Difference Between Constructive and Destructive Conflict

Constructive vs Destructive Conflict
 

The difference between constructive and destructive conflict is there in the outcome, mainly. A conflict is a serious disagreement between two parties. Within organizational settings, conflicts arise between employees, departments, and organizations themselves. This leads to a negative climate within the organization. Conflicts can arise due to task interdependence, status problems, individual traits, lack of resources, salary issues, etc. When speaking of conflicts, mainly there are two types. They are constructive conflicts and destructive conflicts. As the names suggest, the outcome of these two types of conflicts is vastly different. Constructive conflict leads to a positive outcome that mostly involves conflict resolution. However, destructive conflicts usually end up with negative outcomes. This does not necessarily have to be within an organization; it can occur in other settings such as the family, among friends, or even states as well. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two types of conflict; namely constructive conflict and destructive conflict.

What is Constructive Conflict?

A conflict is usually viewed as something negative, as it generates a lot of antagonism and frustration between the parties involved. However, a conflict does not necessarily have to be destructive. In a constructive conflict, even though, a disagreement between two parties emerges, this can be resolved in a positive manner so that it benefits both parties. This is often referred to as a win-win situation because both parties benefit from it. Also, the communication that takes place between the two parties is often honest and open communication. They do not involve emotional, impulsive responses and are focused on finding a solution. Both parties realize the necessity to resolve the conflict so that the demands of each party can be met.

Let us assume that the conflict emerged in a group of employees who are assigned to a particular task. Both employees feel the need to achieve the target but have different strategies. Through a constructive conflict, the two employees can find a solution by working as a team. This then improves the team performance of the individuals as well. However, a destructive conflict brings about different outcomes than a constructive conflict.

Difference Between Constructive and Destructive Conflict

Constructive conflict is a win-win situation for both parties

What is Destructive Conflict?

Unlike a constructive conflict, a destructive conflict is characterized by feelings of frustration and antagonism. Destructive conflicts do not bring about positive outcomes and damages the productivity of an organization. In such a situation, both parties make an effort to win at whatever cost. They refuse to communicate honestly and openly and reject the solutions brought about by the other party. Unlike in a constructive conflict where there is respect for other employees, in destructive conflicts this cannot be seen.

In a destructive conflict, the demands of both parties do not get fulfilled. This creates further frustration and impulsive actions. The two parties may even involve in activities that taint the image of the other. Such conflicts usually do not strengthen the relationship but detriments the working relationship. This highlights that while constructive conflicts can be good for organizations, destructive conflicts are not.

 Constructive vsDestructive Conflict

A destructive conflict is characterized by feelings of frustration and antagonism

What is the difference between Constructive and Destructive Conflict?

• Definitions of Constructive and Destructive Conflict:

• In a constructive conflict, even though, a disagreement between two parties emerge, this can be resolved in a positive manner so that it benefits both parties.

• In a destructive conflict, the disagreement leads to negative outcomes creating feelings of frustration and antagonism.

• Outcome:

• A constructive conflict has positive outcomes.

• A destructive conflict has negative outcomes.

• Effect on the Relationship:

• A constructive conflict strengthens the relationship between the two parties.

• A destructive conflict harms the relationship between the two parties.

• Situation Created:

• A constructive conflict creates a win-win situation where both parties benefit.

• In a destructive conflict, both parties do not benefit.

• Communication:

• In a constructive conflict, there is honest communication.

• In a destructive conflict, there is not.

• Performance:

• A constructive conflict improves performance especially in groups.

• A destructive conflict reduces performance.

• Action of Parties:

• In a constructive conflict, both parties are involved in resolving the issue.

• In a destructive conflict, you cannot see that both parties are involved in resolving the issue.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Negotiation by Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (CC BY-SA 3.0 pl)
  2. Arguing by o5com (CC BY 2.0)