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Concepts and Understanding of Conflict and its Impact

Discuss about the Impact of Inter-Group and Intra-Group Conflicts.

A project manager is often faced with various disagreements and misconceptions. This is due to the differences in opinions by the team members within the department. These conflicts are always either beneficial or of negative impact to the organizational operations. An honest disagreement always leads to productive conflicts which eventually result in to effective decision making. This paper gives a detailed illustration of the different sources of conflicts within working spaces. How these conflicts impact on the overall function of a department or an organization. The way such conflicts can be managed. The various conflict management approaches that can be used to solve conflicts. The paper goes further to provide a conceptual coverage of the various approaches towards conflicts resolution. Using a case study, the paper has also illustrated on the exact mechanisms which can be employed to choose and approach over the other with regards to situational suitability.

Every organization experiences conflicts at one level or another. Conflicts model organizational creativity and idea exchange. Where different departments are working together, there is a high likelihood to there being a difference in opinions and approaches to the processes involved. This causes inter group conflicts (Jehn & Bendersky, 2013). The different groups may have a feeling that their approach is best suited for a process. The positive conflicts bring about many mechanisms that assist in management processes (Farh, Lee & Farh, 2010). In some cases, conflicts can be counterproductive. They may lead to dissatisfaction among the employees. Service levels may reduce and even cases of reduction in the productive levels among the employees. Conflicts need to be identified in working spaces. Upon identification, they need to be properly managed. This role majorly lies with the managers and team leaders. As a result, better solutions to problems can be achieved instead of a single solution that has been known over time. Consequently, conflicts can also lead to the development of dislike and negative feelings among the tea members. This causes a negative source of energy in the process.

As a project manager at Emaar properties, there are different sources of conflicts. These are within the teams and how they interact with other departments (Withers & Wisinski, 2007). The impacts caused as a result of such conflicts include: -

Social and cultural change. Through conflicts, individuals and groups make changes that are in line with the current organizational realities and interests. The parties concerned are able to channel both the inter group dynamics and the interpersonal qualities in the right manner. As a result, project management is made easy and effective. Fresh ideas and concepts are discovered and developed.

Conceptual Coverage Towards Conflict Management

Eliminates premature decision making. Conflicts enables the concerned parties to carry out deep research on a concept or idea before a final decision is reached. The participants are tasked to explore more (Saunders and Thornhil, 2011). This ensures that the most effective concept is considered as a result. I have been able to achieve very impressive results during such engagements.

Allows concern reconciliations. In the number of times we have had conflicts, we have always been able to get to a decision that is satisfactory to all the parties involved. Conflicts lead to achievement of solutions that are of beneficial value (Rispens, 2009). This strengthens the organizational internal relationship. The conflict that we have had at Emaar properties have always provided an avenue where each party shared on their concerns and fears. In this manner, each party`s view is always considered before reaching a satisfying alternative.

Strengthens unity within the group. Conflicts have led to an increased level of unity among the team players at Emaar properties. The team players see conflicts as an outlet to share ideas, opinions, concepts and strategies. They defend and discuss their opinions against each other’s (Jehn & Mannix, 2010). cooperation among the players is enhanced. An opportunity for listening, commenting and complementing other players’ contributions is created. this leads to improved unity among the team members.

Causes distraction. Conflicts are time consuming. They cause a distraction from the primary process. The concerned people often have a less amount of time for the core goal. As a project manager at Emaar properties, there are a number of times I have failed to meet deadlines for certain projects delivery. These are instances where a decision could not be reached promptly. The team players get completely distracted from their primary purpose and responsibility.

Psychological and physical impacts. Conflicts often caused a derailed psychological and physical effect on the team players we have at Emaar properties. Some individuals do not appreciate the need for conflicts in the decision making process. In such cases, the individuals have the feeling that they are the target of these particular engagements. It leads to withdrawal effects and lack of commitment. In other times it causes severed relationships among the team players.

Decreased communication. Some team players have a tendency of not making contributions on ideas and concepts during conflicts. Interdependence in achieving the project goals is not reciprocated. As such, progress in the projects are derailed for lack of effective communication. These occurrences have a great impact on project goal delivery as they can cause a complete stall in operations.

Evaluation of the Different Styles of Conflict Management Approaches

Hostility among the members. Conflicts often lead to aggravated hostility among the members. This is common where some participants may be assertive or abusive in their engagements. Such cases cause antagonism which may pose as negative energy in the group.

There are a number of conflict management approaches that can be made use of depending on the situation. The approaches tend to be specific on the level of conflict being face (Callanan, & Perri, 2006). Conflict management gets more difficult is highly aggravated levels as compared to those in lower levels. The major basic means of controlling conflicts is to develop trust among the team members. Trust enables them to achieve more positive results as compared to a situation where there is lack of trust. Trust ensures healthy conversations among the team members. As the projec manager, the responsibility of eliminating the negative effects have to be completely eliminated. An environment that ensures a beneficial effect of the conflicts have to be ensured.

