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Three Views Of Conflict
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Three Views Of Conflict

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  • 1. THREE VIEWS OF CONFLICT
    • TRADITIONAL VIEW
    • Conflict is dysfunctional, destructive and irrational
    • Usually caused by poor communication, a lack of trust, or a failure to be responsible to the needs of others.
    • STAMP IT OUT!
    • “ HUMAN RELATIONS” VIEW
    • Conflict is natural in groups and organizations
    • It may even be beneficial on occasion. Learn to live with it.
    • TOLERATE IT!
    • INTERACTIONIST VIEW
    • Without conflict, we become static and non-responsive
    • Conflict keeps us viable and creative, but there are two kinds of conflict:
    • FUNCTIONAL and DYSFUNCTIONAL.
    • Functional conflict improves long-term group performance.
    • ENCOURAGE IT!
  • 2. SOURCES OF CONFLICT
    • COMMUNICATION BARRIERS
    • Semantic difficulties
    • Misunderstandings
    • Noise
    • INCOMPATIBLE GOALS
    • Departmental specialization
    • Long v. short-term objectives
    • SCARCE RESOURCES
    • Money, information, supplies
    • Equipment and building space
    • PERSONAL VARIABLES
    • Personality
    • Differing value systems
    • JURISDICTIONAL AMBIGUITIES
    • Task responsibility and authority
    • Role ambiguity and role conflicts
    • POWER AND STATUS DIFFERENCES
    • UNRESOLVED PRIOR CONFLICTS
  • 3.
    • ROLE AMBIGUITY
    • UNCLEAR PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES
    • CONFUSING INFORMATION ABOUT EXPECTED JOB BEHAVIORS
    • UNCERTAINTY ABOUT CONSEQUENCES OF JOB BEHAVIORS
    • ROLE CONFLICTS
    • INTRASENDER
    • The messages from a single sender conflict
    • INTERSENDER
    • Different role sender messages from multiple senders are received, but the messages are incompatible
    • INTERROLE
    • When the roles to be played conflict
    • PERSON-ROLE
    • When my personal attitudes or values conflict with my role expectations
  • 4. CONFLICT INTENSITY CONTINUUM
    • MINOR DISAGREEMENTS, MISUNDERSTANDINGS
    • OVERT QUESTIONING OR CHALLENGING OTHERS
    • ASSERTIVE VERBAL ATTACKS
    • THREATS AND ULTIMATUMS
    • AGGRESSIVE PHYSICAL ATTACKS
    • OVERT EFFORTS TO DESTROY THE OTHER PARTY
    • AT WHAT POINT DOES THE CONFLICT BECOME DYSFUNCTIONAL?
    • HOW DO WE “DEFUSE” DYSFUNCTIONAL CONFLICT?
  • 5. CONFLICT STIMULATION TECHNIQUES (SOME CONFLICT IS GOOD!)
    • INCREASE COMPETITION AMONG INDIVIDUALS AND TEAMS
    • Contests and incentives based on performance…we know the rules!
    • COMMUNICATE WITH LESS PRECISION
    • Send ambiguous messages and give very general instructions which will be open to differing interpretations of what to do, etc.
    • HIRE OR BRING IN OUTSIDERS
    • Add people who differ regarding their backgrounds, values and attitudes (increase heterogeneity)…we need some new ideas!
    • RESTRUCTURE THE ORGANIZATION…MAKE CHANGES
    • Realign work groups, alter the rules, etc…shake the place up!
    • ENCOURAGE DISSENT…APPOINT A DEVIL’S ADVOCATE
    • Sensitize the members that it’s ok to disagree or raise concerns. Designate a critic to purposely argue against the majority position.
  • 6. CONTROLLING CONFLICT (LEARNING HOW TO LIVE WITH CONFLICT)
    • EXPAND THE RESOURCE BASE
    • Can we find more resources so we don’t have to fight over them?
    • Find ways to increase budgets, provide more space, etc.
