Difference Between Frustration and Conflict

Frustration vs Conflict
 

Difference between frustration and conflict lies with what kind of feeling they awaken in a person’s mind. Organizational psychology studies the link between frustration and conflict within individuals and among individuals. These two concepts should not be viewed as interchangeable, but as two different states that greatly influence one another. Frustration can be defined as a feeling of dissatisfaction that stems from an individual’s inability to achieve a goal. On the other hand, a conflict can be defined as a condition where the individual faces difficulty in arriving at a decision due to two or more different interests. Simply a conflict is a disagreement. When a person is having a disagreement with himself, it is referred to as an emotional conflict. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two concepts.

What is Frustration?

Frustration can be understood as a feeling of dissatisfaction that stems from an individual’s inability to achieve a goal. For example, imagine you work hard to pass an exam. Even though you have worked as hard as possible, you end up failing the exam. In such an instance, you feel frustrated. This can be viewed as a normal emotional response, just like any other emotion that you feel in the face of defeat. The individual experiences mixed emotions such as anger, hurt, and powerlessness. If the achievement of the goal were extremely vital for the individual, this would result in a higher degree of frustration. This clearly highlights a link between frustration and the significance of the goal to the individual. If the significance of the achievement were greater, then so would be the frustration. If the significance were lower, then the frustration experienced by the individual would be lower.

According to psychologists, frustration can be caused due to two types of factors. They are internal factors and external factors

Internal factors of frustration are those that stem from within the individual, such as individual weaknesses, confidence issues, personal dilemmas, etc. Let us pay attention to an example. In a working environment, an employee works on a project proposal with the intention of gaining the approval from the board of directors to implement the project. Even though he works hard, at the presentation, he fails to perform well due to his stage fright and lack of confidence. The employee feels frustrated. This is an example of how frustration can be caused due to internal factors.

External factors of frustration refer to those that are outside the individual such as working conditions, co-workers, deadlines, etc. Let us take the same example. Imagine, in this case, the employee worked in a team. The proposal was rejected by the superiors due to the lack of commitment of the other group members. In this case, it is the external factors that lead to frustration.

Difference Between Frustration and Conflict

However, in organizational psychology, it is believed that a small degree of frustration can work as a motivator. However, there are situations where frustration can lead to negativity such as in the case of aggression towards co-workers.

What is Conflict?

A conflict can be defined as a condition where the individual faces difficulty in arriving at a decision due to two or more different interests. For example, imagine a student who has doubts regarding his future. He does not know whether to enter the University and pursue his higher education or else start working as he has financial difficulties. Such a situation creates a conflict within the individual. This can also be viewed as an emotional state where a person is in a dilemma.

Psychologists believe that such an emotional conflict can lead to frustration. This is the link between frustration and a conflict. A conflict can be associated with physical discomforts such as insomnia, headaches, or inability to eat. People use defense mechanisms when faced with such emotional conflicts. Projection, displacement are some of the widely used defense mechanisms.

However, conflicts can arise between two or more people as well. For example, if an individual is not given the resources to achieve a goal by another, it would lead to a conflict. In this sense, frustration can lead to a state of conflict.

Frustration vs Conflict

What is the difference between Frustration and Conflict?

• Definitions of Frustration and Conflict:

• Frustration can be defined as a feeling of dissatisfaction that stems from an individual’s inability to achieve a goal.

• A conflict can be defined as a condition where the individual faces difficulty in arriving at a decision due to two or more different interests.

• Dissatisfaction and Disagreement:

• Frustration is a feeling of dissatisfaction.

• A conflict is a disagreement.

• External Frustration and Conflict:

• Frustration can lead to conflicts when the cause of frustration is external.

• Internal Conflict and Frustration:

• Internal conflicts, or else emotional conflicts that take place within the individual can lead to frustration.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Frustrated man by LaurMG (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Conflict by Scott Maxwell (CC BY-SA 2.0)