Sep 15, 2020 in Psychology
Conflict Management

Conflict management at an organization has been one of the most important management challenges because it directly influences the performance and productivity of employees. The given report describes a conflict scenario at an organization and offers suggestions to handle it. 

Concepts and Understanding of Conflict and its Impact

There are three types of conflicts highlighted in the described scenario: intrapersonal, interpersonal and intragroup (Furnham, 2013) Firstly, Fatima is experiencing intrapersonal conflict. This conflict develops in Fatima’s own mind and in her thoughts, she thinks that Ahmed is trying to overpower her and is treating her as his subordinate. However, what she thinks might not be true. Since Fatima did not like Ahmed when she interviewed him for the job, she might have developed biases against him and, therefore, she only thinks negatively about him. She has initially considered Ahmed as not competent enough for the job and her emotions and psychological forces are, therefore, responsible for developing the intra personal conflict. 

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Ahmed and Fatima are both going through an interpersonal conflict. Upon asking both Ahmed and Fatima, it was figured out that both thought that the other person was initiating the conflict. At one point, Ahmed was assuming that Fatima was not responsibly managing the project and never taking initiatives to call the meeting and, at the other point, Fatima was complaining for being underestimated at her workplace. Finally, since both Fatima and Ahmed are working in one team, their conflict is intragroup as well. This type of conflict mainly occurs due to the misunderstandings between the team members and the lack of communication regarding the roles and responsibilities and mutual task sharing. 

As a result of the conflicts between Ahmed and Fatima, the productivity of the organization is clearly under the influence. Instead of focusing on work, both team leaders are wasting their time and efforts on resolving their conflicts. Therefore, it is essential to manage the conflict in an efficient manner. Conflict, if resolved in the right way, leads to respect for each other’s views and opinions, and improves future communication between the two opposing parties.

Discussion and Suggestions

Effectively managing the conflicts in the organization is very important to prevent the failed communication: if conflicts grow beyond a certain level, they can be harmful for inter-professional collaboration (Haumschild et al, 2015). As it is seen in the above situation, the conflict between Fatima and Ahmed would result in decreasing the productivity of the organization because the conflicting parties would be diverted from the main goal which they have to achieve. In addition, the conflict may lead to mental health concerns, since both of the opposing parties would always be mentally occupied with the issue and, therefore, they will not be able to perform effectively in the organization. 

Despite the negative effects of the conflicts, sometimes these can also lead to creativity and innovation (Chen et al, 2012). The conflict between the team members can give rise to the development of new ideas. Fatima reports the appearing issues due to Ahmed, taking the lead in calling meetings and assigning the roles and responsibilities to the team members, including her, while Ahmed blames Fatima that she is not interested to take the lead. I would first try to explain to both Ahmed and Fatima the importance of collaboration and positive communication between the team leaders. I would try to convince them that they have been wasting their time and efforts in thinking about and resolving the conflict instead of collaboratively working on the assigned project. I would not blame one leader to be responsible for the conflicts, but I would explain that both individuals were equally responsible. When the leadership was assigned to both Ahmed and Fatima, it was the responsibility of both of them to schedule the meetings and plan the roles and responsibilities of the other team members with mutual consent. It was clearly the lack of communication between the two leaders, which has resulted in the conflict situation. 

As a second measure to use the conflict between the team leaders positively, I would suggest that both the team leaders should work hard on the different areas of the project. For example, if Ahmed is more interested in managing the human resources, Fatima could look after the operational processes of the project. At the same time, I would explain Ahmed that Fatima has also been assigned to work as the team leader and, therefore, she is not answerable to Ahmed and he should not try to assign various responsibilities to her. Both should be provided with their own set of responsibilities and then they should provide the separate or combined reports to the general manager. However, I would again insist that both team leaders maintain healthy workplace communication because their project parts have to be combined at the end and they would be responsible for any delays or any other flaws.

The paper described a conflict situation between Ahmed and Fatima, where the three types of conflicts - intrapersonal, interpersonal and intragroup were involved. The conflict between the two team leaders has been resulting in lowering the organizational productivity as much of the team leaders’ energy has been used up while resolving the conflict. There is firstly the need of a mediator to explain the shared roles and responsibilities of both team members to resolve the conflict. The conflict situation can also be used for actually improving the productivity of the team. Instead of involving both the team leaders in the same part of the project (which has been raising conflicts in them), they should be assigned the responsibilities to manage different aspects of the project. Taking this step would allow both Ahmed and Fatima to focus on their individual responsibilities and, at the end, their efforts would be combined as a team. 

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