Conflict is a natural occurrence in an organization whenever an action by one party is perceived as preventing or interfering with the goals, needs, or actions of another party. Conflict can be positive when it focuses on solving problems constructively and results in increasing organizational productivity.During a conflict, if someone used the term “war,” saying, for example, “We shot down that idea,” vs. “opportunity”, saying, “What are all the possibilities for solving this problem?” how would it make you feel?Typically, people become defensive and combative when a metaphor of war is used, but become open-minded and cooperative when a metaphor of opportunity is used. Therefore, we need to carefully monitor our choice of words in conflict situations.
Experts once believed that all conflict threatened managerial authority and thus had to be squelched. Then the human relationists came along and recognized the inevitability of conflict and advised managers to learn to live with it.Currently, experts believe that conflict can have both positive and negative outcomes and that organizations can suffer from having too little or too much conflict. You will note from this graph that some level of conflict is good for organizations, but too little or too much detracts from achieving organizational objectives. If there is too little conflict, companies become apathetic, continue doing what they’re doing, and resist change. Too much conflict can cause dissatisfaction, hostility, and a lack of teamwork.
Whether conflict is functional or dysfunctional is usually determined by the outcome of the conflict. Functional conflict stimulates creative resolution of problems, prevents complacency, and results in positive outcomes that can enhance performance. For example, if the quality of one part of a production operation is declining, it can cause conflict between that department and the next stage of the production process. If they work together to correct the problem, the overall quality of the final product will improve. If they don’t, they will both suffer.
The book lists more than a dozen antecedents of conflict. Let’s go over a few key ones here:Incompatible personalities or value systems can also be thought of as personal differences. Examples include interpersonal value conflicts, personality differences, different decision-making styles, and different expectations, all of which can serve to create a situation in which someone perceives their interests are at risk. These kinds of differences are the hardest to resolve because they are personal and may affect one’s values.Role ambiguity/overload occurs when role expectations exceed a party’s ability to respond effectively; for example, too much to do can cause something not to get done which results in conflict with those dependent on the output. Interdependent tasks can be an antecedent to conflict when one department’s quality directly impacts another department or when one person’s productivity is the dependent on another person’s input.Finally, competition for limited resources, such as money, personnel, and equipment can lead to conflicts among individuals and groups within organizations.
Listed here are three desired outcomes of conflict.Agreement is desired because unresolved conflicts typically come back as problems in the future. Therefore, it is best to handle conflicts positively so that a mutually acceptable agreement can be made.Stronger Relationships are desired because conflict that is resolved positively is more likely to lead to future interaction and information sharing between parties.Learning results from positively resolved conflict that helps shape our behavior and helps us grow as individuals.
What type of conflict is this? – Personality conflict between two employeesWhat should she do? Communicate directly with the other person to resolve the perceived conflictAvoid dragging co-workers into the conflictIf dysfunctional conflict persists, seek help from direct supervisors or human resource specialists
Three types of conflict are personality conflict, intergroup conflict, and cross-cultural conflict
Chris works with Dirk on another project. Dirk approaches Chris and begins to complain about Linda.As a third-party, what should he do?All employees need to be familiar with and follow company policies for diversity, anti-discrimination, and sexual harassmentDo not take sides in someone else’s personality conflictSuggest the parties work things out themselves in a constructive and positive wayIf dysfunctional conflict persists, refer the problem to parties’ direct supervisors
All employees need to be familiar with and follow company policies for diversity, anti-discrimination, and sexual harassmentInvestigate and document conflictIf appropriate, take corrective actionIf necessary, attempt informal dispute resolutionRefer difficult conflict to human resource specialists or hired counselors for formal resolution attempts and other interventions
Interacting with individuals from different cultures can create conflicts or hurt feelings unknowingly. Research by Tung identified nine specific ways to facilitate interaction with host-country nationals ranked from most to least useful.U.S. managers tend to be the opposite of what you see listed on this slide. They are culturally characterized as poor listeners, blunt to the point of insensitivity, and excessively competitive.
Answer: A, keeping the groups apart may foster in-group, out-group thinking and misperceptions about the other group.
