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Role Conflict Among Service Employees

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  • 1. Role Conflict AmongService Employees Chapter 9: Case 1 Darren Bumann David Standley Amy Tomich Patrick Wilson Brian Kennedy
  • 2. Case Summary Maggie Beckhard was recently hired as a supervisor of approximately 20 telephone customer-service operators. Her previous job was supervision of productions, a much different focus than customer service.
  • 3. Case Summary Maggie now has to deal with employees who are facing cases of role conflict and lack of clear responsibility. • As customer service operators, their job entails providing quality customer service regardless of time and resources. • As employees, they are charged with serving the most amount of customers in the fastest and most efficient manner.
  • 4. ‘Roles’ in Business Advantages • Increase internal communication • Handle specialized or priority problems • Increase task identity • Allow specialization in tasks/training Disadvantages • Role Conflict • Incorrect Role Expectations/Perceptions • Employee Dissatisfaction
  • 5. Role Conflict Role Conflict- A situation in which an individual is confronted by divergent role expectations. Ex. Studying for a test on Friday • Education- study to get good grades • Social - go out late Thursday night Ex. Work vs. Home Life/Family
  • 6. Problems Serving Two Masters (Opposing external Role Expectations) • Employees’ role conflict comes from being forced to choose between opposing constituents (opposing internal role perceptions)  To meet managerial objectives, operators must abide by training guidelines and have high caller turnover  To serve customer needs, operators must be allowed sufficient time and flexibility to make sure customers are satisfied
  • 7. Problems From Managerial Perspective • Increased Turnover and Absenteeism • Lower Job Satisfaction • Increased Turnover Costs • Maggie believes that role conflict leads to these problems because operators can never satisfy both constituencies.
  • 8. Solutions Eliminate Role Conflict in Operators • Make management serve in customer- contact positions periodically  Gain perspective, lead to more realistic goals/objectives for operators • Encourage upward communication from operators to management  Having ideas and suggestions taken seriously can increase task identity, autonomy, and job satisfaction in operators
  • 9. Solutions Eliminate Role Conflict in Operators • Survey Customer Satisfaction  Market research of customer needs/complaints can show operators where to focus to better serve customers • Reduce Emphasis of Management on High Call Turnover  Implement corporate culture of customer service and Total Quality Management • Ever-improving customer service • Customer retention through satisfaction
  • 10. Solutions Take Advantage of Role Conflict • Empower operators to handle conflicts • Distinguish between high- and low- priority calls • Use as catalyst for increased communication to management
  • 11. Role Divergence in Teams Role conflict in a team • Conflict can arise between the goals of an individual and goals of the team • Role divergence can occur within a team  A team “leader” may not be accepted by others as a team “member”  A team member may not want to oppose team views (groupthink)
  • 12. Question #1 What’s the source of role conflict here? • Maggie’s employees experienced opposing role expectations. They believed:  Customers wanted their undivided attention and limitless time to solve problems  Managers wanted high caller turnover and as many calls handled as possible
  • 13. Question #2 Are there functional benefits to management from role conflict? • In this specific case, operators may feel more obliged to serve customers as well as they can • Role conflict may encourage upward communication about concerns
  • 14. Question #3 Should role conflict among these telephone service employees be any greater than a typical employee who works as part of a team and has to meet the expectations of a boss as well as team members? • On one hand, a member of peer team may experience greater conflict because satisfying both management and team members over the long run can create difficult decisions. • On the other, these operators’ internal conflict can not be eliminated without creating better service for customers. Inferior service leads them to lower job satisfaction, higher absenteeism, and higher turnover.
  • 15. Question #4 What can Maggie do to manage this role conflict? • Eliminate operators’ perception of role conflict  Enhance culture of TQM and customer service  Make managers serve as operators to understand the situation and gain perspective on managerial objectives  Encourage employees to communicate needs and concerns with managers about service