Sources of Conflict – Introduction to Management (ITM)

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sources of conflictSources of Conflict
Principles of Management (POM)
Third Semester | Second year
BSc.CSIT | Tribhuvan University (TU)

Sources of Conflict
There can be many sources of conflict. One source can cause conflict in one group which may not create conflict in another group.So, there is no universally accepted set of sources of conflict. It depends upon type, nature, size and many other environmental variables. General sources or causes of conflict which are not specific to any level or types are:

  1. Incompatible goals
  2. Different values and beliefs
  3. Scarce resources
  4. Task interdependence
  5. Ambiguous rules
  6. Communication problems

Incompatible goals: Generally, goals of different groups are different. This leads to group conflict. The achievement of one goal often interferes another group’s group goal. For example: Sales department want to raise sales by selling on credit or cash. On the other hand the Credit control department may disapprove credit sale application to control the credit sales.

Different values and beliefs: Individuals/groups have different set of values and belief. Different values and beliefs may lead to conflict. People from one culture will have unique values and beliefs different from another culture. Aged people may advocate that there should be dress-code in organization while young people may opinion against it.

Scarce resources: This is the most common cause of conflict. No organization has unlimited resources available. Resources are always scarce. Limited and scarce resources generate conflict because scarcity motivates people to compete with others who also need those resources to accomplish their objectives.

Task interdependence: Task interdependence refers to the degree of collective action required to work for the completion of given tasks. When task of one group is interdependent with the task of others to share inputs and when inputs are delayed or delivered in an incomplete or unsatisfactory form, serious conflict may arise.

Ambiguous rules: When work rules are incomplete and difficult to understand, a situation of conflict arises. The factors that make the rules ambiguous are lack of complete set of rules, too much complex rules and lack of proper communication of rules.

Communication problems: Conflict in organizations may arise due to incomplete and faulty communication between group members and groups. Too much or too less communication between parties, complex languages or use of jargons etc. distorts message and promote conflict.

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