Group Level Conflict - Organizational Behavior

Conflict may occur at group level. A group constitutes two or more persons who interact in such a way that each person influences and is influenced by others. Groups exist in every organization and they affect the behavior of their members. They not only affect the behavior of their members, rather, they  have impact on other groups and the organization as whole . in this interaction process, there may be two types of conflict: intra-group (within the group itself) and inter-group (between groups).

I.            Intra-group conflict: intra-group may be through in terms of group characteristics and to some extent interpersonal conflict, especially if two persons are from the same group. A group is consisting umber of persons whose interactions at a given time generate a system of values, norms, and sanctions appropriate to the nature of the task on which they are working, which has created a set of well-defined role and status relations, which are interdependent. Intra-group conflict may arise in three situation:

a)      When group faces a novel problem of task;

b)     Where new values are imported from the social environment into the group; and

c)      Where a person's extra-group role comes into conflict with his intra-group role. Intra-group conflict is visualized more when people come from different socio-economic backgrounds and have different political and religious view.

II.            Inter-group conflict:  inter-group conflict arises out of the interaction of various groups. There are many factors in the organization, which determine the inter-group relationships. These factors can influence relations between two or more groups. Of these factors are not positive, they tend to create conflict among groups. These factors are:

a)      Competition for resources: most organization today has very limited resources. Groups within the organization vie for budget funds, space, supplies, personnel, and support services.

b)     Task interdependence: if two groups in the organization depend on one another in a mutual way or even a one-way direction  (as in a sequential technological process), there tends to be more conflict than of groups are independent of one another. The more diverse the objectives, priorities, and personnel of the interdependent groups (for example, research and production), the more conflict there tends to be.

c)      Jurisdictional ambiguity: this may involve "turf" problems or overlapping responsibilities . for example, conflict might occur when one group attempts to assume more control or take credit for desirable activities, or give up its part and any responsibility for undesirable activities.

d)     Status struggles: this conflict occurs when one group attempts to improve its status and another group views this as a threat to its placed in the status hierarchy. One group may also feel it is being inequitably treated in comparison with another group of equal status in terms of rewards, job assignments, working conditions, privileges, or status symbols. Human resources departments justifiably often feel they are treated inequitably in relation to marketing, finance, and operations departments.

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