Functional and Dysfunctional Conflict
Conflict is an existing or perceived disharmony between different
persons or groups in the workplace resulting from incompatibility of
ideas and interests between the involved parties. Some of these
conflicts include functional and dysfunctional conflict (Thompson &
Functional conflict is a type of conflict that supports a firm’s
objectives, promotes human resource development, and improves
performance. Examples of functional conflict in an organization include
differences arising from different interpretation of organization goals,
clashes arising from character incompatibility and communication
perspicacity and indistinctness (Thompson & McHugh, 2002). Recently
email has become the main mode of communication within organizations.
Conflict has emanated from use of email where some members of the
workforce fail to make available ample information leading to
misinterpretations, for example, some staff in a certain organization
were using capital letters in emails without knowing it was unpleasant
to others. To solve this conflict, a group made of members from various
departments was constituted to streamline policies on the use of email.
This eliminated conflict and led to improved performance.
Dysfunctional conflicts are conflicts that hinder teamwork leading to
member dissatisfaction, distrust, distractions as well as increased
tension leading to reduced worker performance (Thompson & McHugh, 2002).
Some of the dysfunctional conflicts in organizations include
opportunistic behaviors such as withholding and altering messages to
disadvantage fellow group member and sabotage. They are detrimental to
workers motivation hence low worker performance leading to poor overall
Dysfunctional conflicts are caused by incompatibility of workers
personalities, conflicting and poorly defined workers roles leading to
conflicting workers, organizations failure to resolve past and existing
conflicts, irrational working policies and deadlines which put
unnecessary pressure on workers hence de-motivating them and poor
information channels and frequencies leading to wrong or delayed relay
of information. All these affect group productivity and organization
performance (Thompson & McHugh, 2002).
Thompson, P. & McHugh, D. (2002). Work Organisations . Palgrave: New
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