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The Role of Perception in the Emergence of Conflicts

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Hitting the bar of conflict through communication has become a habit among people nowadays

In the past many authors investigated about the types of conflict that people are usually entangled to and it was found that a conflict may be addressed to five distinctive levels. One which is ‘personal’ that is the conflict happens within the person, one which is ‘personal -role’ conflict, occurring whenever strong pressures are put on an individual and responding against that person’s beliefs and values.

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As noted in our basic definition of conflict, we define conflict as a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns. One key element of this definition is the idea that each party may have a different perception of any given situation. We can anticipate having such differences due to a number of factors that create "perceptual filters" or "cultural frames" that influence our responses to the situation. Our varying cultural backgrounds influence us to hold certain beliefs about the social structure of our world, as well as the role of conflict in that experience. We may have learned to value substantive, procedural and psychological needs differently as a result, thus influencing our willingness to engage in various modes of negotiation and efforts to manage the conflict. Men and women often perceive situations somewhat differently, based on both their experiences in the world (which relates to power and privilege, as do race and ethnicity) and socialization patterns that reinforce the importance of relationships vs

task, substance vs. process, immediacy vs. long-term outcomes. As a result, men and women will often approach conflictive situations with differing mindsets about the desired outcomes from the situation, as well as the set of possible solutions that may exist.

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Communication has the ability to deliver tangible products as opposed to being a soft component of the leadership roles. Improving satisfaction of consumers, enhancing the quality for service delivery and products quality, and enhancing retention together with satisfaction of employees, are all dependent on effective communication (Lee, 2008). These aspects also constitute the ingredients of workplace conflicts. In an organisation that employs people from diverse backgrounds, communication is the tool deployed to harness individual differences of employees in an effort to align them to a common organisational culture that is guided by aims, missions, goals, and objectives of the organisation (Johnson & Keddy 2010). This suggests that communication is also important in effective resolution of employee conflicts. Conflicts influence employee productivity. Hence, performance of an organisation is also affected negatively. Poor communication often results in resistance to change, especially where the persons working in an organisation consider the changes being implemented as threats to their jobs and personal excellence.

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On the whole, conflict occurs frequently and often results in significant disruption and cost for individuals and organizations. Although often avoided or poorly managed, evidence suggests the skills for effective management of conflict can be learned. Multiple studies confirm when conflict is successfully addressed, and multiple benefits accrue to the organization and individuals.

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Gramberg, B. (2005). Managing Workplace Conflict: Alternative Dispute Resolution in Australia. Annandale, N.S. W.: Federation Press.

Institute of Leadership and Management. (2007).Managing conflict in the Workplace. Oxford, Boston: Pergamon Flexible Learning.

Johnson, C., & Keddy, J. (2010). Managing Conflict at Work: Understanding and Resolving Conflict for Productive Working Relationships. London: Kogan Page.

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