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Relational Conflict in Business Case Study

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Updated: Apr 11th, 2022

Conflict history

Human society has been characterized by conflict since time immemorial. Therefore, it can be noted that conflicts have been part and parcel of the human society. Conflict can be defined as the state of incompatibility between individuals or groups. Conflict may also be defined as a disagreement that may arise between individuals in a certain group.

Conflicts are inevitable in any human society. In this regard, people will be always be differing on the modernity of interests and likes. Thus, people tend to disagree, and they end up quarrelling or even fighting. Conflicts in groups may prevent both an opportunity and a challenge to a group. An opportunity is meant to help the group members relate well and perform their duties without delays.

A challenge will emerge when people in a group become incompatible and do not see eye to eye. Thus, their relationship with each other goes from bad to worse. Chances of violence resulting from such conflicts are very high as each of the individuals does not want to be close to the other person.

People in such a group may end up hating each other, and they hate any chance of ever coming into contact with the other person (Canary, Cupach & Messman, 1997). As much as conflicts are inevitable in groups, one ought to learn how to manage conflicts that may arise out of any positive or negative competition.

As a leader, one should realize that people will always differ on the issues. Thus, it is important to encourage people to relate well within their own groups.

Conflict context

In any group, people interact with various personal attributes that are meant to encourage and help in creating peaceful coexistence. The character of an individual is unique and is determined by many factors. This may include the family upbringing and the geographic boundary.

Conflicts among people who belong to a certain group may be interactive when their relationship with each other is well set, and there is no violence or name calling after a disagreement. Problem solving among a group of people should be emphasized as it helps people to interact in a positive manner.

Conflict may be internal or external. Internal conflicts occur when one has a personal disagreement. Essentially, this occurs in the mind of an individual. External conflict occurs when at least two people disagree on some issue. The difference of people’s interest may result in conflicts or disparities. Some disparities between two people may involve their friends to take sides (Nicotera, 1995).

The bakery breakup case provides an insight on how people with failure to encourage group cohesiveness and problem solving tactics can lead to the collapse of an interactive group. The case involves a group of seven people who have established a business of running a bakery, which had been in existence for more than two years.

During the business two years, some of the group members started a romantic relationship that has had its fair share of disagreement and uneventful breakup. The breakup has worsened the relationship between the two members where they cannot see eye to eye as they are required to run the business together.

Conflict parties

Conflict parties refer to individuals or groups that are involved in the disagreement. In the bakery breakup case study, the conflict involved the disagreement between Joe and Juanita who are undergoing a bad relationship breakup. The breakup has extended to include the other group members.

The conflict is threatening to break up the relationship between other business employees who have a bad relationship fueled by the chance of Joe and Juanita ending relationship. The conflict between the group members has been worsening due to a bad relationship between Joe and Juanita.

The two have been involved in a romantic relationship while still working as partners in a bakery. The breakup is threatening the business of the bakery since the two members cannot see eye to eye although they are required to work together.


Issues in a conflict may range from differences in interests. Issues may refer to the cause of the conflict. Some issues may be very detailed and thus said to be very substantive or procedural. On the other hand, others are said to be psychological. One party to a conflict may view the other as a conflict. Thus, in order to avoid the perceived threat, they end up disagreeing as a means to protect one’s interests.

When one thinks of conflict, one is made to believe that conflict refers to the struggles that involve an opposing force. However, conflict may be said to be healthy when well utilized in a group.

This can be achieved through proper understanding of each others’ interests. Conflicts provide leaders with an opportunity to cross check the relationship between individuals in a group. Leadership in a group will be influenced by how the leader can solve conflicts in a group (Dreu, 1997).


Dynamics of conflicts can help an intervener in solving a conflict issue of whatever magnitude. This is facilitated by the clear understanding of conflict between individuals. Individuals in a group may compete for the scarce resources and thus end up in disagreement on whom to use the resource.

