A Definition of Conflict

There has been no shortage of definitions of conflict,1 but common to most is the idea that conflict is a perception of differences or opposition. If no one is aware of a conflict, then it is generally agreed no conflict exists. Opposition or incompatibility, as well as interaction, are also needed to begin the conflict process.

We define conflict broadly as a process that begins when one party perceives another party has affected or is about to negatively affect something the first party cares about. Conflict describes the point in ongoing activity when interaction becomes disagreement. People experience a wide range of conflicts in organizations over an incompatibility of goals, differences in interpretations of facts, ...

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