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Articles on Organizational TA

The articles on this page are offered to give an idea of our thinking. You are welcome to download and print them for your own personal use. They remain copyright of Mountain Associates. Please contact us if you wish to use the articles in another way.

Managing Conflict

One of the biggest difficulties facing people at work is how to deal with people when we differ with them or when they differ with us. How do we manage dialogue with each other even if we disagree and how do we manage to get to a win-win process?

Unfortunately, we tend to leave situations rather than deal with them. When this happens we become less and less likely to address the issues, either because we believe we are over sensitive, or because we are scared of the outcome.
Whilst conflict does not necessarily mean being angry, the way we think about anger will have an affect on the way we experience conflict situations. If anger is viewed as something to be avoided, is negative, means we don't care, needs to be met with anger etc. then this will influence how we view conflict and whether or not we avoid it, become aggressive, or are assertive.
There are many schools of thought about the causes of anger, aggression and violence. Some say it is instinctive and others say it is learned. Whichever theory is favoured these feelings and actions need to be dealt with by us all at different times. How we respond today will depend on how we were encouraged to respond in childhood in our family of origin, our neighbourhood and in our culture. For example, shyness and tenderness are often approved of in women, anger is not. Yet in many situations, anger or indignation is the most authentic response.
Whether male or female, if we have been taught to repress anger then we can internalise these feelings. Internalised anger brings on depression and self-deprecation.

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