Mihaylova, I. (2020). The impact of conflict management training on managers’ self-assessment of their conflict knowledge. KNOWLEDGE – International Journal 43(1), 221-227.
Background & Theory:
When unmanaged, conflict can lead to severe negative consequences within organizations. Past studies have suggested that unmanaged conflict can lead to decreased employee well-being, lack of trust, and declined productivity. One solution to these negative aspects of conflict is offering conflict management training to employees. This study looks at how conflict management training impacts manager confidence in their knowledge of conflict.
Research was conducted by Ivanka Mihaylova to answer the following question:
- How does conflict management training impact the confidence managers have of their conflict knowledge?
The author distributed a three-part questionnaire via email to managers of various organizations in Bulgaria. The first part of this questionnaire asked participants to answer whether or not they had received conflict management training before.
The second part asked the participants to rate how prepared they felt with ten key areas of conflict management taken from Mihaylova (2020b). These key areas include the nature of conflict in organizations, different types of conflicts, sources of conflict, structure and dynamics of conflict, individual behavior in situations of conflict, conflict management strategies, the outcomes of conflict for organizations, the analysis and diagnosis of conflict, the analysis of post-conflict situations, and forecasting and prevention of future conflict.
The third part of the questionnaire asked for demographic information. This sample of respondents included 300 managers, approximately 53% female and 46% male, with over 70% holding a master’s degree. Data were analyzed and processed via IBM SPSS 25.
Results showed that only 14% of the managers surveyed had received conflict management training from their organization. The size of organizations somewhat determined whether they had given conflict management training, with 27% of very large organizations giving training versus 5.7% of small organizations. Additionally, organizations located in more urban areas were more likely to offer conflict management training versus district cities and smaller cities. The author suggested that the lack of formal conflict management training in these organizations could be due to an underestimation of conflict’s impact on the workplace.
The results pertaining to manager’s confidence were as follows: Managers who had been trained were significantly more likely to feel confident in their knowledge of nine of the ten conflict management categories. The only category that was not significant was the analysis and diagnosis of a conflict. These results show that conflict management training can increase the confidence of managers in their conflict knowledge.
What We Can Learn:
Looking over this research, we can take away the following key insight:
- This study legitimizes the effects of conflict management training—conflict management training leads to more conflict competent managers. Organizations who do not provide any type of conflict management training should do so, especially considering the costs of workplace conflict.
For Consultants: This study provides affirmation that trainings consultants provide can have a real effect on organizational leadership.
For Everyone: If you are experiencing unattended conflict in the workplace, consider implementing conflict management training. Pollack Peacebuilding Systems offers conflict management training that can help managers become conflict competent.