Increase regulations and rules .


Importance of Conflict

1- The presence of conflict does not necessarily mean a negative process is occurring should be viewed positively as it can lead to growth, energy and creativity generating new ideas.

2- Conflict is viewed an not only inevitable , but as natural condition and necessary if people and organizations are to change An organization which has no conflict is stagnant and developing or changing as conflict is a natural component of the change process.

3- It is important for nurse manger to understand of conflict , mean to resolve it , for their units to perform effectively.

Some concepts regarding conflict

Conflict is Not something you can touch ,it is a feeling ..So, conflict must be perceived by the parties .

– If no one is aware of conflict, it is agreed that conflict exists. Additional commonalties are opposition, scarcity , blockage the assumption that there are two or more parties whose interests or goals are incompatible .

– When one party blocks the means to the goals of another party, conflict state exists .

Schools of thought regarding conflict

1- Traditional view : the early approach.

– Conflict is bad ( negative )

– Must be avoided.

– Indicates malfunction in the group.

2. Behavioral view :

– Conflict is natural and inevitable outcome in any group.

– It has the potential to be positive force in determining group performance.

– Can not be eliminated.

3. Interactionist view: most recent one

– Agues that some conflict is absolutely necessary for any group to perform effectively .

– It encourages conflict on the grounds that a harmonious , peaceful , cooperative group is likely to become static and nonresponsive to needs for change … So, the major contribution of this approach is encouraging leaders to maintain an ongoing minimal level of conflict enough to keep the group a live , self critical and creative .


Conflict process

1. Potential opposition :

Presence of conditions that creates opportunities to raise . It includes :

A- Communication difficulties :

– Misunderstand and noise in the communication channel lead to retardation of collaboration .

B- Structure :

– Increase group size … increase conflict

– Routines , specialization and standard in the task .

C- Personal variables:

– Individuals who authoritarian and who demonstrates , leads to potential conflict .

2. Cognitive and personalization :

– If the conditions cited in stage one generate frustration m then the potential for opposition become realized .

-There is disagreement with colleagues .

3. Behavior:

– Members in the group engages in actions that attainment of another’s goals.

– That action must be intended , that is , there must be a known to frustrate others.

– At this level the conflict is out in the open.

– Behavior ranges from indirect , subtle … to direct , aggressive , violent and uncontrolled struggle


Outcomes of Conflicts

a. Functional :(positive / constructive)

-At low levels of conflict.

-Improves quality of decisions … stimulates creativity .

-Encourage interest and curiosity among group members .

Positive outcome includes :

1. Better ideas produced .

2. People are forced to search for new approaches .

3. Long standing problems are brought to the surface and resolved .

4. Clarification of individual views.

b. Dysfunctional (negative / destructive )

– At high levels of conflict .

– Results in break in communication and misunderstanding .

-Decrease group performance and effectiveness.

Negative out comes include :

1. Some people feel defeated and demanded .

2. Increase distance between people / group .

3.A climate of mistrust and suspension.

4. Increase resistance.

5. Increase voluntary labor turnover ( V L T )


Conflict solving approaches

Completion – collaboration – avoidances – accommodation – compromise

– Using 2 dimensions .

a. Cooperativeness: the degree to which on party attempts to satisfy the other party’s concerns.

b. Assertiveness:the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy its own concerns.

The five approaches are

1. Competition : ( assertive + uncooperative)

– One party seeks to achieve is goals regardless of the impact on the other parties.

– Each party will use its power base to again a victory in its favor .

– WIN – LOSE approach .

2. Collaboration : (assertive + cooperative)

– Each party desire to satisfy the concerns of all parties .

– The aim is solving the problem and clarifying the differences .

– WIN – Win approach .

3. Avoidance : (unassertive + uncooperative)

– One party react by withdrawing or suppressing the conflict

– LOSE – LOSE approach .

4. Accommodation : (unassertive + cooperative)

– One party is wiling to be self-scarifying for the other to maintain the relationship.

– LOSE – WIN approach.

5. Compromise : (mid-way between assertive + cooperative )

– Each party in the conflict must give up some thing .

– Sharing occurs , results in compromise outcome .

– Negotiations between parties leads to any agreement.


At the end,

– A good manger does not try to eliminate conflict.

– He tries to keep it from wasting the energies of people.

– If you are has boss and your people fight you openly when they think you are wrong, that’s healthy.

– If your people fight each other openly in your presence for what they believe in that’s healthy.

– But keep conflict eye ball eye ball …!!!

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