Due to the large amount of
literature there are a lot of different definitions of a conflict, which is
also due to the different perspectives on conflicts. The word conflict is
derived from the Latin word conflictus,
which means clash (Mele, 2011).
Therefore a conflict is, according to Mele (2011),
“a clash between divergent perspectives, interests,
objectives, or behaviors” (p. 1378). There are definitions that focus more on
conflicts on the operations of the project and other focus on the issue of
perception. Operational conflicts focus on the disagreement about the execution
or interpretation of tasks and obstructing each other in the tasks that need to
be done (Jaffar et al., 2011). Levi (2001)
focuses on the perception issue and uses the following definition: “Conflict is
the process by which people or groups perceive that others have taken some
action that has a negative effect on their interest” (p. 116).
Wall and Callister (1995)
define conflicts as “a process in which one party perceives that its interests
are being opposed or negatively affected by another party” (p. 517).
A difference between the
operational definitions and definitions on perception, is the amount of people
‘involved’ in the conflict. To disagree about a task, the operational
definition, multiple parties are involved. If someone perceives their interests
are not taken into account, the definition on perception, only one party or
person has to be involved. If one person or party perceives that the other
party is opposing their interests, it can lead to irrational behavior of that
party. In a Best Value project this can change the dynamics of the new type of relation
between client and contractor. This can have a big impact on the collaboration,
performance and can trigger more conflicts. This definition of conflict should therefore
be used in this research.