Conflict One party perceives its interests are being opposed or set back by another party 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. Discussion Questions Is conflict always bad? Under what circumstances can conflict be positive? When it focuses on solving problems constructively that increase organizational productivity. During a conflict, if someone used the term “war” vs. “opportunity”, how would it make you feel? Conflict as a war “We shot down that idea” Conflict as opportunity “What are all the possibilities for solving this problem? When a metaphor of war is used it makes people defensive and combative rather than open minded and cooperative.
Conflict can either be functional or dysfunctional and it usually is determined based on the outcome of the conflict. Functional Conflict Stimulates creative resolution of problems Prevents complacency Positive outcomes that can enhance performance It can be functional if it leads to the accomplishment of organizational objectives, improves group decision making, and leads to innovative changes. 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. Dysfunctional Conflict Conflict is determined and quickly eliminated Undesirable and negative outcomes Aggression violence, and hostility Does anyone have an example of a dysfunctional or functional conflict they have been involved in?
The book lists several antecedents of conflict. Let’s go over a few key ones. Incompatible personalities or value systems This can also be thought of as Personal differences . This would include interpersonal value conflicts as we discussed earlier, or personality differences, different decision making styles as we discussed in the decision making chapter. Perceptual errors, like stereotyping, attributing poor performance to the individual rather than to external factors. And different expectations can all serve to create a situation in which someone perceives their interests are at risk. These kind of differences are the hardest to resolve because they are personal and may affect one’s values. What steps should you take if you are involved in a personality conflict at work? Your book provides some tips for resolving these kinds of conflicts at work if they involve you directly, if they involve coworkers, or if you are managing employees who are involved in a conflict. The list of tips have common themes: Communicate directly with the other person to resolve the perceived conflict or encourage others to Avoid dragging co-workers into the conflict If dysfunctional conflict persists, seek help from direct supervisors or human resource specialists, mediator, arbitrators Although managers traditionally deal with personality conflicts by ignoring them or transferring one party, these options may lead to lawsuits. Employees suffering from psychological disorders (e.g. depression) and mood-altering diseases (e.g. alcoholism) are protected from discrimination by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Role ambiguity/overload Occurs when role expectations exceed a party’s ability to respond effectively; too much to do can cause something not to get done which results in conflict with those dependent on the output. For example, a consultant who has to ensure their client’s needs are met but also must perform the administrative tasks associated with their own company (e.g., timesheets, managing other’s performance, training and developing others). Interdependent tasks So if one department’s quality directly impacts another department their maybe conflict or if one’s productivity is the input for another party’s productivity. For example at Pepsi, if the R&D specifications for new soda has implications on the production and engineering capabilities there could be conflict. Typically the time frames R&D works in are much longer than those of engineers. Competition for limited resources Insufficient shared resources Finite money, personnel, and equipment Inter-company competition for share of pie
The value of functional conflict can come from the following desirable outcomes: Agreement: strive for equitable and fair agreements that last Unresolved conflicts typically come back as problems in the future, so it is best to handle conflicts positively so that an mutually acceptable agreement can be made. Stronger Relationships: build bridges of goodwill and trust for the future So conflict that is resolved positively is more likely to lead to future interaction and information sharing between parties. Learning: greater self-awareness and creative problem solving If no one ever disagrees with you, you may stop learning and developing. Mistakes people make are typically what they remember most and what shapes their future behavior.
Research has shown that simply having conflicting groups interact more is not sufficient to overcome negative links between groups. Therefore, this figure has recommended actions when intergroup conflict exists.
Interacting with individuals from different cultures can create conflicts or hurt feeling unknowingly. Research by Tung identified nine specific ways to facilitate interaction with host-country nationals ranked from most to least useful. Ho do you think the typical US Manager would do? Us Managers are culturally characterized as the opposite: poor listeners, blunt to the point of insensitivity, excessively competitive.
To attain the desired outcome we just discussed, a couple of approaches have been implemented in organizations who are concerned about too little conflict and discussion regarding important ideas. One approach we mentioned during our discussion of group problem solving which is to ensure that there is a devil’s advocate who will challenge the group or decision makers on an existing or new proposed course of action. The dialectic approach focuses on challenging assumptions and developing complete alternative solutions and debating them based on their merits. In both situations, the decisions must be monitored and corrective action taken if necessary. For example , in the early 80’s Coca-cola was falling behind Pepsi in market share. For years, they developed a new formula that they thought would appeal to more customers. They carefully developed the formula and tested in several focus groups. The results showed that many of the people really did like the taste of the new Coke better. But none were ever asked how they would feel if the original coke was no longer available. They had no idea how many people were attached psychologically to Coke, even though that is what their marketing all along was trying to accomplish. The launch of New Coke, that replaced the original coke was a huge disaster, in the short term because people rebelled about the taste of New coke and didn’t like the fact they could no longer purchase the original. Within 3 months, Coke brought back the original formula calling it Classic Coke. Now New Coke is called C2 and has a very small market share (.1%). (Retrieved from: http:// www.snopes.com/cokelore/newcoke.asp ) Perhaps, if someone had tested the assumption that people would switch brands if it tasted more like the competitor, and that existing Coke drinkers would suddenly like New Coke better, the company would have conducted their focus groups differently and saved money on launching a product that caused such an outcry. In the end, however, Coke saw it’s market share of sugar drinks rise and beat Pepsi by early 1986.
