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Thursday, 25 January 2007 21:37

Conflict Management

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Whether conflict has a net positive or negative effect on a project and its parent organization depends on how the project manager handles it. PMI® recognizes five methods for dealing with conflict:


  • Problem Solving/Confrontation  - With problem solving, the project manager addresses conflict directly in a problem-solving mode to get the parties working together to define the problem, collect information, develop and analyze alternatives, and select the most appropriate alternative.
  • Compromising - Compromising consists of bargaining and searching for solutions that attempt to bring some degree of satisfaction to the conflicting parties. Neither party wins but each may get some degree of satisfaction.
  • Smoothing - Smoothing consists of de-emphasizing the opponents’ differences and emphasizing their commonalties over the issues in question. Smoothing keeps the atmosphere friendly, but avoids solving the root causes of the conflict.
  • Withdrawal - Withdrawal is defined as retreating from actual or potential disagreements and conflict situations. It is really a delaying tactic that fails to resolve the conflict but does cool the situation down temporarily.
  • Forcing - Forcing consists of exerting one’s viewpoint at the potential expense of another party, thus establishing a win-lose situation.
Note: Know that personality conflicts are the smallest problem with conflict resolution and they are the least important.



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