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Consequences of Conflict

Conflict has both positive and negative consequences, Positive conflict is known as functional conflict and negative conflict is known as dysfunctional conflict.

Positive Consequences

Conflict has the following positive consequences:

1.    High degree of cohesion:

Inter-group conflict gives rise to commitment and loyalty amongst members of the group. Group members unite together, take advantage of opportunities, overcome threats and take strong actions to resolve their problem. All members of the group work together for a common goal.

2.    Improvement in quality of decision:

When group members face conflict, they think of all possible solutions to the problem, evaluate their decisions and use their creative and innovative abilities to arrive at the best decisions. Inter-group conflicts, thus, improve the quality of decisions and stimulate creativity and innovation.

3.    Emergence of leader:

Everybody does not think alike in conflicting situations. Group members bestow power on those who can positively contribute to the problem situation to take decisions. Increased power gives rise to seeders who act as he group captain. This also reduces rivalry amongst members to become group leaders.

4.    Response to change:

Conflicts challenge the existing state of affairs and promote new ideas and reassessment of current group practices. Conflict signals something wrong with the present system of working and promotes group’s ability to assess the present and desire for a better future. Conflict, thus, increases responsiveness of group to change.

5. Increased Productivity:

It is empirically proved that productivity of conflicting groups is more than those which have close agreement amongst their member. Members with different perceptions and interests produce high-quality solutions to problems that improve productivity of the group.

6. Releases strain:

If group members do not agree with pre-defined values and norms, conflicts give them a ground for voicing their reservations. This releases strain that world otherwise remain suppressed in their minds.

Negative Consequences

The negative consequences of conflict are also known as its dysfunction. These are:

1.    Discontentment:

Conflict breeds antagonism and discontentment. This results in loss of power to think creatively and reduces group effectiveness.

2.    Communication breakdowns:

When individuals or groups develop conflicting ideas, they avoid interacting with teach other. This reduces communication amongst them leading to inter-group rivalry and loss of productive ideas.

3.    Distorted perceptions:

      Groups hold strong perceptions about their activities and disregarded those of the other group. They highlight their strong points and competitors’ weak points. This leads to deviation from organization goals.

4.    Competitive struggle:

Conflict leads to competition. Rather than arriving at consensus of opinion, agreement or settlement, competitive struggle declines group’s ability to think and act positively.

5.    Subordination of group goals to individual goals:

 Members promote their personal goals rather than group goals. They think of ways to promote their personal interests rather than organizational interests. This reduces  organizational efficiency. People also divert their energy from constructive to destructive thinking. They think of how to win over conflicting situations rather than pursuing organist goal. Short-term personal problems of individual, thus, supersede long-term interests of the organization.

6.    Mental strain:

Conflict creates stress and strain amongst member. This affects organizational output.

7.    Threat to group’s survival :

In extreme situation, members can stop working. This stops group’s functioning and threatens its survival.

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