Healthy organizations from conflict management v1 pdf


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How Conflict Management helps manage change, performance, and well-being.

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Healthy organizations from conflict management v1 pdf

  1. 1. Healthy Organizations from Conflict ManagementHow Conflict Management helps manage change, performance, and well-being.AbstractA healthy organization achieves their goals through an environment that places equal importance onorganizational performance and employee well-being. There is, however, conflict to be managedregarding these two requirements and depending upon the way this conflict is managed rests thehealth of an organization at organizational, team, and individual levels.Contents 1. What is a Healthy Organization? 2. Organizational Health and Conflict 3. A Model for Improving Organizational Health through Conflict Management 4. Conflict Management Methodologies 5. Intrapersonal Conflict. 6. Interpersonal Conflict 7. Collaborative Conflict Management 8. Dispute Management Notes References1. What is a Healthy Organization?Ask anyone if the organization they are involved in is healthy or unhealthy and the chances are thatthey can not only tell you, but also rate its level of health as well as describe the reasons for makingthat assessment. So the idea of an organization ranging from unhealthy to healthy is recognized,even though reasons vary. Yet despite this understanding and a wish to work in healthyorganizations there is the perception that a large number of organizations, even apparently successfulones, are profoundly unhealthy [1].A healthy organization is described as one that achieves organizational goals through an environmentthat places equal importance on organizational performance and employee well-being [2].Achieving organizational goals through placing equal importance on organizational performance andemployee well-being involves managing conflict [3]. The term well-being takes into consideration the“whole person” and can include life experiences such as satisfaction with experiences providinggrowth and development; work related experiences such as job or role satisfaction; as well as specificaspects such as employment conditions and relationship with others [4].Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 1
  2. 2. 2. Organizational Health and ConflictConflict occurs when one or more employees or groups perceive their values or needs areincompatible with others or the organization [5].Conflict is about perceptions of interactions. Conflict covers not only perceptions of relationships withothers (interpersonal conflict) but also psychological interactions (intrapersonal conflict) that can betriggered by factors in the work environment. For example, conflict can occur over how organizationalgoals should be achieved; what individuals and the organization expect of each other; how peoplerelate and use power; and how characteristics of an organizational environment affect employeessuch as organizational reporting structure, systems, culture, and physical factors.Traditionally conflict has been associated with negative and threatening behaviour, and violence.This is reinforced through, for example, our experience with media news items and films. However,the current view of conflict is that it is natural in organizational interactions. That the form conflicttakes can not only be negative and threatening but can also be positive, extending across a range ofhealthy and unhealthy conflict [6].Figure 1 shows that some forms of conflict are constructive and support organizational performanceand employee well-being (healthy conflicts) and other conflicts adversely affect organizationalperformance and employee well-being (unhealthy conflicts). In this model conflict intensity is used tocharacterize differing aspects of healthy and unhealthy conflicts.3. A Model for Improving Organizational Health through Conflict ManagementCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 2
  3. 3. Organizational Health is dependent upon optimizing and integrating the supporting elements of a)organizational performance and b) employee well-being, as a means of optimizing the achievement oforganizational goals. This is illustrated in the top two tiers of Figure 2.In managing conflicts in organizations it is important to identify the underlying cause(s) rather thanaccepting events or issues at face value [7]. Conflicts can arise from within or between theOrganizational Performance Framework and Employee Well-Being Requirements.Conflict Management is described as a multidisciplinary problem solving approach that can be appliedthrough a range of conflict management methodologies.In Figure 2, conflict management methodologies are placed under four headings: IntrapersonalConflict Management; Interpersonal Conflict Management; Collaborative Conflict Management; andCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 3
