Workplace conflict is found to occur between co-workers, between employees and supervisors, between departments and units, between the employees of any project or organization and its clients or customers; and the like. Experiences suggest that workplace conflict is inevitable and it impact significantly on the healthy growth and development of any project and organization.

Conflict management styles

Experts and Development Practitioners have indicated 5 major styles of conflict management as follows:

  1. Forcing- The styles of conflict management may take affect if it is necessary to take quick and important action; if own view is considered to be right; or other’s views are not competent; others are not cooperative; and if one is competent to exercise adequate authority and power.
  2. Confronting-The style  may be applied if the problem is complex in nature; the interests of both parties are important; the issues having multiple problems; the issues need in-depth analysis to understand views affecting participating parties; adequate resources in terms of money and time are available.
  3. Avoiding-This style may be of useful if the problem appears to be of a  temporary nature;  if there is no possibility to come to a desired solution; if a waiting period is foreseen to die down the conflict-believing that “Time is the best healer”.
  4. Compromising-This style of conflict management may be practiced if the issue is important but not that much fatal; participating parties are independent and equally powerful; to opt for an adhoc measure to allow in-depth analysis of problems in course of time.
  5. Indulging-This type of conflict management style may be useful-if the subject of conflict appears to be more important to those who are responsible for originating the specific conflict; the contesting with the conflict is likely to produce more harm to the project or organization; this will help to keep up the cooperation better.

Some important steps have been experienced to handle the Conflict situation. This include (a) taking quick action;(b) proper scheduling a meeting; (c) listening the issues actively ;(d) communicating with parties involved honestly; (e) focusing on the specific problem; (f)  analyzing problems; (g) identifying solutions and recommendations; (h) implementing the recommendations; (i) follow-up and monitor the status of implementation of actions formulated.

It is recommended that a Capacity Building training relating to knowledge and understanding of the nature of workplace conflict vis-à-vis the various styles for the management of workplace conflict will be of much useful for different levels of employees in a project or organization. It is also indicated that improving the interpersonal skills of employees in a workplace would contribute significantly to the conflict resolution in any project or organization.