    • SET SUPERORDINATE GOALS
    • Focus attention on higher-level objectives…the corporate goals that cannot be attained without cooperation.
    • IMPROVE THE COORDINATION OF INTERDEPENDENCIES
    • Develop better coordination and communication channels to bridge the gap between interdependent departments and groups. Consider liaison roles, task forces, and other integrating mechanisms.
    • MATCH PERSONALITIES & WORK HABITS OF EMPLOYEES
    • Don’t make incompatible personalities work together continuously. Consider a transfer for one or both of them to other units.
  • 7. RESOLVING AND ELIMINATING CONFLICT (CONFLICT IS BAD…GET RID OF IT)
    • AVOIDANCE OF CONFLICT
    • If I ignore it…maybe it will die down and go away! Separate the parties involved…give them time to cool off.
    • COMPROMISE
    • If our goals are incompatible, we must bargain with each other to resolve the conflict. Each party gives something up to reach an agreement (a “lose-lose” situation).
    • CONFRONT THE CONFLICT AND RESOLVE IT
    • Sit down and discuss the issues face-to-face in a mature fashion. Search for a “win-win” solution, or agree on how the conflict will be resolved (superior decision, arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, etc).
  • 8. CONFLICT RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES
    • AVOIDANCE
    • Withdraw from or suppress conflict
    • SMOOTH OVER
    • Play down differences, emphasize common interests
    • COMPROMISE
    • Each party gives something up
    • AUTHORITATIVE COMMAND
    • Top management mandates a solution
    • ALTER STRUCTURAL VARIABLES
    • Redesign jobs, reassign tasks and personnel
    • TRAINING TO CHANGE ATTITUDES & BEHAVIORS
    • Raising sensitivity, learning to negotiate, etc.
    • PROBLEM-SOLVING MEETINGS
    • Face-to-face discussions to find a “win-win” solution
    • FOCUS ON SUPERORDINATE GOALS
    • A corporate goal that cannot be attained without cooperation
    • EXPAND SCARCE RESOURCES
    • Find ways to increase budgets, provide more space, etc.
  • 9. CONFLICT-HANDLING STYLES GRID THOMAS (76)
    • ASSERTIVE ---------------------------------------------------------
    • COMPETITIVE COLLABORATIVE
    • SATISFY OWN
    • CONCERNS COMPROMISING
    • AVOIDANT ACCOMMODATIVE
    • UNASSERTIVE ---------------------------------------------------------
    • UNCOOPERATIVE COOPERATIVE
    • SATISFY THE
    • CONCERNS OF OTHERS
    • Is this a DISTRIBUTIVE (Zero-sum) game -- “How shall we split the pie?”
    • Or, is this an INTEGRATIVE (Proactive) game -- “How to create a larger pie?”
  • 10. THOMAS’ CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES - 1
    • AVOIDANT
    • NON-ATTENTION
    • PHYSICAL SEPARATION
    • LIMIT INTERACTION
    • Let people cool down and regain perspective
    • Issue is trivial, more important issues are pressing
    • Potential disruptions outweigh the benefits of resolution
    • There is no chance for you to satisfy your concerns
    • When others can resolve the conflict more effectively
    • ACCOMMODATIVE
    • APPEASEMENT – GIVE AN “OLIVE BRANCH”
    • SMOOTH OVER DIFFERENCES
    • “ CAVE IN”
    • When harmony and stability are quite important
    • When the goals pursued are not critical to us
    • To build social credits (idiosyncratic) for later issues
    • When you find you were wrong, or to show you’re reasonable
    • To satisfy others and maintain their cooperation
  • 11. THOMAS’ CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES - 2
    • COMPETITIVE
    • USE OF FORCE, POWER
    • AUTHORITATIVE COMMANDS
    • ALLIES, DOMINANT COALITIONS
    • When the goals pursued are incompatible with others’ goals
    • When important, yet unpopular actions must be taken
    • On issues where there can be no compromise, and time is critical
    • When we think we’re “in the right”
    • Against those who have taken unfair advantage in the past
    • COMPROMISING
    • BARGAINING
    • MEDIATION
    • ARBITRATION
    • When opponents with equal power have mutually exclusive goals
    • To arrive at expedient solutions under time pressure
    • To achieve temporary settlements to complex issues
    • As a backup (“Plan B”) when competitive and collaborative attempts fail
    • When goals are not worth the disruption of assertive approaches
  • 12. THOMAS’ CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES - 3
    • COLLABORATIVE
    • PROBLEM-SOLVING MEETINGS
    • CONFRONTATION AND HONEST COMMUNICATION
    • SEARCH FOR SUPERORDINATE GOALS
    • EXPAND SCARCE RESOURCES
    • When both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised
    • When the goals of both parties differ, but are potentially compatible
    • When interaction and cooperation are very important for goal attainment
    • To work through feelings that have interfered with a relationship
  • 13. DIAGNOSING YOUR CONFLICT SITUATION
    • WHAT IS IT YOU WANT OR NEED?
