Monday, April 5, 2010

Dysfunctional vs. Functional Conflict

As a member of an organization, no matter how high in pay ladder you are, conflict comes about. The two types of conflict Chapter 13 chooses to segregate are functional and dysfunctional conflict. Functional conflict is defined as "from an interactionist perspective conflict can be responsive and innovative aiding in creativity and viability. Determine if conflict achieves goals or undermines them" (Mastering Human Relations). The book's definition is a little different; Chapter 13 describes functional conflict as if it "serves organizational interests" and dysfunctional conflict as something that "threatens the organizations interest" (375).
Chapter 13 also focuses on the different types of conflict one may see in the workplace. One type, is psychological conflict. Psychological conflict is the type of conflict that can take place withing a worker "and no one would even know about it" (Mastering Human Relations). Some may argue (fans of Freud), that humans are dealing with psychological conflict every day. Another type of conflict is social conflict, which is also known as an "interpersonal conflict" (Mastering Human Relations). Some examples include one person against another, two people against another worker, or even one group versus another group. These type of conflicts involve more time to deal with, however they are more obvious to read compared to psychological conflicts.
Chapter 13 discusses interesting ways to define, view, and approach conflicts, and was very interesting to read.

Mastering Human Relations 3rd Edition, A Falikowski, 2002. Pearson Education


  1. I think that psychological conflicts are the hardest to deal with. Since they are internal conflicts rather than a physical they last a lot longer than physical conflicts. Psychological conflicts have the power to ruin a persons career while on the outside it looks like a massive blow up out of no where, but in reality it has been a problem rising for some time now.

  2. I agree with X. All conflicts are difficult, but psychological conflict is much more difficult to handle. Physical conflict is easy to spot, and for the most part there is always a solution, but psychological conflict is much different. Psychological conflict can be anything, and be hidden for months. One major problem with it is that it can be held in until a coworker accidentally sets them off-causing a terrible situation. Knowing how to deal with this is essential for any business person, especially a CEO or manager.