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A conflict is a situation in which a divergence exists between the interests, goals, requirements or values of the involved parties (Masters, 2002). Conflict is a recurrent phenomenon in organizations, projects, departments and businesses which makes conflict management systems essential in facilitating and expediting conflict resolution (Pammer, 2003).
Conflict Management Systems generally seek to capture a comprehensive outlook of a situation or issue and are therefore impartial and neutral. Mediation is an optimistic way of adjusting the traditions of employee associations. Mediation’s capability to find solutions and securely run responsibilities needs careful incorporation since it is a versatile procedure that is used at any phase, from casual encounters to settling disputes between organizational departments and administrators.
Conflict in workplaces has large and adverse effects to the organization involved since it can lead to a significant loss of resources such as time and productivity (Costantino, 1996). This makes a conflict management system a necessity in both the public and private sectors. Various organizations have developed strategies and measures of settling disputes as exemplified by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
In order to design an effective conflict management system, data has to be collected on the type of conflict affecting an organization so as to establish the type of conflict to address given that conflict can be between workers, between administrators or between workers and their employers (Masters, 2002).
After establishing the type of conflict, the organization has to commit itself to developing an integrated conflict management system. Prior to the adaptation of an integrated conflict management system, the organization is required to execute five critical stages (Pammer, 2003).
These stages are: assessment and inquiry, planning and start up, system design, implementation and transition. Assessment and inquiry on the will of the stakeholders to change is the first step that should be undertaken (Masters, 2002). Thereafter responsibility should be assigned to administer the development and implementation of the system. Innovations in the conflict management system, designs and processes relevant to the organization should then be identified.
After the appropriate design of the system has been selected, early communication should be developed through implementation of early training to foster candor and demonstrate cohesion to all members of the organization (Pammer, 2003). The system should be calibrated to ensure that it is aligned with the vision, mission and values of the organization. A strategic approach has to be developed for effective communication by employing an interest-based tone consistent with the initiative.
Finally, training should be provided to all persons whose role involves managing conflict or controlling the workplace environment (Costantino, 1996). The final integrated conflict management system is therefore expected to offer a highly specialized conflict resolution service for deadlock cases, delicate cases or other cases that need immediate attention.
To make sure the system is effective, any adjustment of the system should be constantly monitored and inculcated into the daily activities of the organization (Costantino, 1996). This will assist in checking how effective the system is and also facilitate various innovations on conflict resolution (Pammer, 2003).
The members of an institution should be taught the importance of embracing the conflict management system and also should be informed on the impact of mutual coexistence. This will ensure the workers develop a positive attitude towards the conflict management system and mitigate any opposition or rejection of the system by the workforce.
Costantino. C. A., & Merchant. C. S. (1996). Designing conflict management systems. London: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Masters. M. F. & Albright. R. F. (2002). The complete guide to conflict resolution in the workplace. Boston: Amaco Div American Mgmt Assn.
Pammer. W. J. & Killian. J. (2003). Handbook of Conflict Management. New York, NY: CRC Press.