Positive Effects of Conflict
Conflict can be constructive, particularly when it’s managed effectively
Benefits of dealing with conflict
The truth is that conflict, even though commonly perceived in a negative light, can be constructive, particularly when it’s managed effectively. For example, conflict challenges complacency and so it can enhance the performance of individuals, improve the cohesiveness of groups, and facilitate organizational change.
And dealing with conflict effectively can benefit you in several ways:
- it gives you a better understanding of how to achieve your goals — Discussions required to resolve the conflict serve to widen individuals’ perceptions. You gain valuable insight into how you can achieve your own goals while still ensuring that you don’t undermine those of the people you work with.
- it helps to build better relationships with those you work with — If conflict is dealt with appropriately, mutual respect between individuals develops and this makes it easier for them to work together.
- it gives you clearer focus of what is most important — Dealing with conflict forces you to assess your goals in detail and this helps you determine what is most important to you. Also, becoming more focused helps you recognize potential weaknesses and inconsistencies in your views and you may become more challenged to act and think in a different manner.
The positive effect of conflict
Although conflict can be unpleasant at times, it can have positive effects. For example, it may help to release pressures and frustrations, and it can lead to better decision making and problem solving.
Organizational reactions to conflict differ. Some organizations are all for conflict and encourage it, whereas others prefer to avoid and ignore it completely. Although the majority of organizations will agree that too much conflict is not good, a certain amount of conflict is actually necessary to function well. This is because it can have some positive effects:
- it enables processing of emotion — If employees aren’t encouraged to communicate their emotions, and therefore keep them to themselves, the result is frustration and the flare-up of emotions at a later stage. Through healthily expressed conflict, people’s true feelings are exposed and problem situations are prevented from arising.
- it facilitates group development — By encouraging open discussions, whether they be disagreements or simply an exchange of viewpoints, employees who may have been reluctant to disagree at first may be encouraged to participate a bit more.
- it enhances creativity — As soon as employees enter into discussions regarding different ideas and viewpoints, they may have to justify or explain these ideas or viewpoints and how they were formulated and what they are based on. Through these discussions, other points of view are heard and individuals are challenged to rethink their original positions. This creates a synergistic process that facilitates creativity.
For employees to develop and mature in their thinking and approach to others, they need to experience and deal with conflict. Living in diverse societies and working in equally diverse organizations requires a certain level of conflict in order to promote creativity, problem solving, and personal development.
Conflict is an ordinary occurrence in our everyday lives, particularly where different individual personalities, beliefs, and views are concerned. If conflict is dealt with appropriately, it can have numerous benefits for both the organization as well as the individuals involved.
For instance, it can help you understand how to achieve your goals, form good relationships with other people, and identify what is most important to you. Conflict can be beneficial to an organization because it enables processing of emotion, aids group development, and enhances creativity.