  4. 4. Dispute Management. This range of conflict management methodologies provides a wholisticframework that could be applied across a wide variety of organizations to proactively support anddevelop a healthy organization.A clear option, therefore, is suggested: Between organizations and employees operating to achieve ahealthy organization where conflict management methodologies support and develop healthyorganizations, and unhealthy organizations where uncooperative practices such as adversarial,avoidance, and suppressive conflicts remain unmanaged and cause unhealthy outcomes andincreased costs to the health of both the organization and employees.4. Conflict Management MethodologiesTo support a healthy organization a range of different conflict methods can be applied dependingupon the circumstances. A brief outline of a conflict management framework that illustrates this isshown in Figure 3. This framework should be viewed as allowing for some fluidity. For example inthe management of a dispute where one or more persons are intending to maximize their selfinterests it is possible to reframe the conflict into a mutual gains approach [8].4.1 The Importance of Mutual GainCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 4
  5. 5. Just as Organizational Health is dependent upon managing conflict within and between organizationalperformance and employee well-being requirements, the way conflict itself is managed alsodetermines whether the result is a healthy or unhealthy organization.In any given interaction the question that can be asked is does the outcome of a conflict seek mutualgain or self gain?Again, those working in an organization can recognise when the organization, a group, or anindividual is working in a cooperative way that achieves mutual gains, or not. A mutual gain approachreflects and supports healthy organizational outcomes through cooperative conflict managementprocesses that seek to resolve underlying needs and values. In contrast self gain can be associatedwith an unhealthy organization unless carefully managed and if they cannot be reframed as mutualgains, tend to have to be managed as settlement processes [9]. Examples of self gain are where theorganization, group, or individual act at the expense, or disadvantage, of another individual, group, orthe organization.This is not to suggest that acting out of self interest should be discouraged, because self interest canbe the basis for developing a mutual gain just as it can be the basis of seeking self gain.As a general rule organizational health benefits where a mutual gain approach to conflict is applied,treating self gain conflict from a disputes perspective when mutual gain outcomes are not feasible.A dispute is described as where one or more people or groups seek to maximize fulfillment of theirown interests or needs, or goals (often at the expense of others) [10].5. Intrapersonal Conflict.5.1 Intrapersonal Conflict DescribedIntrapersonal conflict is described as the inner conflict from the thoughts and feelings that anemployee experiences from their interaction with the work environment [11].Other types of conflict, such as interpersonal conflict, do also involve intrapersonal conflict, howeverthe purpose here is to highlight the influence of work environment factors on employee well-being andorganizational health through intrapersonal conflict.5.2 Intrapersonal Conflict and the Management of Stress.Occupational stress can be described as the physiological and emotional responses that occur whenworkers perceive an imbalance between their work demands and their capability and/or resources tomeet these demands. Importantly, stress responses occur when the imbalance is such that theworker perceives they are not coping in situations where it is important to them that they cope [12].Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 5
  6. 6. This description of stress responses relate to interactions between an individual and theirenvironment, and, in effect, describes the consequences of intrapersonal conflict.Four major types of stress responses are placed within an Organizational Health and Conflict Modelin Figure 4. These are [13]: Eustress: Stress responses that are comfortable and promote health and growth. Distress: Stress responses that are uncomfortable through excessive adaptive demands. Hypertress: Stress responses from being pushed beyond what one can handle (e.g. exhaustion from work overload). Hypostress: Stress responses from boredom or being unchallenged (opposite to Hyperstress).Examples of intrapersonal conflicts that cause stress responses include:  Relationship conflicts with others or within a group;  Excessive noise or overcrowding in the physical environment;  Work factors such as excessive work load, or isolation;Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 6
