dear cite hr members,

the concept of conflicts has always been subject to many studies. i am posting a small write-up on conflict management styles please go through it and post your comments

An organization without conflicts is an organization without growth. An organization’s growth depends on how each conflict is seen and how it is managed. In the management of conflicts, the styles of the persons involved in a conflict (either as individuals or as groups, especially group leaders) play a critical role. Some styles may promote a search for solutions whereas others may lead to a deadlock.

Understanding approach and avoidance:

The mode of conflict is primarily determined by the perceptions of the conflicting parties. The avoidance-approach is significant in determining the effectiveness of managerial behaviour. Therefore, let us understand what is avoidance and approach behaviour---

• Avoidance is based on fear and is dysfunctional, while approach is based on hope and is functional for effectiveness.

• Avoidance is characterized by a tendency to deny, rationalise or avoid the problem, to displace anger or aggression, or to use emotional appeals; approach-orientation is characterized by making efforts to find a solution by one’s own efforts or with the help of others.

Eight styles of conflict management are derived from it. they are:

• Resignation

• Withdrawal

• Defusion

• Appeasement

• Confrontation

• Compromise

• Negotiation

The first four styles are avoidance styles, the next four are approach styles.

How to manage conflicts better?

• Make a small unilateral concession together with the clear communication that no further concession will be forthcoming until the adversary concedes. This sometimes starts a sequence of altering concessions.

• Propose an exchange of concessions. This is an obvious approach but often involves considerable risk because it is tantamount to making a unilateral concession.

• Informally signal and show willingness to make a later concession if the adversary makes one now.

• Seek a private, informal conference with the adversary or his representative, in which it may be possible to talk more freely and frankly about compromise than in formal negotiation meetings.

• Propose an exchange of concessions through an intermediary whose statements can be disowned if the adversary is disinterested in the proposal.

• Propose that a mediator be brought in to help find a mutually acceptable exchange of concessions.

Since negotiation is the most functional of all eight styles, below are a few elements that can help in the use of negotiation in managing conflicts:

• The group should be well integrated and must function as an open and strong group. A certain level of maturity is needed to effectively negotiate with one or more groups.

• Unless the group perceives a larger goal, which is common to both groups and cannot be achieved by a single group alone, it will not use negotiation effectively. Therefore a super-ordinate goal is required to negotiate effectively.

• Negotiation is only possible when your group sees the other group as in positive terms—that it is interested in solving the conflict and is reasonable.

• Both groups in a conflict should view each other as mutually helpful rather than mutually destructive.

• Both groups need to realise that they are different composition, norms, structure and goals. Such differences can exist. At the same time, the two groups may have many things in common. Now the two groups can have an understanding and also develop a tolerance for each other.

• Depersonalise decision-making and have relevant facts available.

• Treat perceptions and attitudes as facts.

• Depersonalise the gathering of facts and use third party intervention if possible.

• Solve a generalised problem before tackling a specific case. Third party intervention can be one way to increase objectivity.

• Management of conflicts by negotiation is not a one-shot effort. Though it may achieve the desired solution, it should be regarded as the beginning of a new inter-group relationship. Arrangements to continue such a process may help in strengthening the negotiation mode.

Steps in Negotiation:

• Unfreeze

• Openness

• Empathy

• Search for commonality

• Expectations

• Response to expectations

• Searching for alternatives

• Breaking the deadlock


udai pareek hr labs


From India, Bangalore
Assessment Development Centers, 360 Df, Pms,
It Recuriter

A very good article.Experience teaches us that negotiation can be very tricky even under very congenial circunstances because human mind is not always ready to logically think and accept something which is moving away from the desired goal.In fact,at times ego can be a very compelling factor in negotiation.
Rahul Datta

From India, Kolkata
Hi Avinash,
Thanks for the useful information. Just wanted to check whether you have an instrument, scoring patterns and guidelines for administering the same for these 8 styles. If you have the instrument and I would like to have the same...
Warm regards,


Hi to All Members,

I Have gathered this information from various books and sites. These are my personal notes which I m sharing with u all.... I hope you may liked it. This basically on the concept on Industrial Conflicts

Industrial Conflicts:

The IRs is invariably a combination of cooperation, collaboration and conflict between the labour and the management. However, efforts should be made to seek the maximum degree of cooperation and collaboration between them so that the organizational objectives may be achieved efficiently. However, same degree of conflicts will always remain because of following reasons:

1.Both labour as well as the management has different orientation and perception which generate generally negative images about each other.

