Workplace Conflict and Successful Team Management

Introduction

A growing literature reveals that sustaining workplace relations among workers of different ethnic backgrounds, social affiliations, and economic statuses is proving challenging for the human resource managers (Johansen, 2012). It is obvious that workplace conflicts tend to affect the working environment and results in unnecessary violence that affects workers psychologically, and consequently result in low productivity.

Michie (2002) holds that relationship conflicts or task related conflicts are detrimental as employees, who engaged in such a working environment tend to experience trauma and emotional disturbances that lead to somatic complaints. About 65 percent of medically tested workers for psychological problems reveal somatic health complaints due to their exposure to conflict-dominated workplaces (Michie, 2002). Such conditions result occurs due to depression and anxiety, which emanate from the conflict-dominated work environments and often alter the working morale of employees.

Little known is that workplace conflicts also have their own significance when it comes to employee management within the human resource realm. Modern researchers have discovered that workplace conflict can sometimes provide a chance for managers to review their leadership techniques and find the appropriate approaches of curbing the prevailing conflicts (West, Hirst, Richter, & Shipton, 2004).

Reviewing and applying various skills of resolving workplace differences is part of management breakthrough to flex their leadership techniques and improve corporate management. The growing notion among human resource managers is that workplace conflict helps the management teams to analyze the underling workplace problems and create effective leadership solutions (MacPhee, Wardrop, & Campbell, 2010). Hence, the intent of this paper is to investigate whether workplace conflict can be in some way healthy in building successful management of teams.

Research Methodology

In the quest to answer the above question regarding the influence of workplace conflict in maintaining successful management of teams, the study identified two research approaches that proved useful in discussing the identified problem. The entire paper adopted the qualitative research approach where facts, opinions, and perceptions of an experienced human resource manager regarding the issue counted. The research used secondary and primary research data to explore the problem of the research. For the secondary research data, the study explored empirical evidence from the prevailing literature using published journals.

Regarding the primary research data, the research employed the interview approach in collecting data from a human resource manager of a renowned company. The research used approximately four main questions that covered the major areas of research interest in its interview schedule.

The research questioned the manager whether workplace conflict can be healthy in successful management of teams. The research questioned the manner in which conflict could possibly instigate low productivity. The study further considered the relevant influence of conflict in the management decisions of managers. More importantly, the research questioned whether workplace conflict influenced the decisions of managers on the leadership styles they utilize. The research presented its results through qualitative analysis and discussion approaches where facts, opinions, and perceptions of the human resource manager become the focus of data analysis.

Results and Findings

The four questions regarding the main issues connected to the influence of workplace conflict in the management of teams produced varying opinions of the human resource manager engaged in the interview. The research questioned the manager whether workplace conflict can be healthy in successful management of teams. On his personal view, the manager indicated that the context of conflicts determines the overall impact of the management.

According to the manager, the form of conflict largely determines the impact of management of teams. The manager claimed that there are two forms of conflicts, namely, affective and substantive conflicts. Affective conflict is a disagreement that occurs when two groups, entities, or individuals possess incomparable feelings when trying to provide a solution to a problem. Substantive conflict is when members tend to disagree on job related issues.

The research questioned the manner in which conflict could possibly instigate low productivity. Based on the responses of the interview schedule, the human resource manager stated that effective conflict negatively affects employee performance and job commitment. Riaz and Junaid (2011) state that, “affective conflict associates with affective reactions and has a positive relation to turnover intentions as it decreases employees’ satisfaction and psychological well-being” (p. 601).

The manager also claimed that substantive disagreement brings about conflict regarding goal orientation, task related conflicts and decision making issues. Regarding the influence of the workplace influence on corporate productivity, the human resource manager indicated that uncontrolled conflict brings about workplace bullying, psychological trauma, and emotional disturbances among workers. Such feelings caused by unhealthy workplaces result in low motivation, segregation, and low output among employees.

Discussion of Results

It is clear that workplace conflict is a constant problem that managers struggle to manage, but sometimes disagreements can be a source of effective management of human capital in an organization (Riaz & Junaid, 2011). Based on the perceptions of the interviewed human resource manager, workplace conflict influences decision-making processes and leadership styles that managers adopt in an organization. As any workplace conflict has a causal agent, the formulation of an effective dispute resolution system as a crisis resolving technique undeniably contributes to informed decision making in a work environment (Michie, 2002).

Workplace conflicts normally bring organization management into viewing corporate issues from a perspective of the impact conflict in the organizational operations. In the process of resolving conflicts, the conflict management of teams comes up with advanced techniques of handling workplace disagreements, and hence, improves decision making process.

In conflict management, the conflict resolution teams engage the employees involved in the conflict directly where space for expressing personal and professional grievances becomes available for the workers (Huan & Yazdanifard, 2012).

Conflict resolution provides human resource managers with the opportunities to scrutinize the workplace conflict, unveil the causative factor, and propose solutions that probably help to streamline management of human capital (Huan & Yazdanifard, 2012). In case of substantive conflict where organizational members tend to disagree upon workplace duties and job description, human resource managers find means of rescheduling work arrangements to meet the desired performance. In affective conflict where decision making members disagree on opinions and perceptions, constant debates result in affirmative decisions (Johansen, 2012). Regarding the workplace influence on leadership style, conflicts are sources of changes in leadership techniques aimed at meeting the demands of a workplace.

Fundamentally, the relationship between workplace violation and its influence on management styles, decisions, and processes exists. According to Johansen (2012), the human capital dynamics are influencing the manner in which managers are tackling human resource issues. Generally, the manager agreed that workplace conflicts may prove healthy in successful management of teams, especially when it comes to matters of decision making in an organization.

The human resource manager stated that organizations are social units where leaders learn from others, whether through constructive or meaningless workplace conflicts. Regarding the influence of workplace conflict in ensuring successful management of teams, the human resource manager explicitly stated that management of workplace conflicts require effective management because they often determine the form of leadership that managers adopt.

Although workplace conflicts may be a source of endless disagreements in a work environment and may often affect productivity, it is also indisputable that conflicts are acting as important facets in management. From the interview undertaken, the experienced human resource manager reveals that different types of conflicts in a workplace have varied impact on the decision-making process and management of people in a workplace.

A critical analysis of the prevailing literature and the findings from the interviewed manager reveal that workplace conflicts can be healthy in successful management of teams. Constructive arguments and disagreements resulting from incompatibilities in opinions, perceptions, and perspectives regarding job satisfaction issues, workplace operations, and key decision areas make managers produce affirmative decisions.

References

Huan, L., & Yazdanifard, R. (2012). The Difference of Conflict Management Styles and Conflict Resolution in Workplace. Business & Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(1), 141-155. Web.

Johansen, M. (2012). Keeping the peace: Conflict management strategies for nurse managers. Nursing Management, 42(2), 50-54. Web.

Macphee, M., Wardrop, A., & Campbell, C. (2010). Transforming work place relationships through shared decision making. Journal of Nursing Management 18(1), 1016-1026. Web.

Michie, S. (2002). Causes and Management of Stress at Work. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(1), 67-72. Web.

Riaz, M., & Junaid, F. (2011). Types, sources, costs, and consequences of workplace conflict. Asian Journal of Management Research, 2(1), 600-611. Web.

West, M., Hirst, G., Richter, A., & Shipton, H. (2004). Twelve steps to heaven: Successfully managing change through developing innovative teams. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 13(2), 269-299. Web.