Conflict Theory

Conflict is defined and interpreted in many ways, mostly relating to power and politics, being viewed as a behaviour intending to obstruct the achievement of other peoples’ goals. Mullins (2013) states the common definitions of conflict tend to be associated with negative features and situations which give rise to inefficiency, ineffectiveness and dysfunctional consequences.  Traditionally it can be viewed negatively for organisations; being perceived as disruptive unnatural, that needs to be controlled and changed.

The interactionist perspective of conflict, views it as a positive force that is necessary for effective performance encouraging a minimum level of conflict within a group, encourages self-criticism, change and innovation, preventing lack of enthusiasm or an intolerance of harmony and status quo.

The radical perspective, associated with Marx and the structuralist approach, challenges the traditional views of conflict within society and views organisations in terms of inequity, citing power and control between the owners and workers.  However, the unbalance can bring about change but is not always helpful when the power control is against the worker and in favour of the owner.

The radical approach of an organisations structure, management system and choice of technology, form the struggle for power and control within an organisation resulting in a need of greater attention to be given to relationships between the formal and informal aspects of an organisation and the conflict it causes, resulting in a need to understand the needs of the organisations and the individuals within it.

Conflict will always occur regardless and may not be good or bad but an inevitable feature or organisational life and should be judged in terms of its effects on performance.

This theory can be recognised within the many organisations in the Hunger Games; the Districts and the Capitol, and is shown by its conflicting interaction within each area and lack of understanding of each other’s needs.


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