Researchers have categorized conflict styles based on two dimensions: concern for others and concern for self. Put another way, we can discuss each of these styles in terms of who loses and who wins.The dominating style can be described as the “I win, you lose” perspective. Those with this style are characterized as being assertive and uncooperative and striving to have their own needs met at the other’s expense. This style is good if the aggressor is right and has a better solution than a group would come up with. It’s bad when it results in poorer human relations and causes resentment among others.The obliging/accommodating style is the “I lose, you win” perspective. This style is characterized as being unassertive and cooperative, neglecting self to satisfy others; believing that being accepted by others is more important than achieving personal goals; not wanting to cause trouble, and being self-sacrificing and generous. This style is good when relationships are maintained, but it may be counterproductive if the accommodator has a better idea or solution. This style works best when the relationship is the most important consideration, the issue is important to the other party but not to you, and time is limited. If this approach is used repeatedly, it may breed contempt on the part of the accommodators and they may get taken advantage of.The avoiding style is the “I lose and you lose” perspective. This style is characterized by being uncooperative and unassertive, not being concerned with self or others, not addressing the conflict, withdrawing, side stepping, and postponing. This style is good when it maintains a relationship that would be hurt if the issue were resolved. However, the issue doesn’t get resolved; and if this is used too often, the problem will get worse because the problem is unlikely to go away on its own.The integrating/collaborating style is the “you win, I win” perspective. This style is characterized by being assertive and cooperative, satisfying both parties’ concerns, finding underlying issues, reaching creative solutions, and colluding. This problem-solving style tries to find the solution that will meet everyone’s needs. Those with this style are willing to change to meet a mutually beneficial solution that is based on open and honest communication. This style is good because it seeks optimal solutions; however, it can take time, patience, and lots of discussion to get to it. This is the best approach when maintaining relationships is important, time is available, group goals are valued more than personal goals, and when an important issue is involved where finding the best solution is critical.The compromising style is the “I win some, you win some” perspective. This style is characterized by using intermediate assertiveness and cooperativeness and achieving a mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies both by splitting the difference and exchanging concessions. This style is useful because it can usually be accomplished quickly while maintaining relationships. The down side is that the results may be sub-optimal and can lead to playing games such as asking for twice as much initially so that the compromise will be closer to what they wanted to begin with. Research has shown that managers that exhibit flexibility by using a variety of strategies are more successful at managing conflict than those who rely mainly on their preferred style.
Answer: D, Research shows that one’s personality influences the conflict management style they will adapt. People with high need for affiliation tend to use an obliging style most and a dominating style least.
Many companies are putting ADR policies into place to encourage a resolution to a conflict that is fair to all but does not result in a costly lawsuit for both parties. Your book mentions several types of ADR techniques, including facilitation, conciliation, peer review, and ombudsman. Two common ones are described here—mediation and arbitration.
Two types are distributive and integrative negotiation.Distributive negotiation occurs when the parties are take a win-lose perspective based on the premise that whatever you gain, I lose, and vice versa. This occurs when there is only one issue at stake. For example, you use this approach when bargaining with a vendor on the street. In most situations, however, there is typically more than one issue and there are many ways to add value to the parties by “broadening the pie.” This is called integrative negotiation and is characterized by people not taking stands or positions but instead focusing on their and the other party’s underlying interests. It requires that both parties keep an open mind about how to meet each other’s interests rather than assuming that in order for my interests to be met, then yours must not be.
The integrative approach involves a five-step process presented on this and on the next slide. Before the negotiation, parties should separately complete the following steps:Step one is clarifying the interests as being either yours, theirs, or common interests. Before the negotiation, you should understand what your actual interests are. For example, assume you are representing your company and negotiating a deal with a client that involves how much they will pay for your goods or services. That means that money, for example may not really be your interest. Your interests relate to what that money will do for you, such as make your company more profitable or satisfy employees by being able to reward them with bonuses.The next step is to identify options. Again, before the negotiation, you may have ideas about elements of value that will meet your interests. For example, working with this client may represent breaking into a new market, or working with a larger company than you’ve ever worked with before. Having that client’s name on your client list may be valuable to you because of the reputation that will be conveyed to future clients. Assuming they are happy with your service, you may ask them to be interviewed and quotes used in marketing materials. Or working on this particular project will be a developmental opportunity for your staff so this is valuable to you because you want them to be challenged and grow professionally for future work.Step three is to design alternative deal packages where you mix and match elements of value. At this point you can put together multiple deals that could be compared in terms of their value to both parties. Maybe you give a discount if they’ll let you use less experienced staff, or they pay more for an entirely experienced team.Steps four and five identify what’s involved in selecting and perfecting the deal.During the negotiation parties should complete these steps.During step one, you will share interests and learn more about what the other’s interests are.Step two requires the parties to discuss elements of value. This is when you may discover elements of value to the other party that you had not thought of before.Steps three through five involve the process of designing, selecting, and perfecting the deal in such a way as to ensure mutual agreement and to build relationships for future deals.
