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Conflict and Negotiation


The two aspects of running any business are conflict and negotiation. Any business owner will inevitably face some conflict, negotiation with their managers, employees, public or partners. For a cordial decision and solution, negotiation becomes necessary for any two parties who are involved in some business conflict. In small scale business conflicts are mostly avoided or overlooked as the main responsibility is for the owners to look after the managerial functions. On the other hand, external conflicts cannot be avoided, whether it is a small scale or a large scale company (Brett& Thompson,2016).Conflict arises when the owners have to bargain or negotiate with other parties. Negotiation is a process where any two parties bargain with each other to provide benefit to both. The process of conflict and negotiation involves identifying the issue, analysing the problem, create innovative strategies, and perform as per the idea(Day, 2015). These steps are essential to solving the issues related to conflict and management.

Definition of Conflict and Negation

When two people have a different thought process, they tend to think differently because of their ideas, beliefs, or perceptions. The owners of any business face conflict and negotiation when the business assets are involved. The process of discussion where two parties are involved, and they discuss a topic to reach a cordial solution which benefits both is parties is known as negotiation Both of these are frequently used in a large scale business organisation where more than one person is involved (Meslec, and Cur?eu, 2015). For a favourable outcome, the owners or managers use both conflict and negotiation when they deal with a stronger party. On the other hand, small business owners use this aspect of business management while purchasing and selling their goods or services. Also, this management aspect helps to build up the healthy relationship which becomes a competitive advantage for them. Research shows that the business owners should form "best alternative to negotiated agreement "since everything cannot be achieved during the conflict & negotiation aspect(Brett& Thompson,2016). An alternative will ensure that the owners receive a considerable amount of concession during the process. The issue with this management aspect is that it creates or results in unethical behaviour. This unethical behaviour might result in an unfavourable condition for the organisation which might result in a loss instead of profit (Chan, et al., 2014).

Diagnostic tools for conflict and management

Johari window

The Johari window explains the self-knowledge, the feedback, attention, and inquiries which are required to draw out some information where it’s purposeful and of some significance can be understood (Saxena, 2015). The model below identifies trust as an environment condition for knowledge and feedback which helps in enhancing the relationship and decreasing the amount of conflicts and negotiation faced by the organisation the clarity of thoughts around the organisation contributes to eliminating the disturbances and volatility from the organisation. It also addresses the needs of employees and other parties as per their awareness, experience, and training (Chan, et al., 2014).

Belbin team inventory

Belbin is divided into three primary groups which are associated with behaviour and strengths of an individual (Maria and Laura 2016).

Action oriented

The first part is the shape who challenges the team to improvise by making them face various problems so that the potential can be identified and rectified. The second step is of the implementers who turn the ideas into practical concepts with the help of action and plans. These are the people on whom the company can trust to get the job done efficiently (Van and Sinaceur, 2013). The third type is the completer-finisher who ensures that the work is completed without any errors; therefore they pay attention to every minute detail. Hence, different types of individual working have the different style of working because of different ideas and thoughts. A well-balanced team should be prepared to prevent conflict.

People oriented roles

This stage consists of a coordinator, team worker, and resource investigator. The team leaders who are often held responsible but tend to be manipulative are the coordinators. The team workers are the supporters who ensure that the work is done properly. Their weakness is that they are indecisive and do not participate while discussions. On the other hand, resource investigator is always curious to explore and negotiate on behalf of the team (Chan, et al., 2014). The only problem with them is that they get demotivated very quickly.

Thought oriented role

This process consists of plant, monitor evaluator, and specialist. One comes up with new approaches but can have poor communication level. The second type is the evaluator who analyses the pros and cons, but they are poor motivators who react easily (Shapiro, 2014). Specialists want to get the job done with their skills and abilities to maintain their status but they limit their contribution.

Belbin helps to resolve conflicts by monitoring an individual's behaviour, their attitude, strengths and especially their weakness which is not allowed to be a part of business strategy. Just by simple understanding of one another conflicts and negotiations can be avoided (Borbély and Caputo, 2015).

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

An individual's behaviours are described in two dimensions one is assertiveness which is the limit to which an individual satisfy his concerns and other is cooperativeness which means the limit to which an individual satisfies other people concerns (Riasi and Asadzadeh, 2015).

Competing means standing up for your right, this position is assertive and uncooperative where a person looks after his concern at someone else's expenses.

Accommodating is cooperative and unassertive which is exactly the opposite of competing, where an individual is concerned about the satisfaction of another individual.

Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative wherein the person is neither concerned about himself, not about anyone else. So he does not deal with any conflict (Halevy, et al., 2014).

Collaborating is both assertive as well as cooperative which the opposite of avoiding is. In this case, the person satisfies his as well as other persons concern. This stage might lead to some form of disagreement or conflict.

