Consensus and Conflict Theory: A Comparison

Filed in Educational Tips by on May 27, 2022 0 Comments

Theory of consensus and theory of conflict are both important perspectives on group dynamics. Both perspectives can be useful in understanding group behavior, but which perspective is the most useful? In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between the concepts of consensus and conflict theory. We also discuss how each perspective can be used to better analyze group dynamics.

Consensus and Conflict Theory: A Comparison

similarities between consensus and conflict theory

Theories of consensus and conflict are two of the most important tools for leaders in conflict management. In a world where information can be accessible at any moment, leaders must have more than just a passing knowledge of how to effectively manage disagreements as well as intense competition. They need to understand how to consistently achieve the desired outcome through collaboration, compromise, and consensus—the three pillars of successful management. In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two leadership theories. We’ll also discuss examples of when one should be used instead of the other, when they complement one another, and how they affect the way a leader conducts business.

What is Consensus Theory?

The consensus approach to decision-making is often characterized by groups of people reaching a “common understanding” about the best course of action. In the early stages of a business, a group of people may reach a consensus about what the company’s core values are and then work together to create a culture that supports those values. In the long term, this may be enough to sustain a company’s success. But Consensus Theory also recognizes that consensus is rarely the ideal solution for all situations. Sometimes, a group may find itself in a state of “competing agendas,” in which the people trying to reach a decision are at odds with one another. This can be so when people lack a clear understanding of their collective interests and values, or when there is a lack of collaboration across team members.

What is Conflict Theory?

While consensus is an excellent tool for achieving goals when everyone involved has a clear understanding of what’s involved, it can be challenging to use in the real world. People are unlikely to agree about everything, and disagreements may arise. Moreover, in some situations, a strong case can be made for one side’s point of view being wrong—especially if there is also a conflict of interest between the two parties. In this case, it is easy to obtain a majority decision on one side, only to see it overturned on the other side by those who didn’t get to speak up. But the most frequent reason for failed outcomes in business is a lack of consensus. As a result, when people aren’t allowed to speak their minds, they may simply shut themselves off and refuse to budge, no matter how much evidence is at stake.

When Is Consensus the Answer?

When you have a small group of people who are working toward a common goal and they are all on the same page, you’ve got a chance for success. Consensus is great when the group consists of only a few people, or when there is no chance of a majority decision. If there is the potential for a majority decision, but everyone is present and willing to speak, consensus is the best option. This is because people are unlikely to be “locked in” by their desires and fears, and they are more likely to admit that they are wrong if everyone else is on the same page too.

When Is Conflict the Answer?

When there is no chance of a consensus, or when the number of people involved makes speaking impossible—as in a situation of conflict. The first step in resolving a conflict is to acknowledge that there is one. Once that happens, the most common strategy is to “win the argument”, which is to not defend your position but to give the other party something they want. If this doesn’t work and the other person keeps arguing with you, you’ve got two options: give up and walk away, or try a different approach. When there’s no chance of a consensus, speak up and be counted. When there are no more voices to be heard, the conflict is over and you have the upper hand. When in conflict, always try to be the one to “win the argument”.

Key Takeaway

The most important thing you can do in a conflict situation is to be upfront and honest with both parties. Be upfront about what you want and what you need, and ask for what you want. Be upfront about what you don’t want, and try to put your desires in the other person’s shoes. This may sound simple, but it’s rarely done in today’s world of instant information and social media. If people are always right, or the other person is always right, then good leaders will lead by being upfront, being kind, and showing respect—all while staying calm and collected. Remember: in a conflict situation, the person who “wins the argument” is usually right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.