The paper "Conflict Can Be Both Destructive and of Great Benefit to Organizations" is an outstanding example of management coursework. Organizations as set-ups where diverse people interact inevitably experience different forms of conflicts whose ultimate impact on the organization depend on the way the management handle each conflict. Conflicts ensue due to differences in values, beliefs, skills, and attitudes among the interacting entities. Conflicts in an organization present opportunities for both positive and negative effects on organizational operations. According to Rahim (2011), conflicts can have several benefits to an organization including improvement of the decision-making process, creation of synergistic solutions to common problems in the organization, stimulate innovation, change and creativity among the workers, the discovery of alternative solutions to issues facing an organization, and promote cohesiveness in work-teams.
In addition, conflicts can create an avenue for clarification of individual roles and responsibilities in an organization with consequent positive implications on the performance and efficiency in the organization. On the other hand, conflicts can have adverse effects on an organization if poorly handled. Some of the negative implications that may result from conflict include possible communication breakdown between individuals and groups as well as between the management and staff, poor workplace relations, creation of distrust and suspicion among colleagues, poor job performance, and job stress and burnout culminating into overall dissatisfaction (Singh, 2008).
Other possible negative effects of conflict in an organization include the development of resistance to changes and new organizational initiatives, the decline in organizational commitment and loyalty with an eventual increase in turnover rates (Jeong, 2009). As such, this paper seeks to demonstrate that conflict can be both destructive and of great benefits to an organization.
Since conflict is inevitable in organizations or any social environment, organizations should be able to manage conflicts in a way that translates into maximum benefit and minimum negative effects on the organization. Overview of Theories on Organizational Conflict Different organizational theorists have conceptualized organizational conflict in different ways. Classical organizational theorists such as Weber, 1929/1947, Taylor, 1911, Gulick & Urwick, 1937 and Fayol, 1916/1949, failed to acknowledge that conflict can have diverse implications on an organization but rather emphasized on the negative effects of conflict on the organizational functions (Rahim, 2011).
Classical theorists emphasize the need for organizations to create an environment free from conflicts because of the view that conflict can only have detrimental effects on the organization. The school of thought advanced by classical organizational theories thrives on the assumption that effectiveness in the various organizational functions is only possible in the absence of conflict. As such, such theorists advocate for the need for organizations to establish structures, rules and guidelines and an effective chain of command to alleviate conflict from organizations’ setting. Although classical theorists have strongly emphasized the need for organizations to strive towards eliminating conflict from organizations, modern organizations have significantly disagreed with their view.
Modern organizational theorist like Litterer and Whyte appreciate that conflict in an organization is inevitable and as such, the management should focus on effective conflict resolution strategies (Rahim, 2011). Modern theorists believe that conflict in an organization should not be perceived as always detrimental to the organization but as a phenomenon that may translate into either positive or negative implication depending on how it is handled.
As such, modern theorists have sought to discredit the perception of conflict in an organization as a weakness on the part of the organizational management created by classical theorists. The behavioralists’ philosophy at the center of modern theorists school of thought goes beyond appreciation of conflict as an inevitable phenomenon in the organization to the extent of insinuating that organizations should encourage conflict (Rahim, 2011). Although the key weakness in their support for the conflict in an organization arises from the lack of recommendation on strategies for triggering or encouraging conflict in an organization, behavioralists acknowledge that conflict can enhance organizational effectiveness.
On the other hand, the interactionists theory conceptualizes conflict as an avenue for establishing collaboration and terms of interaction within the organization (Rahim, 2011). In line with this school of thought, conflict is viewed as a tool for initiating social change within an organization with consequent improvement in the quality of interaction. According to interactionists, conflict should be appreciated as a foundation for improved relationships in the organization rather than a threat to the desired relationship need for organizational effectiveness.
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