Conflict and Conflict Resolution


Mr. M. Baskaran1, Dr. Usha Sekar2, Dr. N. Kokilavani3

1Assistant Professor, Mental Health (Psychiatric) Nursing Specialty, PSG College of Nursing, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

2Associate Professor, Melmaruvathur Adhiparasakthi Institute of  Medical Sciences and Research, and College of  Nursing,  Melmaruvathur, Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu

3Principal, Adhiparasakthi College of Nursing, Melmaruvathur – 603319, Kancheepuram District

*Corresponding Author’s Email:



The concept of conflict, being an outcome of behaviors,  is an integral part of human life. Where ever there is interaction, there is conflict. Conflict can be considered as an expression of hostility (unfriendliness or opposition), negative attitudes, antagonism, aggression, rivalry and misunderstanding.



A disagreement between people that may be the result of different:

– Ideas

– Priorities

– Preferences

– Beliefs

– Values

– Goals

– Organizational structures 1



According to Joe Kelly, “Conflict is defined as opposition or dispute between persons, groups or ideas”.


Nature of Conflict:

•        Conflict occurs when individuals are not able to choose among the available alternative courses of action.

•        Conflict is a dynamic process as it indicates a series of events.


Conflict must be perceived by the parties to it. If no one is aware of a conflict, then it is generally agree that no conflict exists.2


Effects of conflict:

Functional Conflict (Positive):

Conflict that supports the goals of the group and improves its performance.

•        Stimulant for change

•        Creativity and Innovation

•        Group Cohesion

•        Avoidance of Tension

•        Identification of Weakness

•        Challenge


Dysfunctional Conflict (Negative):

Conflict that hinders group performance

•        Resignation of Personnel

•        Tensions

•        Dissatisfaction

•        Creation of Distrust

•        Goal Displacement

•        Weakening of Organization


Types of conflict:

•        Functional – support the goals of the group and improves its performance.

•        Dysfunctional – conflict that hinders group performance.

•        The functional conflicts can be differentiated from the dysfunctional conflicts on the basis of the following three attributes:


1.      Task Conflict: Related to content and goals of the work.

2.      Relationship Conflict: Focuses on interpersonal relationships.

3.      Process Conflict: Process conflict relates to how the work gets done.



Level of conflict Types of conflict 3

Organization       Within and between organization

Group                   Within and between group

Individual            Within and between individual


Organizational Conflict:

Intra Organizational Conflict:

The conflict which arises with in various levels and departments of organization. Various kinds are:

1.      Horizontal Conflict

2.      Vertical Conflict

3.      Line and Staff Conflict


Inter Organizational Conflict:

Inter organizational interaction results in conflict among different organizations. However, it is not necessary that such interaction may result in conflict.


Group Conflict

Intergroup conflict:

•         Conflict among members of a group

•         Early stages of group development

•         Ways of doing tasks or reaching group’s goals


Intergroup conflict:

•         Between two or more groups


Individual Conflict:

Intrapersonal conflict:

•        Occurs within an individual

•        Threat to a person’s values

•        Feeding of unfair treatment

•        Multiple and contradictory sources of socialization


Interpersonal conflict:

•         Between two or more people a differences in views about what should be done

•         Differences in orientation to work and time in different parts of an organization


Reducing Conflict:

•        Overview:

–       Lose-lose methods:  parties to the conflict episode do not get what they want

–       Win-lose methods:  one party a clear winner; other party a clear loser

–       Win-win methods:  each party to the conflict episode gets what he or she wants


•        Lose-lose methods:

–       Avoidance

•        Withdraw, stay away

•        Does not permanently reduce conflict

–       Compromise

•        Bargain, negotiate

•        Each loses something valued

–       Smoothing:  find similarities


•        Win-lose methods:

–       Dominance

•        Overwhelm other party

•        Overwhelms an avoidance orientation

–       Authoritative command: decision by person in authority

–       Majority rule:  voting


•        Win-win methods:

–       Problem solving:  find root causes

–       Integration:  meet interests and desires of all parties

–       Super ordinate goal:  desired by all but not reachable alone


Tips for Managing Workplace Conflict

•        Build good relationships before conflict occurs

•        Do not let small problems escalate; deal with them as they arise

•        Respect differences

•        Listen to others’ perspectives on the conflict situation

•        Acknowledge feelings before focussing on facts

•        Focus on solving problems, not changing people

•        If you can’t resolve the problem, turn to someone who can help

•        Remember to adapt your style to the situation and persons involved



Lose-lose methods:  compromise

Win-lose methods:  dominance

Win-win methods:  problem solving



1.       Picker B. American Bar Association. Section of dispute resolution mediation practice guide: a handbook for resolving business disputes. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, 2003

2.       Singh BD. Nature of Conflict. Managing Conflict and Negotiation. Excel Books. New Delhi. 2008. First edition: pp 24-25.

3.       Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2006. Conflict in Organizations. Organizational Behavior, 9th Edition, New Delhi. pp 338-341



Received on 27.07.2015           Modified on 24.08.2015

Accepted on 01.09.2015           © A&V Publication all right reserved

Int. J. Adv. Nur. Management 3(4): Oct. - Dec. 2015; Page 377-378

DOI: 10.5958/2454-2652.2015.00038.4