Views of Conflict - Organizational Behavior

1)     Traditional view: the early approach to conflict assumed that all conflict was bad. Conflict was viewed negatively, and it was used synonymously with such terms as violence, destruction, and irrationality to reinforce its negative connotation. Conflict, by definition, was harmful and was to be avoided.

2)     The human relations view: the human relations position argued that conflict was a natural occurrence in all groups and organizations. Since conflict was inevitable, the human relations school advocated acceptance of conflict. Proponents rationalized its existence. It cannot be eliminated, and there are even times when conflict may benefit a group's performance. The human relations view dominated conflict theory from the late 1940s through the mid-1970s.

3)     The Interactions view of conflict modern viewpoint: this view is based on the belief that conflict is not only a positive force in a group but is also necessary for a group to perform effectively. This approach encourages conflict on the grounds that a harmonious, peaceful, tranquil, and cooperative group is prone to becoming static, apathetic, and non-responsive to  needs for change and innovation. The major contribution of the interactions approach, therefore, is encouraging group leaders to maintain an ongoing minimum level of conflict-enough to keep the group viable, self-critical , and creative.

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