Let’s discuss different ways of handling conflict. Researchers have categorized conflict styles based on two dimensions: concern for others and concern for self. So let’s discuss each of these in terms of who loses and who wins. Dominating: Assertive and Uncooperative; Own needs are met at the other’s expense I win, you lose perspective.. Good if aggressor is right and has a better solution than a group would come up with. Bad because tend to have poorer human relations and can cause resentment among others Obliging/Accommodating: Unassertive/Cooperative; Neglects self to satisfy others; Acceptance by others > personal goals; Does not want to cause trouble; Self sacrificing/Generous I lose, you win perspective. Different from avoiding because you actually have to do something you don’t want to do. For example, if you disagree on an approach to a project, you have to do the approach you don’t want to do whereas if someone says a comment you don’t agree with you can just avoid it altogether. Good because relationships are maintained but it may be counter productive if the accommodator has a better idea or solution. Can become taken advantage of over time and then the relationship that is trying to be maintained ends up disintegrating. This works if the relationship is the most important consideration, the issue is important to the other party but not to you, time is limited. If this approach is used repeatedly, it may breed contempt on the part of the accommodator and they may get taken advantage of. Avoiding: Uncooperative and unassertive; Not concerned with self or others; Does not address conflict; Withdraws, side steps, postpones I lose and you lose because situation is not resolved. You either physically or mentally withdraw from the situation. Good in that it may maintain a relationship that would be hurt if the issue was resolved. But the issue doesn’t get resolved and if this is used too often the problem will just get worse. Like avoiding a discussion with someone who continually comes into work late. It is unlikely to go away and then you may get really mad at some point which will surprise the offender. Integrating/Collaborating: Assertive/Cooperative; Satisfy both concerns; Find underlying issues; Creative solution; Colluding You win, I win . Problem-solving style that tries to find the solution that will meet everyone’s needs. These people are willing to change to meet a mutually beneficial solution. Based on open and honest communication. Good because it leads to a good solution but can take time, patience, and lots of discussion to get to it. Good if maintaining relationships is important, time is available, group goals are valued more than personal goals, important issue in which the best solution is critical. Compromising : Intermediate assertiveness and cooperativeness; Mutually acceptable solution; Partially satisfy both; Splitting the difference; Exchanging concessions I win some, you win some. This is accomplished through moderate levels of assertiveness and cooperation. Good because it can usually be accomplished quickly and relationships are maintained. Bad because results may be sub-optimal and can lead to playing games like asking for twice as much as they need so they can compromise somewhere in the middle. For example, if a couple wants to buy a new TV and one wants a 32 inch and the other wants a 27 inch, the one who wants a 32 inch may say they want a 36 inch so that they will “settle” somewhere in the middle. Research has shown that managers who are able to use many of these strategies (showing flexibility) are more successful at managing conflict.
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. You book mentions several types of ADR techniques. facilitation, conciliation, peer review, ombudsman, mediation, and arbitration. Two common ones are mediation and arbitration. Go from slide….
Negotiation is the process of resolving conflict between parties who are interdependent on one another. Let’s talk about two types of negotiation approaches: Distributive negotiation occurs when individual parties are basically taking a win-lose perspective. The idea is that whatever you gain, I lose and vice versa. This occurs when there is really only one issue at stake. For example, bargaining with a vendor on the street. However typically there is more than one issue and 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 parties keep an open mind about how to meet each other’s interests rather than assuming that if our interests are met, theirs must not be.