    • Precisely state your objectives
    • WHAT DOES THE OTHER PARTY WANT OR NEED
    • Have them clearly reveal their most basic objective
    • WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DISAGREE OVER?
    • Facts? ..Criteria? ..Priorities? ..Processes? ..Objectives to be pursued? ..Methods of achievement?
    • WHAT COULD YOU LOSE IF THE CONFLICT CONTINUES?
    • WHAT OTHER COMMON OBJECTIVES DO YOU AND THE OTHER PARTY SHARE?
    • MUST YOU HAVE COOPERATION AND HELP FROM THIS PARTY IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS?
  • 14. NEGOTIATION
    • STEPS IN THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS
    • PREPARATION & PLANNING
    • DEFINITION OF GROUND RULES
    • CLARIFICATION & JUSTIFICATION
    • BARGAINING & PROBLEM-SOLVING
    • CLOSURE & IMPLEMENTATION
    • ISSUES IN NEGOTIATION
    • Do personality traits affect negotiations? NO
    • Are there gender differences in negotiations? NO & YES
    • WOMEN ARE NOT MORE COOPERATIVE AND PLEASANT TO NEGOTIATE WITH,
    • BUT MEN DO NEGOTIATE SLIGHTLY BETTER OUTCOMES THAN WOMEN.
    • Does one’s cultural background affect the negotiation process? YES
    • AMERICANS PRAISE OTHERS BEFORE THEY CRITICIZE
    • GIVE SMALL CONCESSIONS
    • TALK ABOUT BOTH BUSINESS AND PERSONAL THINGS
    • WANT TO BE LIKED
    • WANT TO GET THE DEAL DONE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
    • FRENCH LIKE CONFLICT, SEE THE PRAISE AS MANIPULATIVE
    • THEY DRAW OUT THE NEGOTIATIONS
    • DON’T SEEM TO CARE WHETHER THEY ARE LIKED
    • ISRAELIS AND BRITISH THINK AMERICANS CHATTER TOO MUCH ABOUT SMALL TALK
    • INDIANS FEEL THE AMERICANS AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION BECAUSE THEY DON’T INTERRUPT THE DISCUSSIONS REGULARLY FOR CLARIFICATION.
    • ASIANS AND ARABS NEGOTIATE “BUSINESS” AFTER A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN FORMED, AND USUALLY RECIPROCATE WITH CONCESSIONS, BUT THE RUSSIANS NEVER DO.
  • 15. GROUND RULES FOR CONFRONTATION
    • Review and clarify the issues and facts
    • Begin with a positive overture
    • Communicate freely, don’t hold back grievances
    • Address problems, not personalities
    • Don’t attack things that are irrelevant
    • Keep focused on specifics – don’t argue aimlessly
    • Don’t use inflammatory rhetoric
    • Make sure all participants say all they want to say