Answer = A
Taken from HR Magazine May 2005 pg. 10s “Managing Employee Relations”Speak your mind and heartAddress the problem directly and speak upListen wellFocus on what the person says, not your response to what is saidExpress strong feelings appropriatelyDon’t attach the individual doing the talking, say you understand their point of view and will work to find a solutionRemain rational for as long as you canKeep focused on resolving the conflictReview what has been saidClarify and reiterate the issues so you are sure you understand the crux of the issueLearn to give and takeMake sure both parties involved in the conflict are heardAvoid all harmful statements“Do no harm” - verbal attacks will only exacerbate the issue.
Conflict• One party perceives its interests are being opposed or set back by another party• Is conflict always bad?• During a conflict, if someone used the term “war” vs. “opportunity”, how would it make you feel? Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Conflict Intensity & OutcomesPositiveNeutral Too little Appropriate Too much conflict conflict conflictNegative Low Moderate High Intensity Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Functional vs. Dysfunctional• Functional Conflict serves organization’s interests – Typically issue-focused – Stimulates creativity• Dysfunctional Conflict threatens organization’s interests – Typically person- focused – Breeds hostility – Stifles communication Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Dysfunctional Conflict Costs• Fortune 500 senior executives spend 20 percent of their time in litigation activities.• Typical managers spend up to 30 percent of their time dealing with conflict.• The turnover costs for an employee are anywhere from between 75 percent and 150 percent of their annual salary.• 16 percent of employees report conflict with a supervisor as the main reason for leaving their last job. Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Why Conflict Matters• “The best insurance against crossing the ethical divide is a roomful of skeptics.”• “CEOs must actively encourage dissent among senior managers by creating decision-making processes, reporting relationships, and incentives that encourage opposing viewpoints…”• “By advocating dissent, top executives can create a climate where wrongdoing will not go unchallenged.” Source: The crisis in corporate governance, 5/6/2002, BusinessWeek Special Report Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Leadership w/out Easy Answers There is a relationship between transformational leadership, organizational citizenship and follower performance. There is an even higher correlation between the level of debate among subordinates and management and higher levels of successful innovation. Adaptive conflict, the ability of followers to have input, be heard and acknowledged by management, is at the core of successful transformational leadership. (Heifetz, 1994) Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Conflict Sources • Incompatible personalities or value systems • Role ambiguity/ overload • Interdependent tasks • Competition for limited resources • What else can you think of? Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Desired Conflict Outcomes1. Agreement: strive for equitable and fair agreements that last2. Stronger Relationships: build bridges of goodwill and trust for the future3. Learning: greater self-awareness and creative problem solving Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Personality ConflictsDirk and Linda are working closely togetheron a project. However, they have verydifferent personalities and working styles. Forexample, Dirk prefers to create plans andchecklists and Linda has a more free-flowingapproach to work.• Linda is now so frustrated she is concerned the project will not get completed.• What type of conflict is this?• What should she do? Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Advice • All employees need to be familiar with and follow company policies for diversity, anti- discrimination, and sexual harassment • Communicate directly with the other person to resolve the perceived conflict • Avoid dragging co-workers into the conflict • If dysfunctional conflict persists, seek help from direct Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Dealing with PersonalityChris works with Dirkon another project.Dirk approaches Chrisand begins tocomplain about Linda.• What type of conflict is this?• As a third- party, what should he do? Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Personality Conflict/Incivility Common examples of incivility • Berating bosses • Employees who take credit for other’s work • Assigning blame • Spreading rumors • Excluding teammatesSource: Porath, C. & Pearson, C. (2009). How Toxic Colleagues Corrode Performance, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 87, pg. 24. Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Personality Conflict ImpactsTargets of incivility reported:• 48% decreased their work effort• 47% decreased their time at work• 38% decreased their work quality• 66% said their performance declined• 80% lost work time worrying about the incident• 63% lost time avoiding the offender• 78% said their commitment to the organization declinedSource: Porath, C. & Pearson, C. (2009). How Toxic Colleagues Corrode Performance, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 87, pg. 24. Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Managing Conflict Sarah, Dirk and Linda’s boss, has just been informed that the completion of the project is in jeopardy due to conflict between Dirk and Linda. Linda is now so frustrated she is concerned the project will not get completed. As their manager, what should she do? Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Overcoming Group Conflict Recommended actions: Level of perceived • Work to eliminate specific intergroup conflict negative interactions betweentends to increase when: groups• Conflict within the • Conduct team building to group is high reduce intragroup conflict and• There are negative prepare employees for cross- interactions between functional teamwork groups • Encourage personal friendships• Influential third-party and good working relationships gossip about other group across groups and departments is negative • Foster positive attitudes toward members of other groups • Avoid or neutralize negative gossip across groups or departments Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Building RelationshipsBehavior RankBe a good listener 1Be sensitive to the needs of others 2 TieBe cooperative not competitive 2Advocate participative leadership 3Compromise rather than dominate 4Build rapport through conversations 5Be compassionate and understanding 6Avoid conflict by emphasizing harmony 7Nurture others (develop and mentor) 8 Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
What Do You Think?The manufacturing and research departments ofXYZ corporation often have differentperspectives resulting in conflict. Within groupcohesiveness is strong but animosity across thegroups is growing. To promote harmony andfunctional conflict between the groups thecompany should NOT: a. Keep the groups apart to minimize interaction and conflict. b. Establish cross-functional project teams so members of both groups work together. c. Stop people who gossip about the other group. d. Have the groups attend a social function together. Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Stimulating Functional ConflictDevil’s Advocacy Approach1. Action proposed2. Devil’s advocate criticizes it3. Both sides presented to decision makers4. Decision is made and monitoredDialectic Decision Method1. Action proposed2. Assumptions identified3. Counterproposal generated on different assumptions4. Debate takes place5. Decision is made and monitored Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Conflict Management Styles Integrating Obliging HighConcern for Others Compromising Low Dominating Avoiding High Low Concern for Self Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
What Do You Think? Alfonso tends to be an agreeable person with a high need for affiliation. When he encounters conflict situations at work which conflict management style is he most and least likely to use, respectively. a. Dominating; Integrating b. Integrating; Compromising c. Compromising; Avoiding d. Obliging; Dominating e. Avoiding; Obliging Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Third Party Interventions Considered less political with low risk of dysfunctional conflict.1. Reroute complaints by coaching the sender to find ways to constructively bring up the matter with the receiver. Do not carry messages for the sender2. Facilitate a meeting with the sender and receiver to coach them to speak directly and constructively with each other3. Transmit verbatim messages with the sender’s name included and coach the receiver on constructive ways to discuss the message with the sender Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Third Party Interventions Considered more political with high risk of dysfunctional conflict.4. Carry the message verbatim but protect the sender’s name5. Soften the message to protect the sender6. Add your spin to the message to protect the sender7. Do nothing. The participants will triangle in someone else8. Do nothing and spread the gossip. You will triangle in others Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Alternative Dispute ResolutionResolve conflict throughfacilitation, conciliation, peerreview, ombudsman, and:• Mediation Neutral third party guides parties to make a mutually acceptable solution• Arbitration Parties agree to accept the decision of the neutral arbitrator Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
NegotiationGive and take process between two parties.• Distributive negotiation: Single issue; fixed-pie; win-lose.• Integrative negotiation: More than one issue; “broadening the pie”; win-win. Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Integrative Negotiation Steps Separately Jointly1. Clarify Interests 1. Identify 1. Discuss respective tangible and needs2. Identify options intangible 2. Discuss respective needs elements of value3. Design alternative deal 2. Identify 3. Exchange deal packages elements of packages value 4. Discuss and select4. Select a Deal 3. Mix and match from feasible deal elements of packages – be creative5. Perfect the deal value into 5. Discuss unresolved different deals issues; build 4. Analyze deal relationships for future packages negotiations; put in proposed writing Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Unethical Tactics • Lies • Exaggerated praise • Deception • Weakening the opponent • Strengthening one’s own position • Nondisclosure • Information exploitation • Change of mind • Distraction • Maximization Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
What Do You ThinkBefore entering a negotiation with a client overthe price of his company’s service, Ben thinksabout the client’s interests and his company’sinterests. He then brainstorms several optionsthat would satisfy both needs. The approachBen is taking represents: a. Integrative negotiation b. Distributive negotiation c. “I win, you lose” negotiation d. Compromise negotiation Krietner/Kinicki, 2009
Managing Conflict Tips• Speak your mind and heart• Listen well• Express strong feelings appropriately• Remain rational for as long as you can• Review what has been said• Learn to give and take• Avoid all harmful HR Magazine, May 2005, pg. 10 statements Krietner/Kinicki, 2009