TOP 6 Major Types of Conflicts

The definition of conflict is a huge disagreement in objectives, interests, and values. Conflicts appear in social interaction processes and are usually accompanied by negative emotions that go beyond rules and social norms. Day to day, we have to participate in discussions and learn to stand up for our opinion. But it is not always easy. There is a high chance to offend others, that’s why it is important to be able to avoid conflicts or at least mitigate them.

Constructive & Destructive Sides of Conflicts

There are always different sides to the same coin, and before trying to resolve a conflict you need to learn how to understand the opponent. There is a big difference between discussion and a confrontation. The former is about communicating and sharing opinions while the latter is often about misunderstandings and arguments.

The destructive way of communication: 

  • negative emotions;
  • deterioration of business and personal relationships; between people
  • a decline in discipline;
  • lowered quality of work;
  • perception of “winners” and “losers”.

The constructive way of communication:

  • useful distinctions;
  • the ability to see hidden ulterior motives;
  • negative emotions and tensions resolved;
  • development of relationships;
  • finding new solutions;
  • exchanging opinions.

Conflict Classification

There are a lot of aspects that influence the classification of conflicts. They can depend on the way of interaction, the number of people that participate in the discussion, etc. We can distinguish a conflict between individuals (interindividual) from a conflict between groups (intergroup). There are confrontations between associations, government entities, nations, and cultures.

Let’s consider the main factors that determine the classification of conflicts:

  1. The sphere of manifestation. We distinguish between production and economic, ideological, socio-psychological, or family and household conflicts;
  2. Scale, duration, and tension. Conflicts can be general or local, short-, long-term, or protracted, mild and slow or mild and fast;
  3. The subjects of conflicts. Conflicts are divided into intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and intergroup;
  4. The reasons. There are objective or subjective, organizational, emotional, social, labor, business or personal conflicts;
  5. The actuality. You can participate in real conflicts or objectless ones.

People do not encounter all types of conflicts from day to day. The most widespread types are intrapersonal, interpersonal, conflicts between an individual and the group, intergroup, institutional, and conflicts between an organization and the external environment.

TOP 6 Types of Conflicts

Intrapersonal

This is a state of frustration caused by certain life circumstances. A person can have conflicting interests, aspirations, or needs. All of these can lead to stress. In this case, the sides of the confrontation are not people but various psychological factors within a person’s inner world. Intrapersonal conflict can be born from the working environment. One of the most common forms is a role-based conflict. It appears when an employee gets contradictory demands, which go against their personal needs and values.  

Interpersonal

This is the most common type of conflict that can occur in business processes in different ways. This is the manager’s struggle for limited resources, capital or labor, time or equipment use, and the projects’ approval.

Between individual and group

This type of conflict can occur if the individual’s position differs from group one. For example, one employee has a suggestion they believe will improve the work quality, but others are sure that this method can lead to losses.

Intergroup

Intergroup conflict can take place even in solid companies. In most organizations, there are disagreements between various departments and social classes. An excellent example of such a confrontation is the relationship between the management and administration, the marketing and sales departments, and many others.

Institutional

It can be any form of confrontation between individuals. Its main objective is to get and keep material resources, technologies, information, economic position, power, or other values.

Between organization and external environment

The organization’s interaction with the external environment often leads to conflicts with potential competitors, consumers, tax offices, or public bodies.

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