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Conflict Management

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1. What is conflict? In what ways are managers involved with conflict?

The book “Working Through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations,” written by Joseph P. Folger, Marshall Scott Poole, and Randall K. Stutman, provides a definition of conflict. The text stats that “conflict is the interaction of interdependent people who perceive incompatibility and the possibility of interference from others as a result of this incompatibility” (Folger, Poole, Stutman, 1997, page 4). According to Folger, Poole, and Stutman, the idea that conflict is a type of human interaction is very important. Conflict is a result of the words and behaviors of the parties involved (Folger, Poole, Stutman, 1997). Communication is a key reason for why conflict evolves. The lack of communication, or the failure to understand the other party simply furthers the discord between those involved in the conflict. However, when there is a difference in the underlying interests between two parties, then a conflict may be more likely to arise.
Managers are involved with conflict often. Generally, as a manager, those who report to them will come to them with their problems. In this sense, the manager is involved with conflict on an everyday basis, resolving issues between their employees. Here, the manager is likely to become a third party mediator for the conflict. As an unbiased third party, the employees will likely go to the manager in order to help resolve a dispute. In addition, managers are probably involved in conflicts that do not occur on a day-to-day basis. Some of these may be situations with vendors, situations with customers, or even situations with those who oversee the managers (CEO, owner of the company, etc.).

2. What is the difference between functional conflict and dysfunctional conflict?

Functional conflict is a conflict that is...

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