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Getting Out of Functional Conflict

Getting out of Functional Conflict

functional conflict

  1. An Open Frame of Mind: Line and staff authority should be open with each other and come out of their compartmentalized state of mind. Rationale thinking and logical action is what is required to understand and resolve conflicts.
  2. Be a Manager rather than a Technocrat: Specialization has made people to stick to their line of action and they act merely like tech wizards and conveniently forget the human element of flexible mental purview and compromise. Development of each individual’s managerial qualities will minimize conflicts. A manager has to harmonize functions of diverse natures and bring about co-ordination.
  3. Think as an Entrepreneur: Thinking about the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats an organization faces makes each individual realize that he or she is part of the organization and whatever happens to the firm directly affects his/her  stability and security.
  4. Make others feel a Sense of Achievement: It is the job of a manager to appreciate and encourage the achievements of his sub ordinates that bring greater joy in the minds of individuals and motivate them to work for the cause.
  5. Interaction among Functions: Cross functional interactions on a continuous basis are found to be useful in preventing and resolving conflicts. Informal groups serve as the best example of a committee consisting of members from different functional groups but with a common interest. These groups can be best identified and utilized by the management to resolve conflicts by seeking the help of the key person in the group.
  6. Roles, Responsibilities and the Scope of other Functions: The basic requirement is to first clearly define the objectives and sub objectives, the process, the roles of each function as a tool and their rights and responsibilities. One should know the roles and responsibilities of all functions having common interface: their position in the firm as well as their relevance and contribution towards the organizational goals.
  7. Communication and Information Sharing: The informal communication system helps in achieving group dynamics and cohesion while the formal channels take care of organizational directives. A quick and effective means of communication can considerably reduce the conflict level that arises out of communication disorders.
  8. Adequate Planning and Co-ordinations: At each operational level, hasty actions must be avoided to stop conflicts from arising. Planning and Co-ordination go hand in hand: Say, if a new product launch is aimed at without proper promotion, what would happen to the success of the project?
  9. Evaluation of Functional Performance: A standard mechanism must be set to evaluate managerial performance in terms of their ability to achieve an integrated set of objectives in a balanced manner.
  10. Necessity of Transparency: Transparency is needed at all functional levels or the initiator appears to be tainted with the accusation of having an ulterior motive. In case of big corporate firms all the policy decisions are taken by the board and not by a single person to avoid conflicts.

Conflict need not necessarily be viewed as an evil but a disorder to be curbed. Sometimes a conflict might showcase the inherent inflexibility and malfunctions in the firm  to be corrected paving way for innovations. Sometimes it causes frustration for the management by preventing synergy amongst the sub-systems.

All said and done, conflict once identified have to be immediately dealt with and resolved by the management in order to facilitate smooth functioning of the organization.

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