Conflict can run the gamut from minor annoyances to physically violent situations. At the same time, conflict can increase creativity and innovation, or it can bring organizations to a grinding halt. There are many different types of conflict, including interpersonal, intrapersonal, and intergroup. Within organizations, there are many common situations that can spur conflict. Certain organizational structures, such as a matrix structure, can cause any given employee to have multiple bosses and conflicting or overwhelming demands. A scarcity of resources for employees to complete tasks is another common cause of organizational conflict, particularly if groups within the organization compete over those resources. Of course, simple personality clashes can create intrapersonal conflict in any situation. Communication problems are also a very common source of conflict even when no actual problem would exist otherwise. When conflict arises, it can be handled by any number of methods, each with varying degrees of cooperation and competitiveness. Different situations require different conflict handling methods, and no one method is best.
Negotiations occur during many important processes, and possessing astute negation skills can be an incredible tool. A key component to negotiations involves having a BATNA, or “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Negotiations typically move through five phases, including investigation, determining your BATNA, presentation, bargaining, and closure. During a negotiation, it is important not to make any number of common mistakes. These mistakes can include accepting the first offer, letting ego get in the way, having unrealistic expectations of the outcome of the negotiation, becoming too emotional during the process, or being weighed down by previous failures and letting the past repeat itself. It is important to keep in mind that many cultures have preferential methods for handling conflict and negotiation.
Individuals should understand the cultural background of others to better navigate what could otherwise become a messy situation.