DOWN TO BUSINESS
A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director
What conflict management strategy is best in my business?
The best conflict management strategy to use is dependent on the situation. No one strategy will be right for all conflict situations. Research on conflict management has found that each person tends to use or two strategies more than others.
According to Dr. Scott Williams, Department of Management, Wright State University “There is a menu of strategies we can choose from when in conflict situations”. These strategies are identified as:
Several variables are important to consider when choosing the best conflict management strategy to use: time, importance of the issue, importance of the relationships involved, interpersonal power and goals of the parties involved and the organization. Choosing the wrong strategy for the situation can result in undesirable consequences.
Conflict in the workplace is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes conflict can point out problems that need to be resolved or questions that need to be addressed. Positive conflict resolution can lead to increased understanding between co-workers, increased cohesiveness in a workgroup or improved self-awareness of group members. The key is handling the situation correctly.
Some of the important issues to consider when developing a conflict resolution strategy:
Sometimes if the conflict is out of hand, it’s best to bring in a facilitator who is trained in conflict resolution. This can alleviate some of the emotions that led to the conflict and help find workable resolution for all parties concerned.
The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page www.bizcenter.org.