  7. 7.  Conflict through ambiguity of roles and lack of accountability;  Conflict with the norms of a work group or the cultural values of the organization;  Management of workplace change.A number of environmentally based Occupational Stress Risk Factors are recognised by the Health &Safety Executive (UK) who describe 6 stress risk factors in their Management Standards, and by theDepartment of Employment and Industrial Relations (DEIR), Queensland, using 8 OccupationalStress Risk Factors [14]. These are shown in Table 1. In this respect conflict managementmethodologies could assist to identify and manage conflict related causes of occupational stress.Managing intrapersonal conflict proactively can reduce stress related costs to organizations.The financial and employee well-being implications that flow from stress related costs are significant.A report found that stress cost the Australian economy $14.81 billion a year where $5.12 billioncomes from stress costs resulting from employees missing work and $9.96 billion from stress-relatedcosts of “presenteeism”. This excludes the further costs involved in rework and employment ofCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 7
  8. 8. additional employees resulting from the effects of presenteeism, and the costs of retraining or hiringnew employees when employees leave jobs because of work related stress [15].5.3 Intrapersonal Conflict Methods5.3.1 Stress Risk Management AuditConflict Audits are discussed in section 7.3.1. However because these audits are defined by thecriteria they use to assess conflict and develop recommendations, a conflict audit is referred to herebecause a Stress Risk Management Audit can use, for example, DEIR or H&SE (UK) occupationalstress risk factors as audit criteria to identify conflicts causing stress responses within an employee.Refer to Table 1 in section Leadership StyleA Situation Based Leadership model is considered relevant to organizational health because itinvolves a leader achieving a style that provides balance between organizational goals and employeewell-being. It also supports healthy conflict by recognizing and addressing underlying group andindividual (intrapersonal conflict) needs in variable situations.For example, faced with a crisis, and uncertainty about what needs to be done, the leader is“directive” in providing clarity of direction and goal thus lowering the level of intrapersonal anxiety andstress the group and individuals experience, yet can focus on being facilitative in assisting individualsachieve their personal interests, such as personal development, when pressure for goal achievementis low. Conversely unnatural leadership shifts can cause unhealthy conflict by a leader being, forexample, directive when there is no need, and ignoring individual personal issues when there isopportunity to do so.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 8
  9. 9. Figure 5 shows that leadership style can naturally shift from “Directive”, “Collaborative”, and“Facilitative” as a result of levels of external stressors placed on a group to achieve goals, and thelevel of ambiguity or clarity of those goals [16].5.3.3 Conflict CoachingConflict coaching involves working one on one with those with an intrapersonal conflict.Generally, the processes used are based on mediation models, which are explained further underInterpersonal conflict mediation in section 6.2.2. Coaching and mediation use the same range ofmethods such as Facilitative; Transformative, and Narrative. Each method has a different emphasisin addressing a conflict, but basically use similar problem defining and problem solving stages.These basic problem solving stages also have similarities to counselling stages as both belong to the“helping professions” [17].For example, Stage 1 The present scenario; Stage 2 The preferred scenario; and Stage 3 Actions forgetting there. While both attend to framing and reframing of perceptions of a conflict, conflictcoaching does not focus on the psychological nature of the person’s problem, nor with the applicationof psychotherapy. Nor does it require a therapeutic relationship with the facilitator.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 9
  10. 10. Conflict coaching differs from counselling in that the focus remains on resolving conflicts relating to apersons values and needs. That is to say, values that are significant beliefs for an individual, and,beyond physical needs, needs that relate to psychological and emotional well-being and self esteem,and to group identity and acceptance [18].Additionally a further method, Conflict Styles, can be explored using feedback instruments as a way ofassisting an individual to develop the way they would manage future conflicts [19].6. Interpersonal Conflict6.1 Interpersonal Conflict definedInterpersonal conflict is described as the conflict that occurs between two or more individuals [20].Two interpersonal conflict management methods are covered: Collaborative Problem Solving, andMediation.6.2 Interpersonal Conflict Management Methods6.2.1 Collaborative Problem SolvingCollaborative Problem Solving refers to processes where two or more individuals work toward aresolution of a conflict without third party intervention [21].This process is applicable, for example, for supervisors working with employees, and betweenemployees working through work related conflicts. The Collaborative Problem Solving Methodproceeds through a series of steps such as [22]: 1. Understand the situation 2. Identify underlying conflict causes (e.g. needs & values) 3. Explore options 4. Build agreement to achieve mutual gains6.2.2 MediationConflicts between two employees can deteriorate to a level of distrust and hostility that makescollaboration unworkable. To address such interpersonal conflict, mediation may be used.Mediation is a process in which the parties to a conflict, with the assistance of a mediator, identify theissues, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement [23].To be able to address a conflict it is important to identify the underlying causes. Poor diagnosiscauses the danger of reacting to presenting events, reacting emotionally, or not understanding noraddressing the underlying causes of conflict, thus both escalating and compounding conflict.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 10
