Research Explores Conflict and Crisis Management Strategies and the Importance of Handling Them Appropriately

September 8, 2021by Natalie Davis0

Summary of:

Wobodo, C. C., Orianzi, R., & Oko-Jaja, B. (2020). Conflict and crisis management: A theoretical comparison. European Journal of Business and Management, 12(2), 16-22.

Background & Theory

This article explored how conflict and crisis both affect organizations and what the response by leadership and management needs to be in order to keep the organization functioning properly.

Research Questions

Wobodo, Orianzi, and Oko-Jaja, in “Conflict and crisis management: A theoretical comparison” (2020), seek to address the following questions:

    1. How do conflict and crisis affect an organization?
    2. What is the role of management processes and how do they impact the outcome?

Methods

The authors provide a general and conceptual overview of how both conflict and crises are regular occurrences in organizations (and humanity in general). They explain what the difference between conflict and crises are and perform a more in-depth evaluation of conflict and what causes it, the kinds of conflict that exist, conflict management techniques, what qualifies as a crisis, the types of crises that most often occur, and a look at Hough and Spillan’s crisis management strategies. They end with noting the importance of management strategies to mitigate the damage that can occur from conflict and crisis.

Results

The results of this conceptual overview show that conflict and crisis can greatly impact an organization, even to the point of closure. They note that conflict is primarily instigated by people, whereas crisis can be instigated by either people or nature, and conflict can have positive outcomes and contribute to innovation and collaboration, whereas crisis often is only negative, at times with much more severe consequences than conflict. The way that both conflict and crisis is managed can make all the difference in whether there is positive resolution (or simply avoiding severe negative consequences), or whether the damage is potentially irreversible.

What This Means

  • Conflict and crisis are both unavoidable in an organization and will naturally occur at some point in time.
  • Leaders need to be aware of appropriate and timely management strategies for both conflict and crisis and act accordingly. Leaders should also have an awareness of how to best prevent conflict and crisis from occurring where possible.
  • Not appropriately resolving conflict or crisis can have long-term negative consequences that can impact the overall organization’s well-being.

Final Takeaway

For consultants: Training leaders in appropriate conflict and crisis management strategies and prevention techniques can lead to a healthier organization over time and encourage a more positive atmosphere for employees.

For everyone: Understanding how to handle conflict and crisis in our own lives can also be incredibly helpful for our own well-being, along with those around us.

Natalie Davis

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