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Resolving Conflict

by Biswamohan.Routray

When more than one person works on a project, then we consider the group of persons as a team. When there is a team the conflict is inevitable. This is because each one will have their desire and goals. When ones goal doesn’t coincide with the other members goal, at that point conflict arises.

Conflicts arise due to incompatibility of goals.

There are five ways of resolving the conflicts

  • Forcing
  • Smoothing
  • Compromise
  • Confrontation
  • Withdrawal

The most important and the effective way is confrontation.

Forcing:

The word itself speaks about the way you are going to resolve the conflict. Use force ! The conflict is resolved by applying force (though not physical force) on one party. The team members will go along the way because they are told to do so. Here it is a win-lose technique. The person who has used the force has won. The person who has followed the instructions has lost.

Smoothing:

It’s a temporary way to resolve conflict. Someone makes an attempts to make the conflict less important than it is. The team members during the meeting believe they have a solution to the conflict and they all agree to it. Later on when someone thinks over the conflict and discovers that it is more important than what they were told in the meeting , at that time the conflict will resurface. Here it is  a lose-lose technique.

Compromise:

In this technique, looking at the situation everyone agree to give up something. Initially these team members would have thought not to give up. As a result of which they come up with a solution which is  accepted by all. If the members have made firm commitments then then the  conflict will not resurface. In this technique neither one wins nor loses.

Confrontation:

It is also known as problem solving. Here the members try to find the root cause of the issue and try to  eliminate the cause. As a result of which the solution becomes permanent. This is a win-win technique.

Withdrawal:

Unlike compromise, here one member gives up and leaves the meeting. He refuses to discuss further. It will never results in a resolution. It is the worst kind of resolution technique. This is a lose-lose technique.

Finally, the project managers who are involved in the resolving conflicts will always be inclined towards the confrontation and never look towards the withdrawal technique.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh Nankivel August 31, 2008 at 1:55 am

Great post! I agree that getting to the root cause of the conflict is going to be the best way to resolve it. A related post I wrote awhile back on Negotiation in Project Management may also interest people looking for more on this topic. I remembered the integrative type of agreement that focuses on generating a win-win resolution in negotiations. It could be said that the confrontation method of dealing with conflict IS negotiation at its best, with an integrative agreement as the objective.

Great post Biswamohan!

Josh Nankivel
pmStudent.com
The Art of Project Management

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Josh Nankivel August 30, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Great post! I agree that getting to the root cause of the conflict is going to be the best way to resolve it. A related post I wrote awhile back on Negotiation in Project Management may also interest people looking for more on this topic. I remembered the integrative type of agreement that focuses on generating a win-win resolution in negotiations. It could be said that the confrontation method of dealing with conflict IS negotiation at its best, with an integrative agreement as the objective.

Great post Biswamohan!

Josh Nankivel
pmStudent.com
The Art of Project Management

Reply

Lyann Lee February 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thank you. It helps me easily understand. Now I conquered.

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