Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Conflict Management

What is conflict?
 Conflict is the result of group problem solving.
 Where two or more people need to make decisions, there eventually is disagreement.
 Conflict is natural.
 Conflict is inevitable.
 Conflicts can, for example, easily develop out of a situation where members of a group have a misunderstanding of each other’s role and responsibilities.

Types of conflicts:
 Manpower resources
 Equipment and facilities
 Costs
 Technical opinions
 Priorities
 Administrative procedures
 Scheduling
 Responsibilities

Project Objectives:
 Each project must have at lest one objective.
 The objectives of the project must be made known to all project personnel and all managers, at every level of the organization.
 If this information is not communicated accurately, then it is entirely possible that upper-level manager, project managers, and functional managers may all have a different interpretation of the ultimate objective , a situation that invites conflicts.

Project objective must follow the SMART rule;
 S = specific
 M = measurable
 A = attainable
 R = realistic or relevant
 T = time bound

Approaches to Conflict Management:
1. Withdrawing (or avoiding) from the conflict.
 Avoid both the issues and the people associated
 Belief on avoiding conflict than working on it
 Avoiding should be used:
• When you can’t win
• To gain time
• To preserve neutrality or reputation
• When you think the problem will go away
• When you win by delay

2. Smoothing over the conflict.
 Attempt to reduce the level of emotions that exist in a conflict
 Focus on the positive relationships and de-emphasize the areas of conflict
 An example of smoothing would be to tell someone, “We have agreed on three of the five points and there is not reason why we cannot agree on the last two points.”

3. Forcing resolution to the conflict.
 One party tries to impose the solution on the other party.
 Forcing should be used when:
• When you are right
• When a quick decision must be made
• To gain power
• When it’s understood that a game is being played
• When a do-or-die situation exists
• When you are stronger (never start a battle you can’t win)

4. Compromising, accepting a no-win solution.
 Compromise should be used:
• When both parties need to be winners
• When you can’t win
• When others are as strong as you are
• When you are not sure you are right
• To avoid giving the impression of “fighting”
• When you don’t have time

5. Confronting or Collaborating
 The conflicting parties meet face-to-face and try to work through their disagreements.
 These approaches focus more on solving the problem and less on being combative.
 This method should be used:
• To attack a common enemy
• When there is enough time
• When there is trust
• When you have confidence in other party’s ability
• When you and the conflicting party can both get at least what you wanted