Conflict in general is unavoidable. Were we all living in a perfect world, we would probably still encounter conflict in the flavor of the candy lined streets between those that would otherwise agree upon everything else in life.
Traditional views of conflict, and its benefit or usefulness in the workplace are based on unrealistic views of life, life beyond death, and the celebration of differences controlled by good intentions. What does that statement mean? It means that differences, so long as fundamentally good intentioned will allow a much greater potential for learning, growing and advancing as a group than trying to make everyone fit the mold being made by the organization.
Any organization that tries to reduce conflict by forcing emotional effect and response of their employees, will be creating a hostile work environment for those employees. This is counter productive as indicated in previous discussions where we covered Moods and Emotions.
In the end, reason and experience teach us that birds of feather flock together. like minded people will naturally group together out of peaceful interaction and similar interests. Conflict, though existing in certain areas of an employee’s life, can be peacefully cured with the help of a 3rd party arbiter or mediator, and peace will always be possible again once they are back in an element of peace.
Conflict does have degrees of emotional effect on people, and so it is possible that all of the peace offered to an individual in the world, would not compensate for the amount of discord experienced in some moments of conflict. It is up to each individual to measure the peace versus the conflict and remove oneself from conflict to the extent that they can function peacefully in their life.
Organizations throughout the world make the best attempts to create a peaceful environment for all constituents of the organization, however some differences and some personality types will not curb the behaviors that cause conflict. At that point organizations have to make the pivotal decision of what kind of culture they want among their members, and irradicate the elements that will not come into line peacefully.
I know that I would be at constant conflict at Carl’s Junior (corporate), because I disagree as much as I do with their marketing approaches and what they try to stand for. I would never be at peace, and a job there in marketing would leave me at constant battle trying to change their image. I know my limitations and desires and therefore would never place myself in the situation of conflict, especially that level of internal conflict. Such is the hope, that all people would look at conflict in the same manner.