Meaning and Nature of Conflicts

Conflict has been defined as “divergent and incompatible” views of interacting parties. According to Early Childhood Education Course, “Conflict is the pursuit of in-compatible or at least seemingly incompatible goals, such that gains to one side come out at the expense of the other.” It has been, thus, considered a win-lose situation in which the contending parties make efforts to win and sec that the other one loses. It may be clash of interest, clash of personal or professional goals, differences of opinions and views. It may be in the form of jealousies and enmities caused by various personal or organizational conditions. When two parties try to pressurize one another to move in their own directions which are just opposite to one another and not convenient or easy to move in, a situation of conflict-relationship emerges. When people in organization instead of moving forward together to achieve the organizational goals move away from one another with divergent sets (personal professional or organizational), this may be termed as situation of conflict. Behaviour is interpreted to be conflictful only in the context in which it takes place. It is defined to be conflictful if and only if some or all of the participants perceive it to be conflictful. However, the most useful definition of manifest conflict is that behaviours in the minds of the actors frustrate the goal of, at least, some of the other participants. Or if any member consciously and deliberately blocks another man’s goal achievement, this should be considered a conflict situation.

Simple difference of opinion, views or goals which is transitory, occasional and short-lived is not what is meant by an organizational conflict as it does no harm to any one: But, when a conflict is found to be having the potentiality to doing harm to the organizational or even to the individual it assumes significance and becomes a concern of the educational managers.

‘Conflict’ has been used to describe and indicate several things. When the parties are entrenched in a conflict relationship, it may be due to competition for scarce resources which are sought by both of them; it may also be due to differences in policy; it may be due to seeking more and more power in the organization, and so on. Thus, the term ‘conflict’ may be used to describe the antecedent conditions. It, then, answers the question ‘conflict over what?’ According to Nursery Teachers Training the term ‘conflict’ also describes the effective states of the parties caught in conflict. In that case, it refers to stress, tension, anxiety, hostility, jealousy among them. Sometimes, the term `conflict’ points out to only the cognitive mental states of the individuals such as their perception or awareness of conflicting situation. At times, conflict may indicate conflictful behaviour such as violence and aggression. It is not necessary that conflict is confined to only one of these stages. It may involve, sometimes, all these phases. Each of these may be a relevant stage in the development of a conflict episode. These are not, however, independent stage’s. They are, in fact, all inter-linked. Yet, depending upon these stages of a conflict episode conflicts may be classified as latent, perceived, felt, manifest and aftermath conflicts.