Compromising is again both assertive and cooperative where the aim is to find a common solution which satisfies both the parties.

Everyone can handle the five conflict modes, but one single style of working cannot be dealt with conflict. The Thomas Kilmaan instrument is designed to measure the mixture of conflict-handling modes. (Shapiro, 2014)


Conditions for conflict and negotiation

·         Conflict and negotiation arise when two people have interlinked responsibilities, but the boundaries and limitations are not clearly mentioned (Tjosvold, et al., 2016).

·         The second issue arises because of goal incompatibility when two or more people are working together but with different objectives or goals. This leads to the lack of clarity of thoughts and barriers towards goal attainment.

·         The third condition is the lack of communication which creates misunderstanding and conflicts (Day, 2015).

·         Differentiation in an organisation also causes conflict and negotiation because the units are divided and are made responsible for different tasks. This division of units when not coordinated properly cause conflict.

·         When different parties are involved in task decision, they take the decision as per their goals, objectives, beliefs, training and experience which again cause conflict and negotiation (Brett& Thompson,2016).

·         Every organisation has their set of rules and regulation which the employees should follow for safety, but some of the employees might take these regulations if different ways which cause negativity and conflict.

·         Conflicts which occurred but were not resolved creates stress and negativity in the organisation which further leads to new conflicts because of which the work is hampered


Strategies to Deal with Conflict

·         Competing is a win or lose situation where one person has the power to win the conflict.

·         Collaboration is a win-win situation for both the parties because a common solution to the problem is found out agreeable by both the parties ( Shapiro, 2014)

·         Negotiation is either a win or a loss situation where both the parties come to a mid-solution favourable for one person. 

·         Avoidance is a situation where the conflict is not so important; it's like a loss, lose situation.

·         Smoothing is a condition where an individual is ok with the procedure while the other one remains in the conflict which creates either a win or a loss situation (Meslec and Cur?eu, 2015).


Management of conflict and negotiation

 Conflict and negotiation are both unavoidable situations which help in transforming an organisation. In any organisation, competition is created because of various factors, objectives, and different viewpoints (Shapiro, 2014). These aspects have to be used carefully and powerfully to achieve the goals of an organisation. The manager of the organisation should be attentive and observant towards the emerging conflicts so that the appropriate action is taken. The causes and the outcome of the conflict and negotiation should be recognised at an early stage by the manager so that it can be easily managed (Tjosvold, et al., 2016). The manager should develop some strategies to resolve them before it affects the company in a negative way to manage conflict and negotiation in an organisation.

Some of the ways to manage conflict and negotiation in an organisation are as follows.

·         The first strategy is to manage behaviour styles like competition, collaboration, compromise, as per the situation

·         Once the cause of conflict and negotiation is understood than the other issues, and disputes like improvising on policies, rules & regulations, communication level and reward system can all be looked after.

·         After this, the manager has to look after the structural changes like merging segregated units and relocating the units to solve conflicts.

·         The last step is the confrontation which requires both the parties to confront each other and communicate. This communication involves negotiation, bargaining, attribution and application of the decision which is accepted by both the parties. This decision is the solution for the problems faced by both the parties.

Learning’s and outcome

·         An individual should try and achieve both forms of negotiation for better results.

·         Understand the objectives and goal of the company and act accordingly.

·         Maximise the opportunity by preparing a pre-negotiating strategy

·         Deal with all sorts of people

·         Being aware of the cultural differences which might impact negotiation.

·         Improvise on communication level by interacting and solving problems

·         Make right deals and offers at the right time with right type of individuals

·         Transform competition into cooperation  

·         Build up confidence, power, and ability.

·         Improvise on negotiation skills by managing behaviour, and emotions.

·         Build good and healthy relations with other parties.

·         Create a win-win situation (Akhilesh, 2014)


From this study, it is understood that conflict can be fight, collision or a disagreement which happens because of different incompatibility between two or more individuals. It's a situation where one party perceives a problem wherein the other party is also affected. The owners should manage conflicts instead of neglecting or avoiding them (Day, 2015). Negotiation is another powerful tool which is helpful in making decisions and managing conflicts in an organisation. Research shows that different negotiation strategies lead to different attitude and behavioural outcomes (Shapiro, 2014). It's not necessary that conflict is always bad, at a time, this management aspect helps to achieve the objectives and goals of the origination by enhancing the performance of the employees, this type of conflict are known as constructive or functional conflict (Tjosvold, et al., 2016). When two or more people with different mindsets are working together, conflicts are a natural thing. Individuals who work together may not be a part of the conflict, but they can be close to the persons involved in it to mediate the condition.  [G1]