Sources of Conflict

The sources of conflict are found in some degree of actual or perceived divergence of interests. At one extreme, conflict is rooted in a sharp incompatibility or head on collision of interests. Any satisfaction or victories, for one side mean dissatisfaction or defeat for another. In game theory this limiting case is described as a zero sum game. At the other extreme, conflict may be rooted in the interests that are different but not necessarily incompatible. People disagree over facts, goals, methods and values because they have different interests and perceptions. Decision making itself is a fundamental source of conflict because it invariably involves conflicting considerations of pressure. But most conflicts are embedded in a multi-dimensional matrix of interests. Each conflict usually involves a complete set of interests. It can be properly identified only by a profile or vector or different points.

 

The factors affecting the sources of conflict are :

 

Informational Factors

 

This exert their influence when various points of view have been developed on the basis of different past or has a limited knowledge, they disagree.

 

Perceptual Factors

 

These exert their influence when the persons have different images of the same stimulus. Because of perception, each will attend to and select from the information available, those items which he gets from his own experience in unique to him. Thus it is not surprising that the same basic facts may produce distinctive perceptual pictures in the minds of different individuals.

 

Role Factors

 

Role factors influence the source of conflict because each individual occupies a certain position or status in the society or in the organization. The fact that he occupies such a position or status may put certain constraints on him if the discussion in related to his role.

 

Negative and Positive Aspects of Conflict

 

The negative potentials of conflict are quite obvious. Just as internal conflict within an individual can destroy his ability to function; similarly internal conflict within an organization may result in some sort of blocks in decision making. For those who want to destroy an organization or its effectiveness, there is probably no more effective method than the promotion of internal conflict. The destructive possibilities of inter organizational conflicts are even more apparent. It may result in unnecessary competition and may put the existence of a small organization in danger.

 

Conflicts do not always constitute a bad thing. Whether conflict is desirable or not, depends upon what purpose is served by conflict. For instance, conflict may provide an opportunity for suppressed. Conflicts also provide opportunity for review of existing positions and making better alternatives acceptable to the parties concerned. Though a conflict may threaten the emotional well-being of individual persons; it may also be a positive factor in personal character development. Therefore, it is difficult to say whether conflict is functional or disfunctional.