The conflict-positive organization: it depends upon us



Although still widely assumed to be disruptive, conflict, when managed appropriately, has been found to make teamwork within and between organizations effective. However, organizational members often have competitive relationships and orientations to dealing with conflict that lead to conflict avoidance and escalation, approaches that sabotage decision-making and relational bonds. Conflict researchers have contributed to the bad reputation of conflict by confounding conflict and competition and suggesting that the kind of conflict, rather than its management, determines its outcomes. Studies in the West and East indicate that by developing cooperative relationships and the skills to discuss diverse views open-mindedly, organizations can empower managers and employees to use conflict to probe problems, create innovative solutions, learn from their experience, and enliven their relationships. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.