|Conflicting parties in a tug of war|
In any group of human beings, you will find either cooperation or conflict. Cooperation is a positive state of affairs where people work together for a common purpose or to achieve a common objective.
Conflict is the opposite although there are exceptions where it may have a positive effect. It is a state of affairs where people antagonize each other and seek to undermine the other party while gaining an advantage over the opposition.
Now, if we agree that a business is a legal entity which harnesses human and material resources in order to maximize returns on investment for its owners or shareholders, it becomes obvious that conflict is a state of affairs that should be avoided altogether.
However, the truth is that conflict will happen at certain points in time in the life of a company, what is important is its management. If properly managed, conflict when it occurs can be used as a platform for positive change. How is this possible you may ask?
Look at it from this perspective; conflict occurs in an organization when its internal processes, systems and dynamics have failed in one way or the other. Hence, conflict is the symptom rather than the illness.
By applying proper conflict management and resolution techniques such as identifying its cause and effect as well as improving channels of communication within the organization, a company can come out of a major internal conflict better structured and prepared to meet the challenges of its competitors in the future by improving its operational efficiency and effectiveness.