Conflict can be defined as the disagreement over team goals, motives and policies between team members. It can arise when there are opposing ideas, opinions expressed and behaviours among members of a team(group) or teams.
Conflict is “an overt behaviour that results when an individual or a group of individuals thinks that a perceived need of the individuals or group has been blocked or is about to be blocked.”(Rue and Byars, 2005).
Conflict may be caused by a number of factors, below is the most important ones explained:
Scarce Resources: Conflict arises from allocation of limited organizational resources- money, material, human resource, equipment, funds, etc. When two teams or individuals need the same thing/equipment, the allocation to either of the party may generate conflict if each party feels that its needs are more important.
Goal Incompatibility: When different employees pursue different goals within the same organization, conflict is bound to happen.
Communication Failure: Ineffective communication often causes conflict among people and teams. And this happens when there is a breakdown in communication due to dislikes, distrusts and noise among members.
Overlapping Jurisdiction: Conflict arises when there are no specific job boundaries and responsibilities which often create competition for resources and control.
Unachieved Expectations: Employees get dissatisfied when expectations are not attained or achieved. Conflict is an aftermath or a by-product of unrealised expectations or goals.
Personal Differences: Individual differences in experience, values, attitudes and personality can cause conflict in teamwork if individual members are not able to get along with one another.
Job Interdependence: Conflict may occur when team members, teams or departments wait for the outcome of other members of another team (group) or department in order to perform their duties/responsibilities effectively. This occurs when a party fails to perform his/her task on time.
Generally, the term conflict connotes a negative occurrence or experience, generated by such things as disagreement, opposition, hostility, and anger. But in an organizational setting or teamwork, conflict doesn’t have to be an ugly or negative experience. Since a team involves a number of people working together, conflict is expected especially at the formation stage.
Conflict is made productive when team members are made to understand and believe that they have benefited rather than lost from a conflict if;
A problem is solved, and it is not likely to emerge again, and
Work relationships have been strengthened and people can work together productively in the future.
Oftentimes, people plan to identify goals and ways to achieve them, organising groups of people and material resources into various departments.
People are influenced, coordinated and motivated to work effectively and efficiently.But, sometimes there is a possibility that organizational activities may not run smoothly. This possibility gives rise to the need for control.
Controlling assures that things work according to plan and intended goals are achieved. A formal control process is a system designed to monitor work progress to ensure that the actual performance conforms to predetermined standards. A typical control process is explained below in four major steps:
1. Setting Performance Standards: The setting of performance standards based on organizational goals, strategies, policies, tactics, and schedules. Performance standards are outcomes of effective planning. Standards are budgeted performance that serve as benchmark against which actual performance can be evaluated. Standards must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART).
2. Performance Measurement: Measurement of actual performance refers to an on-going repetitive process of observing and monitoring activities, and measuring the actual performance. The frequency of measurement depends on the operations and policies of the organization. Performance data are usually obtained via three major sources: oral reports, written or statistical reports and personal observation.
3. Comparing of Actual Performance with the Performance Standard: This Step is taken to determine whether actual performance meets the standard. The manager evaluates the actual performance against the budgeted performance to know the level of deviation. A slight deviation is sometimes acceptable because standards are often stated in plus and minus range. To do a proper comparison, managers should adopt the principle of exception which states that control is enhanced by concentrating on the exceptions or significant deviations from the expected result or standard.
4. Taking Corrective Actions: This step deals with the taking of necessary actions to correct significant deviation. It is an urgent step that must be taken when necessary to adjust operation in order to attain predetermined results. The corrective action could involve the adjustment of one or more activities in a specific department. A corrective action could lead to a change in performance standard if the standard is wrongly set or the ever- changing business environment may dictate an upgrade to standard.
One of the basic functions performed by business managers is decision making. Decision making is the core of the planning process because it translates plans, policies and objectives into concrete organizational actions.
The decision making process is a mechanism for managers who want to take logical and rational decision.
The effectiveness of decision outcomes is dependent on the nature and structure of the decision making process. Managers should think of the decision making process as an important aspect of organizational growth. The first step is to:
-Define the problem: A problem occurs when there is variation between actual performance and performance standard.
-Identify appropriate alternatives: After recognizing and defining of problems, the next step is to develop appropriate alternative courses of action to address the situation/problem.
-Evaluate each alternative: The alternative courses developed in anticipation to select the one that best suits the problem. This evaluation is done in light of the available resources and stated goals.
-Choose the best alternative: A business manager selects the most appropriate course that he believes will yield the best outcome regardless of the situation.
-Execute the Plan- Selected alternative must be carefully implemented to meet objectives and avoid a waste of time and resources.
-Alter the plan and look for improvements: This last stage deals with monitoring and measuring of actual results, comparing it with budgeted performance, and making necessary correction if there is deviation.
Managers must always select what is to be done, who is to do it, when, where and even sometimes how it will be done.