Business Conflict Analysis and Management

Business Conflict Analysis and Management

Introduction :The company represents a structure composed of several human actors who are in constant interaction. As with any social structure, the proper functioning of this organization depends heavily on social relations and interactions among its members.

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But it is inevitable, of course, that in some cases, these social bonds experience tensions that can lead to conflicts within the company. So to avoid any dysfunction that these events can cause, it is necessary for any good manager to analyze, anticipate and especially prevent business conflicts.

PART 1 : Business conflicts

Definition :In Etymology, the word conflict comes from the Latin word “conflictus” which means shock, struggle and combat.
In Sociology, one can define a conflict as much as a clash between several antagonistic social groups, the object of any conflict being to modify the balance of forces existing between the parties. Conflicts are “normal” in the sociological sense of the term, meaning that all life in society inevitably leads to conflict.

And in an organization the word conflict generally applies to a blockage of normal decision-making mechanisms so that an individual or group has difficulty in making the choice of an action.

Sources :In order to be able to carry out a more efficient and effective analysis of the level of conflict resolution in companies, it is imperative to return to the sources of these conflicts, these dysfunctions appear at two main levels2.1- Organizatioal level:Delegation of work system: a bad distribution, definition and / or interdependence of the tasks granted.
Hierarchical system: problem of coordination of the functions and a lack of effective relation with the hierarchy

Communication system: limited and / or inadequate use of the means of communication.
Resource management system: poor attribution and / or scarcity of resources available to teams. (Spaces, equipment, training etc.)

Compensation system: example (Conflicts can arise from the fact that companies make substantial profits without distributing a share to their staff.).

2.2- Psychological level:These dysfunctions can be manifested at a rather individual level resulting from counterproductive behavior such as: violence, anxiety, depression, aggression, frustration etc. they are relative to the personality of the employees.

Types: Conflicts can be described in many ways according to the actors involved (their number, their age, their hierarchical position …), the subject of the conflict (advantage, power …), the evolution of the conflict (declared, latent, repressed) …The misunderstanding: it represents misunderstanding something, especially the meaning of a word, of a word: To stop a misunderstanding.

Disagreement between people, born of a divergence of interpretation, in particular of a sentimental disagreement

The conflict of authority a conflict between two persons belonging to the same hierarchical rank following the extension of the rights of one of them on the rights of the other which diminishes accordingly.The conflict of competition or rivalry that is visible at the level of the teams supervised on projects or in the trades where the competitiveness and the research of the result are necessary such as: the firms of lawyers or accountants.

The generation conflict characterized by the confrontation between those who have some experience and young people more oriented towards change.
the conflict of opinion or ideology generally results from shock of the ideas it touches the morality, the religion or the political orientation.
Results :

4.1- The positive or productive aspect:

When the conflict is resolved, the situation is clarified, so the work team, welcome to have gone beyond difficulties. Everyone is delighted to have gone beyond resentment and measured the productive aspects.

Valorization of the self-image: The participation of everyone in the reflection is recognized, appreciated. Everyone recognizes in the other and in himself this competence to resolve a conflict.
Better cohesion of the group: The bonds between the people of the group are reinforced and the cohesion of the group is more important.

Emphasizing individual responsibility: The feeling of importance exists at the individual level within the group. The consequence is that everyone feels more responsible in the group. Each member of the group was able to see that his action had an effect, and that the share of responsibility was real.

Awareness of an individual creative ability: Finding a way out of conflict requires imagination. Everyone feels more self-confidence and the mood changes in the group.
Good collective energy: The group finds a good energy. This stimulation has effects on the well being and efficiency of each.

Finding ways to resolve a conflict can not only lead to innovation and change, but also make change more acceptable.

4.2- The negative or destructive aspect :Conflict in a company can lead to difficult situations for each employee

  • – The waste of time : Time is wasted in time spent in redundant, ineffective discussions. The loss of time is also related to the repetition of complaints about the conflict situation without going towards a resolution of the conflict.
  • – Expenditure of intellectual, emotional and physical energy: The investment required in this period of trouble is important. Everyone feels constantly preoccupied with negative and unhelpful feelings.

