Ryan Hopkins 9/14/09 The Effects of Conflict in Business In every realm of society, conflict is present. From time to time, people have disagreements among family members and friends and often co-workers can create problematic issues of arguing and bickering over areas of passionate disagreement. Whether the topic is one of importance that must discussed for the overall good of the company, or even a petty squabble that two co-workers may have because of small annoyances or irrelevant frustrations which just waste time and effort, they all exist in every company, and they must be dealt with.
As to whether conflicts are good or bad in the business place, there is no straight answer to this important question, because it is vital “To sustain their ability to implement strategic decisions, top management teams must maintain positive affective relationships among their members” (Amason), and some disputes and disagreements among a group of people making decisions can be helpful and beneficial to the decision making process, while some disagreements that are on a personal level or dysfunctional relationships in a workplace can often cause an inefficient and problematic workplace that needs to solved in order for the company to move forward; otherwise, the company will either stay where they are at or possible even fall behind, and neither scenarios are desired for companies and businesses. It is considered in the workplace that “Decision quality, consensus and effective Hopkins, 2 acceptance cannot peacefully coexist” (Amason) simply because of our human nature fights and disagreements are bound to happen.
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Although many people will firmly believe that all conflict inside of any business or corporation is bad, and they will have extremely negative effects on the business, but great ideas and powerful motivation can come about through conflict. One great example of a conflict that can be exceptionally beneficial to the well-being of a corporation as far as making decisions are in board meeting type scenarios. The high-powered executives of a corporation have a lot of pull when they make a choice on what to do on a specific situation. In order for a corporation to run most efficiently, it is necessary for discussions and sharing of opinions to take place.
In this area of conflict, it causes the group to take a step back and see all of the choices and options that are in front of them, and from there, choosing the best way to go about improving their business. When this occurs you have task related symmetries within the company, “Symmetrical interdependence and symmetrical patterns of initiation between units promotes collaboration” (Walton) and with this, you can have a highly effective executive board making the best decisions in the interest of the company. On the other hand, companies begin to take a downward turn in their efficiency and profitability due to lack of collaboration, or an increase of conflict and argument in a department.
One form of conflict that can arise is in the area of employing a worker who is dependent. “The adverse of effect of asymmetrical conditions are sometimes related to the fact that one unit has little incentive to Hopkins, 3 coordinate. The more dependent unit may try to increase the incentive of the more independent unit to cooperate by interfering with their task performance. ” (Walton) This problem occurs many times throughout companies all over the world, but there is a way to prevent or control it if it is ongoing currently. “The way to stop it is by having the independent unit realize that the dependent unit is dependent” (Walton) and with this you can help the reliant unit have someone to depend upon.
It is easy to see that the idea of conflict can go both ways; it can either be a helpful and beneficial necessity to the corporation, or it can be a hindrance that must be fixed or can cause the companies some serious issues. The severity of conflict is not one to be taken lightly, because it can cause severe problems, some may even involving crimes and having the company be sued because a conflict wasn’t taken care of properly. The important thing to remember about the aspect of conflict in the workplace is to know when and where it could be helpful, and when it becomes a possible liability. Hopkins, 4 Works Cited Amason, Allen. “Distinguishing the effects of functional and dysfunctional conflict. ” The Academy of Management Journa; (1981): 123. Walton, Richard. “A Model and Review. ” The Management of Interdepartmental Conflict (1969): 2-3.