What is dysfunctional conflict?

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The conflict which obstructs the achievement of the goals of a group is called a dysfunctional or destructive conflict. The characteristics of a dysfunction conflict are:

(i) Increased tension: a dysfunctional conflict can cause high level of tension among the members of a group and in some cases it becomes difficult for the management to resolve such a conflict. This increased tension may result in anxiety uncertainty, hostility and frustration among the members of a group.

(ii) High rate of employee turn over: Dysfunctional conflicts can cause some employees to leave the organization if they are not able to resolve the conflict in their favor. In such a case it is the organization that has to suffer to loss of its valuable employees.

(iii) Increased dissatisfaction: Dissatisfaction can be increased among the members of the party that looses in conflict. This struggle during conflict also results in decreased concentration on the job and in this way it can also adversely affect the productivity of the whole group.

(iv) Distrust: Conflict can result in a climate of distrust among the members of a group and also in the organization. It can decrease the level of cohesiveness among the group members who will have negative feelings towards other members of the group and avoid interaction with them.

(v) Distraction from organizational goals : Conflicts can distract the members of a group from the organizational goals they are supposed to achieved but during a conflict the members may waste their time and energy in making efforts for emerging as winners in the on-going conflict in the group and their attention from the organizational goals may be diverted. Personal victory becomes more important for the members involved in the conflict and the organizational goals take a back seat.

Conflicts may cost dearly
The cost for a conflict is not only paid by individuals but they can weaken the organization also. In case the management fails to handle conflicts efficiently and tries to suppress them, conflicts can acquire huge proportions later on. Thus it is important that the management should interfere in the conflicts at an earlier stage otherwise unnecessary troubles can be created at a later stage. The organization may have to suffer as some of its valuable employees may leave the organization or a feeling of distrust that is generated among the employees could have a negative impact on the productivity.

This article has been written by KJ Singh a MBA Graduate from a prestigious Business School In India
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