Causes Of Conflicts In Tourism Sector And Conflict Resolution Techniques

COMMGMT3506 Managing Conflict and Change

Internal and External Reasons for Conflicts

It is certain that tourists are often considered as longing for relaxing; thus, is sensitive to events of conflicts in tourism sector. It is identified that over the past decade, a significant body of literature have been accumulated on the role of tourism in global peace. So, managing conflict in tourism organization has always been a great topic for academic research. The major purpose of this paper to investigate the reasons and factors for conflicts in tourism sector and resolution techniques to put forth the reaction to conflicts, to share opinions as well as evaluation on conflicts. The paper also discusses the types of conflict resolution practices from the organization perspectives of U.S Travel Association. It is identified that U.S Travel Association, in the recent time, has experienced conflicts in its workforce as there is a communication gap between male and female employees due to differences with respect to administrative attitudes. So, thereby, another purpose of the report is determine whether male and female staff at U.S Travel Association, are different from one another with respect to administrative attitude as well as exposed to conflicts.

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So, the significance of this paper lies in the fact that conflicts can occur due to several internal and external reasons and factors and this paper includes a detailed investigation to find the reasons for conflicts and provide suitable conflict resolutions techniques. The investigation is done in the form of a critical analysis, which includes facts and findings of existing research papers, newspaper articles containing real-world facts. Therefore, in order to resolve the conflicts occurred at U.S Travel Association, suitable conflict resolutions techniques have been developed from the analysis. When considering conflict resolution techniques, the paper is also determined to respond to the questions of what cause the conflict in workplace and why a resolution to conflict is important. The discussion throughout the paper has been done on the basis of this question.

Even though it emerges in multiple environments and levels, conflicts in general is known as a difficulty encountered by an individual or a particular group in the technique of selecting an opinion and disruption in decision-making mechanism as the outcome (Perrone et al., 2014). Besides this, despite the fact it arises from individual difference generally, conflict could also originate from the issues such as duties and organizational structure, co-dependency of jobs and organizational structure.

Halperin (2014) mentioned that when social input emerges as human factor, conflicts among the individuals are certain to occur as the result of individual difference particularly in today dynamic environment of competition and globalization. It is particular identified that every individual may experience different feelings, beliefs, attitudes and the whole is entirely depended on individual differences. For example, in the case of U.S Travel Association, it is particularly identified that there is a gap of communication and attitudinal issues between the higher and middle level of employees ( 2018).

Case Study: U.S Travel Association

The levels are determined on the basis of quality, skills and education but despite this quality based-hierarchy, employees at the middle claim that they are overburdened and they do not receive adequate support from higher level of management when it comes to dealing with convincing the visitors of East Asia. Consequently, there is attitudinal conflict in the workplace in the organization, which is certain to affect customer experience. Chan, Sit and Lau (2014) mentioned that conflict is a particular phenomenon that might emerge in every aspect of organizational life as well as it might introduce loads and costs for individuals and organizations. 

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It is identified that process model implies the fact that conflict is a technique that appears when an individual feels burdened and perceived blockage from other and takes steps to stop it by opposing. The major purpose of the conflict is to determine the phases of conflict techniques as well as manage by establishing control over conflict. For example, in the case of U.S Travel Association, conflict arises, as employees at the middle level feel overburdened due to lack of support from higher level of management. It is particularly identified that Customer Resolution Department at Travel Association are not able to provide customers with appropriate details of services and cost after the revisions occurred in July, 2018. New service deals and cost after the revisions are published in the work forum system but as middle management are not briefed by senior level verbally, they are not able to give the rebuttal to customers when customer questions back (, 2018). General Manager has frequently asked the senior executive about the brief of the revisions but the executives are yet to acknowledge due to clash of attitude and ego. Consequently, General Manager of service department has escalated the issue to Directors and CEO Travel Association through emails.

First stage of potential conflict: This stage is about the presence of conditions that create an opportunity for the conflict. It is comprehensible that this condition does not necessarily generate conflict but this might be an initial stage for a conflict to arise (Saeed et al., 2014). Initially, General Manager would often attend the board of meeting at Travel Association, but in the last few months, senior level management did not invite GM to the Board Meeting and brief of meeting was later explained to him but this situation provoked GM, which is the first of condition of conflict at Travel Association.

Stages of Potential Conflict

Second stage “Comprehension and Personalization”: In this stage, individual as well as group member often remain aware of the presence and the initial condition of the conflict but one needs to understand that perception of a conflict does not mean that it is being personalized (Baillien et al., 2014). When senior level of management did not inform and invite GM in the organization, GM’s started his own process of managing the work in the middle level but the group members were aware of the fact that there is a gap of interaction and communication between middle and senior level of management.