The following are the various conflict management approaches that can be deployed where necessary: -

Accommodating approach. This approached is effective where there is an expert or a greatly experienced group. This approach is made use of when a particular group or individual is more experienced or versed with a particular information as compared to the other. The other groups have to give maximum cooperation (Ruiz, 2012). The individual or group with better solutions is given maximum attention. The approach is often at the expense of the other members and groups.

Avoid approach. This approach is made use of where the issue in question may be costly or is trivial. The approach is to take no notice of it. The issue is abandoned. No party invests in coming up with solutions to the present issue. The approach has very detrimental long term effects. Pilling up of avoided issues causes longer decision making processes in the event there are other uprisings in the future. It also leads to development of piled up emotions among the members.

Collaborating approach. In this approach the various groups team up to come up with the best solutions to the issues being addressed. The approach is based on the all win model. All goals are achieved simultaneously. It is very effective for both small tasks and complex scenarios. Every member has equal chances of contributing ideas and modeling the final decision or solution. The approach needs a deep level of trust among the members. It is very time consuming to reach a decision. The approach also takes longer since getting every member on board takes much effort.

Discussion and Suggestion

Competing approach. This is the assertive approach. It is most effective in those scenarios where there is need to make a quick decision. It also works well in those projects which are of emergency in nature. It takes the win or lose model. The cooperation of other parties is not taken in to consideration. Solutions are achieved in a quick manner.

Compromising approach. This approach works best in the instances where a short lived solution is in need. Both parties compromise their wants (Borniger, Ransom, & Treviño, 2011). There is a low level of assertiveness and cooperation among the members. Solutions reached are always of quality importance to the member groups.

In project management, all the approaches are applicable (Easely, 2011). There are numerous processes and activities which need to be approached to achieve the right mix of solutions for effectiveness. In making use of the appropriate channel, both the interpersonal factors and the contextual factors have to be taken in to consideration. It is notable that the most effective approach in this situation has been the collaborative approach. Each group involved in project delivery has its own concepts, views and goals. To achieve the best solution, the contribution of all the groups have to be taken in to consideration. It is through collaboration that each department or group gets an equal chance to contribute and participate in achieving the right decision as a solution.

It is recommended that all factors surrounding a conflict need to be factored in before a choice is made on the approach to be used. The approached selected need to have a strong focus on delivering the best outcomes for the situation.

Conclusion

Conflicts are inevitable. In every working environment there has to be conflicts in ideologies and opinion. These conflicts can either be intra group or inter group. Proper caution has to be taken in every situation to minimize the negative impacts of such conflicts while maximizing on the positive impacts.  It is the responsibility of the departmental heads and the team leaders to regulate such conflicts. The choice of approach to be deployed also entirely falls on the leaders. This paper has well illustrated the channels through which organizational heads and team leaders can make use of to assess and determine the various conflict impacts observed in the working places. It is notable that, as illustrated by the case study on Emaar properties, there is a dire need for managers and leaders to conduct a thorough cost benefit analysis of the type of conflict resolution they choose to employ. Different approaches have different suitability with regards to the target goal to be achieved and other factors surrounding the conflict.

References

Borniger, A., Ransom A., &Treviño, C. L. (2011). “I HATE Working with You!”: Conflict resolution for academic advisors. Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Conflict--Resolution-.aspx.

Callanan, G. & Perri, D. (2006). Teaching conflict management using a scenario-based approach. Journal of Education for Business. 81(3), 131-139.

Easely, C. A. (2011). Developing, valuing, and managing diversity in the new millennium. Organizational Development Journal, 19(4), 38-50.

Farh, J. L., Lee, C., & Farh, C. I. C. (2010). Task conflict and team creativity: A question of how much and when. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 1173–1180.

Jehn, K. A., & Bendersky, C. (2013). Intragroup conflict in organizations: A contingency perspective. Research in Organizational Behavior, 25, 189–244.

Jehn, K. A., & Mannix, E. A. (2010). The dynamic nature of conflict: A longitudinal study of intragroup conflict and group performance. Academy of Management Journal, 44, 238–251.

Rispens, S. (2009). Do fights prohibit helping? The influence of task interdependence and conflict norms on helping behavior during task conflict. International Journal of Conflict Management, 20(2), 158-172.

Ruiz, M. (2012). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.

Saunders, M. and Thornhil, A. (2011). Research Methods for Business Students. 4th Edn., Pearson Education Limited, Prentice Hall, London, ISBN: 0-273-70148-7.

Withers, B. & Wisinski, J. (2007). Resolving Conflicts on the Job, 2nd Edition. AMACON.

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