How can conflict management be introduced practically?
While a growing number of companies such as SAP, E.ON, Strabag, Deutsche Telekom, A1 Telekom Austria AG and Erste Group Bank AG use these conflict resolution methods and implement them within internal systems for conflict management, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) do less know, how to deal with them and so dont use them. In this context, interest-oriented conflict resolution systems are becoming increasingly important in modern business enterprises.
Companies that want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation will have to design professional conflict resolution systems if their business activities are to be successful and they want to bring their national and, in particular, international projects to a successful conclusion Especially multinational joint ventures always have a high conflict potential. Experience has shown that the way in which conflicts are dealt with is decisive for the success or failure of a joint venture. Instead of tackling conflicts at an early stage and taking advantage of the resulting opportunities, destructive procedures are often conducted; the common vision will be forgotten. In addition, the costs of conflicts increase dramatically in transnational legal disputes.
Impulses to establish conflict management in companies only work if they are taken up by those responsible. What are the objectives of such conflict management?
The primary goals and advantages of institutionalised conflict management are time saving and cost reduction by creating smooth processes, higher productivity through more committed employees, image improvement through more satisfied customers and last but not least the saving of legal costs.
The company management has to decide whether a selected element of conflict management or a comprehensive conflict management system should be established. Such a conflict management system comprises all elements in a company that serve to solve internal conflicts and conflicts with customers or business partners in an early, efficient and cost-saving manner.
The next step is to clarify which further conflict management instruments are to be introduced, what degree of centralisation is aimed for, where a central contact point can be located, how and by whom a controlling and quality assurance system can be implemented and how internal marketing is designed. Effective internal and external communication of the results and an initial success of a conflict management measure can provide the impetus for the next stage, towards the establishment of a comprehensive conflict management system. Since SMEs typically have fewer resources available for establishing conflict management, it must be carefully examined whether the individual components can be set up internally or implemented by external service providers. Bundling the means and resources of several companies, for example to develop a jointly used conflict contact point, is also a conceivable implementation variant.