In this lesson, you will learn about relationship conflict in organizations and strategies for its resolution. You will also have an opportunity to take a short quiz after the lesson to reinforce your knowledge.
Definition of Relationship Conflict
Relationship conflict is a conflict resulting from either personality clashes or negative emotional interactions between two or more people. For example, you may have a conflict with your cube mate because you keep a very tidy workspace and his is always messy.
This irritates you and causes tension in the cubicle.
Let’s take a quick step back for a moment and look at the general idea of conflict so that you can better understand relationship conflict and strategies to resolve it. Two scholars by the name of Barki and Hartwick tested a conflict model comprised of a behavioral component, a cognitive component, and an affect component, or psychological feelings. The behavioral component involves one person interfering with another person’s objective. The cognitive component reflects the disagreement between the two people due to a discrepancy between their interests, needs, and goals. Finally, the affect component is the negative emotions generated from the conflict.
The conflict resolution strategies outlined by M.
Afzalur Rahim have been given a significant degree of attention so we’ll use his model. He places five different styles of conflict resolution onto a continuum where concern for others is at one end and concern for self is at the other end. With this continuum in mind, let’s take a look at Rahim’s five styles of conflict management.
- Avoiding: This approach to conflict management shows a low concern with self and others. Individuals demonstrating an avoiding approach will refuse to acknowledge the existence of conflict or refuse to commit to resolve it.
- Obliging: This style displays a low concern for self and a high concern for others.
Basically, you sacrifice your concerns and interests to accommodate the concerns and interest of others.
- Dominating: A person demonstrating this style will have a low concern for others and a high concern for self. You would be very competitive and attempt to assert control and force others into following your position.
- Integrating: This style demonstrates a high concern for self and others. You attempt to reach a solution that will maximize the interests of all parties to the conflict. The emphasis is on problem-solving.
- Compromising: This approach displays a moderate concern for self and others.
If this approach to resolution is successful, both parties will end up giving up some of their interests to resolve the conflict.
Relationship conflict is a type of conflict between individuals based upon a clash of personalities or negative emotional interaction between two or more people. Three components of conflict include behavioral, cognitive, and affective. You can generally analyze various conflict management styles in the context of a person’s concern for self versus their concern for others. Scholars have outlined five conflict management styles, including avoiding, obliging, dominating, integrating, and compromising.