Third stage “behaviour”- This stage particularly expresses the actual behaviour of parties involved in conflict, which means that the conflict could now take the form of arguments, action of denying the action of other party, applying physical force. For example, when GM implemented his own practice of work at the middle level, senior management has specifically stopped providing data about employees leaves, additional pay offs and employee welfare schemes and then the protest has become two-way action.

Final stage “Consequence”- The communication of apparent conflicts as well as conflict management techniques regarding some outcome. Kim et al., (2015) stated that if the conflict outcome leads to improvement of group performance, it is considered as functional but if the performance is compromised, then conflict is not considered functional. However, in the case of U.S Travel Association, due to the stated conditions, overall performance is not adequate as customer travel experience is affected. This happens as customers are paying the charges but in return the services are hampered due to the internal managerial clash which is not public and exposed to customers.

As put forward by Beardsley (2013), the term conflict management seems to be extensive compared to the terms of conflict resolution. On the other side, Folarin (2015) performed a study and mentioned the fact that conflict resolution could express settlement of conflict while managing conflict could include both reconciliation of conflict as well as leading destructive conflicts towards constructive outcome. Author of this study has also mentioned the fact that conflict can be expressed as the technique which engages the phases of addressing the conflict and calculating its intensity. The method may also include the action of defining appropriate interventions methods through the evolution of intensity with respect to its effect as well as monitoring its outcome. This article also states the fact that the success of organization in conflict management could be indicative of the business structure, which could allow a structural interaction between individuals and groups.

Conflict Management vs Conflict Resolution

Leidner, Castano and Ginges (2013) mentioned that when it comes to tourism sector, majority of employees should have adequate knowledge and experience to accept different standards of judgements because they have to deal with people who come from variety of cultural backgrounds. Especially, the employees who tend to deal with visitors in the sector must show a genuine and honest attitude. Therefore, when it comes to managing conflict, the individuals as a group should demonstrate a genuine, honest as well as determined attitude to find suitable solution for conflict; so, the approach should be implemented by the virtue of trust between organizational members and by motivation for the cooperation. Olaleye and Arogundade (2013) performed a study and developed a constructive solution instead of carrying on the conflict. 

Conflict resolution is the way that two or more parties identify a way that they can solve their conflicts and disagreements by finding a peaceful solution. The conflict can be due to various reason but it should be resolved quickly so that no permanent damage is done. Spaho (2013) state that conflict needs to be solved so that they do not escalate to a high level and affect the relationship between different individuals. There are many different solutions or ways to resolve the conflict. Firstly, the negotiation strategy is used which is the most common solution for conflict resolution. According to Kaufman, Honeyman and Schneider (2017) negotiation is the vehicle which can address the conflicts is a non-violent manner. This solution is used when the individuals have both common and different views of a situation. In such cases, a common ground is reached where both the parties can be satisfied with the result. Secondly, the superior goal strategy is used which means that the main purpose of the conflict is determined and the best solution is derived irrespective of the difference in ideas. Thirdly, third-party intervention is used where another individual gets involved in the conflict process with the aim to reach a final decision and to break up the conflict. These are the basic solutions for the resolution of conflict among many others. Moore (2014) proposes that the goal of these resolutions should be to produce a solution which will be agreeable to all the parties and to not permanently damage or hurt the relationship that existed among the parties.

Chang, Luo and Zhang (2018) further argues that even though the goal of third-party intervention is to reduce or eliminate the conflict in an unbiased manner, however, all third party interventions do not have the same goal and many take part in resolutions as they might have their own interest in mind. However, no matter what the reason these people has a huge part in the resolution of conflict. There are different solutions and stages of conflict resolution which are as follows. Firstly, understanding the conflict is very necessary. The different reasons because if which the conflict has emerged should be first determined to solve it. The person who is resolving the conflict should also determine their personal interest in the conflict is resolved so that the conflict is solved properly. Along with the personal interest, the interests of the parties should also be determined so that it becomes easy to solve the conflict. Once the interest is found then they will be able to solve the conflict easily as the main reason for the conflict will be identified.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

Secondly, Olaleye and Arogundade (2013) state that proper communication with the opposition is important. If communication is done directly among both the parties then it can open many ways for solving the conflict. Without any argument, the parties should peacefully communicate with one another and listen to each other’s views so that they are able to understand what the other is saying. During conflicts, it is hard to listen to the other as each party is determined to prove their dominance over the other. Hence, it is important that they talk without any arguments so that they can reach at one common point where they both can agree. Thirdly, develop proper ideas to find that common ground which can stop the conflict from rising further.

