Domains of organizational conflicts: Superiority, Injustice, Vulnerability, Distrust, Helplessness

15th March 2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Organizational conflict, or workplace conflict, is a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests between people working together. Conflict takes many forms in organizations. There is the inevitable clash between formal authority and power and those individuals and groups affected. There are disputes over how revenues should be divided, how the work should be done, and how long and hard people should work. There are jurisdictional disagreements among individuals, departments, and between unions and management. There are subtler forms of conflict involving rivalries, jealousies, personality clashes, role definitions, and struggles for power and favor. There is also conflict within individuals between competing needs and demands to which individuals respond in different ways.

Roy and Judy Eidelson (2003) investigated some of the important roles that beliefs may play in triggering or constraining conflict between groups. On the basis of a review of relevant literature, five belief domains stand out as especially noteworthy: Superiority, injustice, vulnerability, distrust and helplessness.


Individual-level core belief: This is a belief that an individual is better than anyone else and therefore many of the social constructs because the individual sees their own thoughts as “privileged” and therefore do not get along well with others. People with this belief often have attitudes of “specialness, deservingness, and entitlement.”

Group-level worldview: When moving from the individual-level core belief to the Group-level worldview most of the concepts stay the same. The major difference is that these attitudes apply to large groups instead of individuals. One example of this is “ethnocentric monoculturalism,” a term meaning that one sees their own cultural heritage as better than another’s.


Individual-level core belief: This belief is that an individual has been mistreated in a way that affects them in a major way. This mistreatment is most often an interpretation of “disappointment and betrayal”.

Group-level worldview: This is the receiving end of the superiority group-level. This group takes grievance at another group for the same reasons an individual takes grievance at another. For perceived injustices from disappointment, betrayal, and mistreatment.


Individual-level core belief: This is a constant anxiety. It is when a person feels that he/she is not in control and feel as though they are living “perpetually in harm’s way”.

Group-level worldview: A group that feels vulnerability due to an imagined threat in the future. This strengthens the group’s ties and allows them to “focus group behavior in specific directions that include hostility.”


Individual-level core belief: This is based on a “presumed hostility and malignant intent seen in others”. It drives one to act in hostile ways and prevents the creation of healthy relationships.

Group-level worldview: This separates the in-group from the out-group in a way that is not easily rectified, as the in-group forms a lasting stereotype that is applied to the out-group and must be disproven by the out-group.


Individual-level core belief: A deep set belief that no matter what an individual does the outcome will be unfavourable. As though the individual is “lacking the necessary ability” or a belief the individual did not have sufficient help or the environment is against them.

Group-level worldview: When a group has those same beliefs of dependency and powerlessness. This also reflects how much growth the environment has to offer.