The Role of Conflict LO9651

Scott Cypher (
Sat, 31 Aug 1996 11:31:21 -0400

Replying to LO9633 --

For me,
this kind of story is an indication of why conflict occurs so often in
organizations. We tend to ignore managing our relationships, hope the
larger system chooses in our favor (I feel I'm right, he's wrong, I'll win,
he'll lose), and remove our personal contribution to the situation as the
significant factor.

I find it far easier to say I have a personality conflict with someone and
ignore the relationship, rather than work with the person to understand
their point of view and understand how I contribute to the conflict. There
will be times when the best choice is to do nothing about that
relationship. But am I approaching the relationship from a victim
standpoint (He had a conflict with me) or a personal causal standpoint (How
did I create the conflict, and what will I do differently about it)

I do not agree removal of one of the parties is "best". Who should choose
which one will leave? How do I know that the one person remaining won't
create conflict elsewhere? A different approach is to create the
opportunity for the pair to understand why they are in conflict, and
support the pair in making different choices. I'd rather have people
willing to choose to work on their relationships over people waiting for me
to act. I'd rather have people willing to choose for a different path
(career, job) on their own, rather than me making that choice for them. My
assertion is that people will only learn from this type of situation if
they make the choices themselves. If I force a decision (to leave) then
that will only drive them deeper into their feelings of being a victim.

>I would suggest that an LO would attempt to channel the conflict to be in
>the arena of ideas and not personalities. Personality conflicts are best
>handled by the removal of one of the parties.
>Sometimes this can be the more senior party. In one instance, the "boss"
>had a personality conflict with me(and two of my four my peers). We hung in
>and finally, the boss was asked to resign. He just did not fit the culture
>of management inthe company! Cheers....Keith

Larry Bowman
The Performance Center at Virginia Tech
1900 Kraft Drive,Suite 200 Blacksburg Va. 24061-0517
Office Phone (540) 231-3347

-- (Scott Cypher)

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