Lessons learned from rigid conflict resolution in an organization: Construction conflict case study

Jong H. Ock, Seung H. Han

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Success in construction projects mainly depends on how well project managers handle conflicts. There are in general five conflict resolution approaches: withdrawal, compromise, forcing, smoothing, and problem solving. Conflict results are very relevant to the interaction of the approaches. Improperly managed, the interaction often generates psychological residue such as anger that ruins the project. The main objective of this research is, through a case study, to enhance the comprehension of the approaches, their interactions, and the psychological changeovers involved. Although conflict resolution among the contractual parties with privity has been studied widely, the conflicts among the parties either in an owner or in a contractor organization have been rarely researched, although they frequently cause destructive claims to the contractual parties. This research identifies a real construction conflict as the case study that occurred between two functional entities of a local Korean government. The case illustrates that a badly managed conflict in an owner organization causes undesirable claims between contractual parties. Based on the previous research regarding the five approaches and psychological transitions in a conflict resolution process, the case is analyzed to recognize the approaches and psychological changeovers absorbed. Useful lessons from the case are identified through a graduate class discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Engineering(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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