  11. 11. A number of writers have developed models that can be used to diagnose conflict [24]. Table 2examples a 5 factor model applied to diagnose conflict in a preliminary investigation.The focus of mediation can differ in addressing conflict. For the purposes of this section, two differentmediation models are exampled [25]:  Facilitative Mediation: Sometimes referred to as Interest-based or problem solving mediation. Facilitative mediation explores the underlying needs and interests of the parties as a means of resolving conflict.  Therapeutic Mediation: Includes restorative, transformative, and narrative mediation. Therapeutic mediation explores the relationship between the parties. The logic being that by improving the relationship between the parties current and future conflict issues can be resolved based on the establishment of a strong enough relationship to solve differences without third party assistance.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 11
  12. 12. 7. Collaborative Conflict Management7.1 The Collaborative Conflict Management ProcessCollaborative conflict management is concerned with conflict at group and organizational level, and asits title suggests depends upon the willingness of employees to work collaboratively to resolvedifferences, and can include a third party facilitator [ 26].The collaborative conflict management approach is based on a problem solving process thatproceeds through a sequence of stages [27]:Stage 1. Analyze the situationStage 2. Develop a PlanStage 3. Work through the processStage 4. Complete and Follow UpWhile this looks simple, it is applied in the context of collaboratively involving people throughout,addressing concerns, and gaining commitments to outcomes as a joint problem solving process.There are ample examples in the workplace where a change is required that needs the support andcommitment of employees where, under the justification of time pressures; a preferred directiveleadership style; or a technically focused change methodology an inclusive collaborative process isnot adequately used resulting in an outcome foundering on the rocks of employee resistance,resentment, and non commitment.The collaborative conflict management process can be extensively applied to support a healthyorganization, and this contrasts with alternative processes that can polarise, coerce, belittle, hide andavoid, or be based on personal advantage practices that lead to an unhealthy organization.These are so prevalent that some words or phrases are part of the common work language such as“shoot the messenger”; “shot down”; ”blasted for no good reason”; “crucified”; “ambushed”; “stabbedin the back”; ”left out to dry/freeze”; “dropped from a height”; “torpedoed/undermined”; “caught incrossfire”, “shuffling the deckchairs”; “behind closed doors”; “mushroom management ”; “my way orthe highway”; “the quick fix”; “there’s no problem here”; “ivory tower”, “culture of blame” and “silomentality”.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 12
  13. 13. Collaborative Conflict Management can be used extensively in processes ranging from team andgroup meetings to managing organizational change, as shown in Figure 6, though the conflictmanagement methods used in these different processes vary considerably.7.2 Collaborative Problem Solving in GroupsCollaborative Problem Solving can be used by supervisors, managers, and team leaders in a widerange of group settings such as Committee, Team, Project, and Planning Meetings.Skills of a trained group facilitator are appropriate both in terms of running a collaborative problemsolving process to effectively maximize the benefits of the process used, as well as in the micro skillssuch as “reframing” to rephrase potentially offensive statements so the group continues to focus oncollaborative problem solving.Where conflict within a group is not being resolved, conflict management can be assisted by a trainedgroup facilitator who acts as an independent third party. When an independent third party is involvedthe term used is Group Facilitation, though the underlying collaborative conflict management processremains basically the same.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 13