Clarify interests Yours, theirs, and common ones 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 (e.g., make company more profitable, satisfy workers by being able to reward them with bonuses, etc. ) 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 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 convey 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. Design alternative deal packages 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. Select a deal Discuss and select from deal packages Perfect the deal Refine to ensure mutual agreement Build relationships for future deals
Clarify interests During the negotiation, you will share interests and learn more about what the other’s interests are Identify options Discuss elements of value During the negotiation, other elements of value may be discussed by the other party you had not thought of. Design alternative deal packages 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. Select a deal Discuss and select from deal packages Perfect the deal Refine to ensure mutual agreement Build relationships for future deals
Conflict <ul><li>Conflict One party perceives its interests are being opposed or set back by another party </li></ul><ul><li>Is conflict always bad? </li></ul><ul><li>During a conflict, if someone used the term “war” vs. “opportunity”, how would it make you feel? </li></ul>
Causes of Conflicts <ul><li>Incompatible personalities or value systems </li></ul><ul><li>Role ambiguity/ overload </li></ul><ul><li>Interdependent tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Competition for limited resources </li></ul>
Desired Conflict Outcomes <ul><li>Agreement: strive for equitable and fair agreements that last </li></ul><ul><li>Stronger Relationships: build bridges of goodwill and trust for the future </li></ul><ul><li>Learning: greater self-awareness and creative problem solving </li></ul>
Tips for Managers Whose Employees are Having a Personality Conflict <ul><li>All employees need to be familiar with and follow company policies for diversity, anti-discrimination, and sexual harassment </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate and document conflict </li></ul><ul><li>If appropriate, take corrective action </li></ul><ul><li>If necessary, attempt informal dispute resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Refer difficult conflict to human resource specialists or hired counselors for formal resolution attempts and other interventions </li></ul>Table 13-1
Minimizing Intergroup Conflict <ul><li>Conflict within the group is high </li></ul><ul><li>There are negative interactions between groups </li></ul><ul><li>Influential third-party gossip about other group is negative </li></ul><ul><li>Work to eliminate specific negative interactions between groups </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct team building to reduce intra group conflict and prepare employees for cross-functional teamwork </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage personal friendships and good working relationships across groups and departments </li></ul><ul><li>Foster positive attitudes toward members of other groups </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid or neutralize negative gossip across groups or departments </li></ul>Recommended actions: Level of perceived intergroup conflict tends to increase when: Figure 13-2
Ways to Build Cross-Cultural Relationships Table 13-2 8 Nurture others (develop and mentor) 7 Avoid conflict by emphasizing harmony 6 Be compassionate and understanding 5 Build rapport through conversations 4 Compromise rather than dominate 3 Advocate inclusive (participative) leadership 2 Be cooperative rather than overly competitive 2 Be sensitive to the needs of others 1 Be a good listener Rank Behavior Tie
Stimulating Functional Conflict <ul><li>Devil’s Advocacy Approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Action proposed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Devil’s advocate criticizes it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both sides presented to decision makers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision is made and monitored </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dialectic Decision Method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Action proposed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumptions identified </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Counterproposal generated on different assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debate takes place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision is made and monitored </li></ul></ul>
Five Conflict-Handling Styles Integrating Obliging Dominating Avoiding Compromising High Low High Low Concern for Others Concern for Self
Third-Party Intervention Options for Handling Conflict <ul><li>Reroute complaints by coaching the sender to find ways to constructively bring up the matter with the receiver. Do not carry messages for the sender </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate a meeting with the sender and receiver to coach them to speak directly and constructively with each other </li></ul><ul><li>Transmit verbatim messages with the sender’s name included and coach the receiver on constructive ways to discuss the message with the sender </li></ul>Figure 13-5 These options are considered less political; low risk of dysfunctional conflict
Third-Party Intervention Options for Handling Conflict <ul><li>Carry the message verbatim but protect the sender’s name </li></ul><ul><li>Soften the message to protect the sender </li></ul><ul><li>Add your spin to the message to protect the sender </li></ul><ul><li>Do nothing. The participants will triangle in someone else </li></ul><ul><li>Do nothing and spread the gossip. You will triangle in others </li></ul>Figure 13-5 These options are considered more political; high risk of dysfunctional conflict
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)Techniques <ul><li>Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) avoiding costly lawsuits by resolving conflicts informally or through mediation or arbitration </li></ul><ul><li>Mediation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Neutral third party guides parties to make a mutually acceptable solution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Arbitration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parties agree to accept the decision of the neutral arbitrator </li></ul></ul>
Negotiation <ul><li>Negotiation give-and-take process between conflicting interdependent parties </li></ul><ul><li>Distributive negotiation: Single issue; fixed-pie; win-lose. </li></ul><ul><li>Integrative negotiation: More than one issue; “broadening the pie”; win-win. </li></ul>
An Integrative Approach: Added-Value Negotiation Step 5: Perfect the deal Separately Figure 13-6 <ul><li>Analyze deal packages proposed by other </li></ul><ul><li>party </li></ul>Step 4: Select a deal <ul><li>Mix and match elements of value in various </li></ul><ul><li>workable combinations </li></ul><ul><li>Think in terms of multiple deals </li></ul>Step 3: Design alternative deal packages <ul><li>Identify elements of value </li></ul>Step 2: Identify options <ul><li>identify tangible and intangible needs </li></ul>Step 1: Clarify interests
An Integrative Approach: Added-Value Negotiation Step 3: Design alternative deal packages Jointly Figure 13-6 <ul><li>Discuss and select from feasible deal packages </li></ul><ul><li>Think in terms of creative agreement </li></ul>Step 4: Select a deal <ul><li>Create a marketplace of value by discussing </li></ul><ul><li>respective elements of value </li></ul>Step 2: Identify options <ul><li>Discuss respective needs </li></ul><ul><li>Find common ground for negotiation </li></ul>Step 1: Clarify interests Step 5: Perfect the deal <ul><li>Discuss unresolved issues </li></ul><ul><li>Develop written agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships for future negotiations </li></ul>