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Just like people, organisations have a personality.

ORGANISATIONAL CONFLICT CULTURE

When you examine the behavioural style of an organisation, you reveal its conflict culture. It may be conscious or subconscious, but every organisation has a conflict strategy, generally predicated by top management. It may be deliberately constructed to optimize effectiveness, as can be seen in forward-thinking organisations. ‘Conflict Strategy’ discussions are rare.

Conflict Management is generally reactive and based on a conflict culture and history that forms a strategy by default.

The difference can be found in the behaviour and attitude within the system.

Behaviour:
Is the organisation engaged with its stakeholders?

Attitude:
How adversarial is the organisation in dealing with stakeholders? A highly engaged and non-adversarial organisation would be a collaborative one, but we see conflict cultures ranging between collaborative, coercive, evasive or detached approaches.

ORGANISATIONAL CONFLICT CULTURE

To expose a conflict strategy you could ask the following questions:

• Are conflicts recognized early and resolved before they escalate into major problems?
• Do people disagree without becoming angry?
• Is relevant information shared openly, or withheld in secrecy?
• Do people pretend conflicts don’t exist?
• Do hostile arguments between people happen frequently?
• Does it seem that people hardly notice when conflicts occur?
• Do people pretend everything is ok even though there are openly unresolved problems?
• Are people apathetic – not seeming to care about anything?
• Do people get together to resolve conflict co-operatively?
• Do people know how to resolve conflicts cooperatively?
• Do people avoid dealing with conflict directly by complaining to others?
• Do people engage in gossip and feed the rumour mill?
• Do people get someone else to take care of solving the conflict for them?
• Do people gang up to pressure those with whom they disagree?
• Is personal responsibility taken for resolving conflicts to the mutual satisfaction of all parties?
• Do people work together to find an agreeable solution?
• Do managers make the decision when there is a conflict between employees?
• Do people go directly to the person with whom they are in conflict to resolve matters?
• Do people avoid others with whom they are upset?
• Do people keep score and try to get even?
• Is conflict seen as a competition to be won?
• Do employees often use threats to get their way?
• Do powerful people often win conflicts by dominating others?
• Do managers use threats to get employees to do what they want them to do?
• Do managers dictate solutions when they are in conflict with employees they supervise?
• Do reprimands occur publicly, in front of other people?
• Is there a formal process for effectively resolving conflicts?

 

If necessity is the mother of invention, conflict is its father ~ Kenneth Kaye