2.Both the groups claim complete rationality for their demands because there are no mutually accepted norms to guide their behaviour in the pursuit of their objectives.

3.Both the groups don’t come in the negotiable with a clean slate. They bring with them every old effects from the past which signifies the existence of a conflict between the labour and the management.

Though the Industrial peace and harmony may be sought as an organizational objective some conflict is inherent in the industrial structure. In fact the conflict is endemic to the industrial society. Labour and the management conflicts exist in numerous ways in course of the daily work. The conflict of interest of management and labour is the progeny of the capitalist form of the economic organization but it is not only sharing the fruits of the industry and that is why it generates conflicts. The very fact of existence of the wide cleft of authority between the hands that produce and the hands that control the means of production has become a major source of conflict between management and the labour.

System approach to Industrial Relations:

The basic elements of the system approach are:

1.Participation in the system

•Workers and their organization

•Management and their representatives & Govt.

•These sub-systems interact with each other within the economic, social and political legal framework of the country.


•It includes forces which influence the participants in the IR system. They are:

a)Technological characteristics of the workshop: The use of latest technology, modern technique unit reduces the manual work and workers to require greater control over their works and thus higher production can be achieved

b)Market or economic constraints: Close associates of the demand and need of labour; with competitor in market share of an enterprise becomes uncertain which influences the IR of a unit both in short and long-run.

c)The locus and balance of power

1)Workers organizations, the employers and the government influence the relationship between labour and management

2)Slowly with power on both sides and government involvement becomes more and labour adopts aggrieve attitude and conflicts starts

4.Output: Result of interaction of the parties of the system which is manifested in the network of rules, country’s labour policy and labour agreement. This felicitates fair deal to the workers


IR at the workplace are influenced by :

•Economic forces:

a.Relative status

b.Wide disparity of income between groups, unemployment, inflationary situation or a recession.

All have a serious bearing on the pattern of IRs. If the demand for the higher degree wages and improvement in standard of living are not met with, the conflict must inevitable.

•Social forces:

a.Social groups – caste or govt. family

b.Social values and norms

c.Social (high or low)

Influence IRs, which until give rise to such relationships as House of the “masters and servants”, “have and havenot”, high-ups and “depressed classes” etc.

•Psychological forces:

a.Lack of motivation

b.Lower morale.

c.Alienation (man to man, country to country)

d.Lack of interest and dissatisfaction.

e.Frustration and complaints

•Politieo-legal factors:

a.System of govt.

b.political institutions


Influence their to a great extent viz.,

Democratic setting

Emphasis on cooperation but labour and management through workers participation

Authoritarian setting

Employees have no say in the management affairs

Political party in power influence

Significance of good Industrial Relations

•Harmonious Relations / cordial

•Absence of Industrial Disputes

Following Benefits:

•industrial Peace

a) Total peace can won the peace

b)Higher productivity

c)Industrial democracy

d)It is required even there is a peace Collective Bargaining is required between workers

•Higher Productivity

•Industrial Democracy

•Collective Bargaining

•Fair benefits to workers

•High morale

•Felicitation of change

Factors affecting IRs (Influencing factors)

•Institutional factors ( policies, code of ethics, procedures, code of conduct)






•Enterprise related


•Economic factors on industry

Collective Bargaining & Negotiations

•Collective Bargaining means group bargaining about

a) Wages & salaries

b)conditions of work

•Group includes

a)Trade unions


c)Employer or his Representative


An employers association or Federation on the other side.

•Collective Bargaining also denotes a procedure under which two parties i.e. workers and management reach an agreement about wage rates & basic conditions of work.

•This came into practice due to


b) Large size | Within group is

c) Pressure on time | more convenient

d) Variance on rewards |

e) Negotiations |

This is not the complete note I'll letb u post the more



From India, Lucknow

hi neeraj,
there is definetely an instrument for measuring organizational conflicts. i don't have the soft copy of the instrument, but, there is a book i would like to reccommend. its Training Instruments in HRD and OD by Dr. Udai Pareek. it contains over a hundred instruments that can be used for various purposes right from measuring motivaltion to profiling your organization along OCTAPACE lines. the book also gives sufficient concepts, provides the method of scoring the instruments and also the instruments are flexible enough to be adapted to the organization's needs

From India, Bangalore

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