Group members should be advised on ways of accommodating one another other than competing to instances of resulting in conflicts and fights. Conflicts in organizations should be well monitored in a move to resolve any negative outcome that may result in the organization.

An intervener should be appointed within the organization to help resolve any unhealthy conflicts, which may affect the business. A leader in the organization may act as the intervener where any disagreement in the organization is brought to his or her attention.


Solutions to a conflict refer to the various mechanisms that may be used to improve the state of a disagreement between parties to a conflict. Solutions may vary between groups due to the technicality of the conflict. Thus, group leaders should involve the various parties to a conflict to establish an agreement that will not pose any threat to the group or individual.

Communication forms a major breakthrough when solving conflicts as parties to a conflict are able to meet and interact and express the cause of the disagreement between them. Solutions should be the outcome of any conflict in a move to prevent violence from erupting in the organization (Miller, 2009).

An intervener may be a person close to the two parties to a conflict and should be nonpartisan in a move to give an honest judgment. The parties should be in a position to have a dialogue. Notably, a dialogue will aid in resolving the conflict. As in the bakery case study, the five group members failed to act on their responsibility in helping Joe and Juanita solve their conflicts and work together for the benefit of the business.

Some group members took sides, and Carl ended up punching Joe. The group members did not interrupt and decided to keep quiet. The business lacked a proper chain of command where people would follow given guidelines and rules. The leader was supposed to implement these rules and make sure everyone acted in a good behavior and character.

Conflict regulation potential

Conflict among group members is common, but learning to anticipate conflict may prove vital in helping resolve any conflict that may arise. Conflict may result when employees disagree with management on some issues. Thus, being in a position to anticipate any resistance from employees will help the management on how to resolve the stalemate.

Anticipating conflicts will help in changing the threats to a group to opportunities that will benefit the group at large. For the bakery breakup case, Joe and Juanita are a threat to the existence of the bakery business. In this case, they cannot relate well following their bad break up.

The bakery business suffers the threat of not having a defined management relationship that will offer leadership to the rest of the members. A chain of command needs to be established to help and foster a working relationship with proper sharing of duties.

Relationship dimension between partners is crucial for the success of any business. Decision making process within a group should be characterized by an understanding of the various factors that a problem may pose (Nelson & Quick, 2011).


Communication is defined as the means by which people pass a message from one person to the other. Communication in a group is critical to solving conflicts among group members. Communication helps people to interact through proper dialogue. This helps to close ties between them, and thus they are able to enjoy the diversity between different individual character and reasoning capability (Miller, 2009).

Conflict is known to be an interactive process that involves very little human contact. Thus, communication offers an effective human interaction. People in a group may experience conflict when one party feels let down by the measures and guideline within the group. Interdependence among group members is a common feature that helps to improve the way people interact.

Communication will form the basis on which people will express their disagreement or differences with one another. Therefore, it can create a successful way to solve conflicts (Sells & Yarhouse, 2011). In the Bakery breakup case study, the group refused to help Joe and Juanita to form a conflict resolution that would have seen them continue working together even after the breakup.

The groups resorted to taking sides with the couple instead of forming a formidable counseling for the two and help them improve their relationship. It should be noted that the two individuals were critical to the success of the business.

Communication in the group is crucial in resolving conflicts. Here, people can talk and come up with a conclusion that will form a guiding principle for the group. Therefore, communication can be used as an essential tool in resolving a conflict.


Canary, D.J., Cupach, W.R., & Messman, S.J. (1997). Relationship conflict: Conflict in parent-child, friendship, and romantic relationships. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Dreu, C.K.W. (1997). Using conflict in organizations. London: Sage Publ.

Miller, K. (2009). Organizational communication: Approaches and processes. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Nelson, D.L., & Quick, J.C. (2011). Organizational behavior: Science, the real world, and you. Mason, OH, USA: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Nicotera, A.M. (1995). Conflict and organizations: Communicative processes. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

Sells, J.N., & Yarhouse, M.A. (2011). Counseling couples in conflict: A relational restoration model. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic.

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