  14. 14. Conflict within Collaborative Problem Solving groups and Group Facilitation can be addressed by theuse of models to analyze the causes of conflict. These models can come from a wide range ofsources and not just from the discipline of conflict management, such as Systems Archetypes andTeam Management Systems (TMS) models [28].7.3 Collaborative Change ManagementOrganizational reviews; restructures; project and change management programs can be enhanced byusing the stages of the Collaborative Change Management process as a means of supportingorganizational health through change processes [29].Collaborative Change Management can include using conflict audits to identify key issues ofstakeholders that need to be addressed and to develop recommendations for an implementation plan;facilitative workshops to inform, explore, or resolve conflict issues around plans or implementation;and mediation or conflict coaching to support the resolution of individual conflicts that could hindersuccessful implementation.A number of conflict management methodologies can be integrated into the Collaborative ChangeManagement process: Conflict Audits and Thematic Reframing are covered below.7.3.1 Conflict AuditsConflict audits can be flexibly applied to collaboratively investigate, diagnose, and recommendimprovements to organizational health and be used to support organizational change programs.Audit criteria need to have a sound basis for justification and change depending upon the type ofconflict audit used [30]. For example:  Organizational Health Audit: Use criteria relevant to organizational performance and employee well-being requirements. Refer to Figure 3.  Systemic Fairness Audit: Use criteria relevant to systemic fairness and legislative compliance criteria.  Stress Risk Management Audit: Use occupational stress risk factors as criteria. Refer to Table Thematic ReframingThematic Reframing [31] is the alignment of an organization’s culture, organizational practices, andcausal events to achieve a healthy organization.Conflict can result from the effect of a decision or action of the organization or another person (i.e. anevent). Similarly work practices can cause conflict such as the application of perceived unfairCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 14
  15. 15. policies, work overload/hours, or role conflicts (i.e. organizational practices). Additionally, differencesin cultural attitudes or group norms (i.e. culture) can cause conflict.In Figure 7 these three organizational perspectives: events, practices, and culture are shown as aframework in relation to managing conflict to achieve a healthy organization. In an organizationalchange program all three levels may need attention to ensure changes are successfully committed to,and sustained.Thematic reframing is a methodology that can be applied where a conflict requires the search forsystemic underlying causes that can make an organization unhealthy.Conflicts causing an unhealthy organization can be continually repeated as “vicious circles”. Where ashift to a “virtuous circle” of conflict could improve organizational health [32]. A vicious circle is where,Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 15
  16. 16. in effect, events generate a circle of repeated negative conflict with detrimental consequences onorganizational health.An example of a vicious circle is shown in Figure 8, where a Telco under new management seeks toimprove profits and share price, through applying values, practices and actions that attempt tooptimize organizational goals [33]. The consequential loss in profit causes management to repeat thevicious circle over a number of years to the detriment of all.8. Dispute Management8.1 Dispute Management ProcessesHealthy organizations also need to have processes in place that recognise that not all conflict can becooperatively addressed. That at times differences need to be acknowledged and settled through adispute management process.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 16
  17. 17. Disputes relate to conflicts where those involved seek to maximize their own interests, needs, orgoals, often at the expense of others [34].This can result in polarized positions. Organizations tend to have formal dispute managementprocesses to manage such conflicts, for example a complaint or grievance procedure.Traditionally, complaint and grievance procedures have limited themselves to entitlement and rightsunder employment conditions of an organization. This includes an employees legal rights in relationto fair treatment, such as those under workplace harassment and anti discrimination legislation.A complaints process focused on rights and entitlements allows a complaint or grievance to proceed,through stages within an organization to outside of the organization and to a third party to provideconciliation, mediation, or arbitration to settle the matter. These third parties, depending upon theissue, are legislated government agencies such as an Industrial Relations Commission, Tribunal, orMagistrates court.Figure 9 reflects an Australian context showing how a conflict and formal complaints or grievanceprocesses can flow to external agencies.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 17