During the communication process of the parties, the third party who is resolving the conflict should brainstorm and find solutions and ideas which can stop the conflict between them and everyone can move on peacefully. For this certain rules have to be established for both the parties and the parties have to be willing to solve the conflict. If the parties are not willing them no amount of work will be able to solve the conflict. The main purpose has to be identified and the issue on which the conflict has started has to be determined. There could be many ideas which are found during this process (Leidner, Castano & Ginges, 2013). Fourthly, choosing the best idea is important to stop the conflict. The best idea would be the one which is agreeable to both the parties and respects both of their views and opinions.

There are different styles of conflicts which are used during conflict resolution. The first and foremost way is to avoid the conflict which means that it is better to pretend that the conflict never occurred in the first place. Secondly, is giving in which means that it is better to make peace and let the other party win, than to continue the conflict. The third style is standing the ground which means that the individual sticks on to their argument despite the fact that the conflict might grow. The fourth style is compromising which means that both the parties would move towards a common ground so that the conflict is resolved properly. The last style is collaborating which means that other parties would get involved in the conflict so that they are able to help the parties to understand and solve the conflict.


There are many situations where conflict is inevitable but it can be solved with the help of proper resolution techniques. A real life scenario that occurred was a conflict between an employee and a supervisor where the employee argued that he was not able to complete the project due to his ill health which was quite serious. The supervisor was not ready to accept the explanation thinking that it was an excuse for avoiding the project. However, the employee kept on insisting that he was telling the truth. The manager intervened between them when the matter got serious and asked the employee to provide evidence that he was speaking the truth and told the supervisor to look at the evidence before jumping to any conclusions. After the employee provided the medical certificate and prescriptions, it was clear that he was telling the truth and the supervisor was unable to say anything further. Hence, in this situation the manager was able to resolve the conflict with the help of collaboration style.   

Even though the way that a conflict has to be solved in the same way, the solution for each conflict would be different depending on the type and the intensity of the conflict. Not every conflict can be solved by simply communicating with the parties. Sometimes communication could lead to more intense conflicts. Conflicts which are related to values can be solved by convincing the parties regarding the values and finding the common values of both the parties (Beardsley, 2013). The main problems should be approached which is the reason and even if the parties disagree with each other, they should be respectful towards each other and each other’s values. Disagreement should not lead to conflict as every person is bound to have individual opinions. Understanding and acceptance of each other’s view is the best solution which can stop the conflict among people and reduce the tension that is evident between them. Therefore, for every conflict, it is mandatory that the result is a peaceful agreement among all the parties and that the main reason for the conflict has an answer which is accepted by the parties.                      

Firstly, Board and executive members of U.S Travel Association need to be involved in conflict resolution process. The executive bodies should apply the negotiation method, in which clash between the middle level and senior level of management in Travel Association should be addressed by agreement. Board members should elaborate the fact that due to internal conflict, overall performance of the organization is being hampered; for example, despite the demands and growth opportunities of tourism businesses, Travel Association is not able to gain appropriate return as rate of repeated visits of tourist are less. As per the guideline of board members, senior management could meet somewhere in between by compromising with their own purpose, which means, for the tourism service development of the organization, members of senior management has to stay away from their personal differences and work unanimously.  In most of the cases, compromising party generally has less control and power over the function but in the case of U.S Association, senior management has to compromise because both lower and middle level of employees are inspired and influenced by senior management.  Thereby, if members at the senior level do not agree to the condition, conflict may again arise later in the operation.

Besides the above stated solution, U.S Travel Association could apply solving the Problem method. This technique of resolving the issues involve techniques of defining the conflicting parties. This means that the organization has to first review the reasons for conflict, simultaneously presenting a set of options and bringing them together to an appropriate course of action on which both middle and senior level of management could agree. For example, the work structure and job responsibilities in the organization should be designed in a way that both level of management are equally depended on each other. For example, feedback and service requirements of tourists and visitors should be collected by middle level management staff, while the members of senior level management needs to design the service strategy considering the feedback and service requirements. So, here senior organizational members are significantly depended on General Managers for collecting the information.


In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that department of work generally does not have significant effect on experiencing conflict. This means, any organizational member regardless of their department of work could observe conflict. Conflict at U.S Travel Association is specific but not all organizations in the tourism sector experience conflict in a same manner. This research report effectively discusses the major reasons of conflict in business and in order to make the analysis relevant to contemporary business environment, report considers a real-world facts. Thereby, conflict and conflict processes have been discussed with the evidences of attitudinal clash between middle and senior level of management of U.S Travel Association. A detailed review of existing paper have been conducted which includes conflict management and the techniques of resolving conflict in the workplace.


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