Everyone then feels that they have to make a lot of effort to move forward and out of this difficult climate. – Breaks in communication, breaks in relationships.

The fact of having to continue to work together entails the choice of a break in communication and not a break in the working relationship. It will still cross in the company. The exchange of necessary information is organized by other means, through intermediaries.

The breakdown of communication itself generates emotions such as anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration …A conflict can also have serious negative consequences for the organization and divert some efforts away from their goal. At a time when efforts should be made to converge the organization’s resources towards the goals set, a conflict can lead to a waste of these same resources, especially in time and money.

Conflict can also negatively affect the psychological well-being of employees. If it is serious, conflicting thoughts, ideas, and beliefs can lead to resentment, tension, and anxiety. It can also destroy collaboration and team spirit.

PART 2 : Management of conflicts

Tools :There are several ways to consider that a conflict can be resolved. Three ways stand out and, with different nuances, include constraint (in which individuals argue and argue, using persuasion), submission or flight. A priori, a conflict resolution can eliminate a conflict. Mitigation of a conflict is not its resolution. Resolution involves finding a solution.

Mediation:Through this method the parties to the dispute appeal to a third party to try to solve their problem, this implies that both parties must show good will to find a solution and accept all the intervention of a mediator, the role of the latter is to make them aware of their common interests. It must be ensured that conflicting parties know that they have control over the decision-making process.

2.2- Negotiation :Negotiation is a process whereby two or more people try to mitigate or eliminate a conflict between them. The goal is to reach a compromise through communication, persuasion, and mutual concession. Participants should be prepared to give up some of their power, to arrive at an acceptable solution. In other words, negotiation is the taking over of the conflict, it is a solution to reconcile opposing points of view.

2.3- Arbitration:Arbitration is a dispute resolution procedure. It may be exercised by a person, an institution, a power, appointed by the parties to settle their dispute. It is usually based on an examination of the facts and rights of the parties involved. It is a formal process. It is often exercised by three arbitrators, two are appointed by each of the parties, and these appoint the third.

The arbitrators summon the parties and invite them to present their arguments, with the obligation to transmit their documents to the opponent. The referees must justify their decision, explaining the reasons for their decision. The award must be accepted by the parties, who are generally in good faith. If one of the parties refuses to execute this sentence, only the court of first instance may have it executed.

Prevention :
To lecture or to morale is not usually effective. This implicitly involves a moral judgment (a value judgment) that risks hurting the ego of a potential ally. Preventing conflict therefore consists of training people in awareness-raising approaches to different modes of human functioning.

The methods can vary between philosophical, psychological, religious, relational and legal. The main purpose of these approaches is to provide participants with a common cultural framework.

This is the case for training in entrepreneurship in organizations, personal development, etc.

The most common approaches to conflict resolution are to equip each person with behavioral skills of self-control and understanding of others.

2.1- Training :Preventing conflict involves training people in awareness-raising approaches to different modes of human functioning. The methods are very varied. Thus, the company must organize trainings to improve entrepreneurship and personal development.

2.2- Anticipation and early resolution :We must be attentive to any change in attitude or behavior of a collaborator, he must always practice active listening and encourage group discussions during breaks, for example, to give the opportunity to collaborate to externalize the eventual misunderstandings and small tensions.

2.3- Reduce the gaps :Management errors can easily sow the seeds of contention and therefore are not a source of motivation for the company team.
By defining the rules, avoiding errors, we avoid the uncertainties, the questions and therefore the doubts that can be at the root of the tensions.


Despite their negative influence on businesses, conflicts are essential to the stability of a system. The birth and resolution of a conflict can have a positive effect. They can often push managers to find a constructive solution to a problem and improve the working methods. The lessons to be learned are as follows:

  •  If conflicts remain within acceptable limits and are well managed, the organization will benefit from improved productivity.
  • Well-resolved conflicts allow the team to improve their work organization in a context where there are only winners.
  • It is up to the team leader to take the necessary steps to find adequate solutions to any conflict, whether large or small.

    Therefore, conflicts must be considered as real opportunities for development and adaptation and not as inevitable.

References :


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