Conflicts are common for all people in the workplace and everyday life. To manage them, one has to understand that different types and loci of conflicts exist and each negotiation of conflict has its unique characteristics. Moreover, people overseeing difficult situations have to think about individual differences between persons engaged in conflict. If somebody acts as a third-party negotiator, he or she has to be aware of his/her role and function the process. This essay will define three types and loci of conflict, discuss how individual differences may impact negotiations, and describe the roles of third-party negotiators.
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The conflicts are usually divided into three types. They are “task, process, and relationship” (Korovyakovskaya & Chong, 2016, p. 30). Task conflicts relate to the contents of one’s work such as assignments, resources, and procedures. Process conflicts, on the other hand, are focused on the process of engaging with the aspects of work described above. People involved in this type disagree on how the work is done and how the goals are achieved. Finally, relationship conflicts are rooted in people’s differences, including one’s personality, temper, and ways of handling conflicts.
The first locus of conflict is a dyad. This conflict is called dyadic, and it happens between two people (Harth & Shnabel, 2015). The next locus of conflict is a group; such conflicts are called intragroup because they occur within one team and its members. Finally, the third possible locus is intergroup – happening between two or more different groups of people. Conflicts can change their locus depending on their progress.
In a negotiation, it is vital for the parties to come to a viable conclusion, resolving the conflict and preventing its reoccurrence. Thus, personal differences of the engaged individuals can significantly affect the success of the process. If negotiation is based on a personal conflict, the differences between people are at the base of the problem and have a direct influence on its solution. Furthermore, some cultural differences may not only cause conflicts but also affect the ways people interpret them and approach negotiations (Korovyakovskaya & Chong, 2016). A conclusion can be difficult or impossible to reach in a situation where individual differences are not overcome (Hjerto & Kuvaas, 2017). Such negotiations often require a third-party involvement.
There are multiple possible roles that a third-party negotiator can assume. Firstly, one can operate as a mediator of a conflict. This person, organization, or entity’s main fiction is to find a solution that all involved parties will accept. A mediator offers some possible resolutions and suggests the best way for the parties to behave (Harth & Shnabel, 2015). The next possible role is an arbitrator. This third party does not help the involved sides to come to a resolution themselves but enforces them to agree to a chosen type of agreement.
Such negotiations end in settlement of a conflict, a solution being proposed by a court or an arbitrator. These are the two primary roles of third-party negotiators. Some other functions may include conciliating and consulting – they deal with finding information about the conflict and encouraging communication between parties respectively.
Conflicts can be based on disagreements about tasks, processes, and personal relationships between parties. Dyadic conflicts involve two people, and intragroup ones engage the whole team, while intergroup ones happen between multiple groups. In every type, personal differences can stall the process of negotiation and lead to the engagement of a third-party. Third-party negotiators act as mediators, helping the parties to choose the best solution, or arbitrators, enforcing a resolution determined without the approval of the involved parties.
Harth, N. S., & Shnabel, N. (2015). Third-party intervention in intergroup reconciliation: The role of neutrality and common identity with the other conflict party. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 18(5), 676-695.
Hjerto, K. B., & Kuvaas, B. (2017). Burning hearts in conflict: New perspectives on the intragroup conflict and team effectiveness relationship. International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(1), 50-73.
Korovyakovskaya, I. Y., & Chong, H. (2016). An investigation of the relationships between three types of conflict and perceived group performance in culturally diverse work groups. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 30-46.