Defining conflict and making choices about its management : lighting the dark side of organizational life

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

64 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to investigate the definition of conflict, and argue that conflict is not always destructive. Design/methodology/approach - This commentary centers on re-evaluating past research into the definition and nature of conflict. It proposes that more thought is required when using the term as it is too broad in its definition. The term has become synonymous with negativity, and this commentary aims to show that the term may also be used in certain situations when conflict can have a positive effect. Findings - Although the research has shown that some people have a broader idea of what the term "conflict" comprises, the majority of people use the common definition related to destruction and negativity. Practical implications - Opens up a discussion revolving around the concept of conflict and dispels the commonly held definition that conflict is always detrimental. Originality/value - The paper takes an alternative view of conflict and opens up the little-held discussion around the term itself and its negative connotations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006



  • Conflict
  • Conflict management

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