  18. 18. The emphasis of grievance and complaint processes focusing on entitlements and rights (e.g.grievance procedures negotiated into Awards or Enterprise Bargained Agreements) has meant that anumber of matters affecting organizational health and conflict management can be left understated.First, underlying causes of interpersonal conflicts can be left unaddressed to reoccur outside of aformal dispute management process that addresses conflict on the basis of an employee’s “rights” or“entitlement”. Rights and entitlement examples can relate to harassment, illegal discrimination andthe application/non application of employment conditions.Second, dispute management can emphasise settlement or conclusion rather than addressing theneeds of dysfunctional relationships and underlying causes of unhealthy organizations [35].Third, the emphasis on a “rights” and “entitlements” based dispute management processes canunderplay the importance of also attending to organizational fairness principles within the formalprocess itself [36].Fourth, the attention upon individual dispute management can underplay the significance of alsoattending to systemic implications of a dispute [37].8.2 Employee Separation ProcessesA number of reasons can cause an organization to initiate an Employee Separation Process such ascompetency or conduct issues arising from performance management outcomes; contract frustrationthough permanent changes in health; significant changes in competency requirements; or downsizing.While the performance management and termination procedures involved do differ to accommodatelegislative requirements on dismissal, rehabilitation, and redundancy the way these processes arehandled can leave an adverse affect on the health of an organization.Anyone who has experienced the termination of close colleagues understands how their treatmentaffects them, and ourselves, personally on an emotional level, and the organizations climate.Organizational Climate is the collective emotional mood of employees toward their roles, theorganization, and management [38].In effect these are Self Gain approaches by the organization, and even if believed to be fully justifiablecan result in unhealthy conflict and dispute that needs to be managed. Given that options based on amutual gain outcome have been fully explored and applied where possible, the unhealthyconsequences of taking a self gain approach can be mitigated through the way Employee SeparationProcesses are applied.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 18
  19. 19. For example:  Applying Principled Leadership values may help deescalate actual or potential conflict and dispute [39];  The application, as appropriate, of processes incorporating Natural Justice Principles [40] and Organizational Fairness Principles (referred to in Section 8.1 and Note), and ;  Support for employees through Conflict Coaching and counselling. This can be linked to associated programmes. For example, in cases of ill health and redundancy, to life planning beyond the organization.8.3 NegotiationsThe area of disputes can also include formal negotiations, such as wage and employmentnegotiations. Such negotiations could relate to employment contracts, enterprise awards, andenterprise bargained agreements. The capacity of such negotiations, by the way they are managed,to damage the health of an organization should not be underestimated, and the intensity of conflictcan be driven higher by prior unaddressed conflict within a less than healthy organization.Figure 10 illustrates three types of negotiation based on self and mutual gain. These three types are:  Self Gain where one party gains at the cost of the other. Referred to as Adversarial negotiation where the outcome is based on a win or lose process.  Compromise where each party gains something at an accepted cost of concessions to the other. Referred to as Distributive (when there is a multiple issue dispute) and Integrative (when there is a single issue dispute) negotiation.  Mutual Gain where both parties gain through benefits and concessions provided by the other party. Sometimes referred to as Principled Negotiation where the outcomes are based on the parties interests [41].Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 19
  20. 20. Notes[1] This reference is drawn from a quote by Peter Senge in Dive (2004, p.1) who is referring toCorporations.[2] Dive (2004, p.3) describes a healthy organization as one that meets its mission andsimultaneously enables individuals to learn, grow, and develop. Britton in Organizational Learningand Organizational Health views organizational health as the achievement of employee andorganizational goals. He also refers to the need to create an environment to support a healthyorganization.[3] While the term Organizational Health is not used by Warr & Wall (1975, p.165, 166) the conceptcan be inferred in that they consider a successful organization as one that reconciles technical andadministrative requirements with the wants and desires of its employees. In this respect they use theterm “joint optimisation” to reflect the point that both organizational and employee requirements arenecessary for an effective organization. They also state that there is inherent conflict between therequirements of an organization and the requirements of its members.[4] The description of well-being is based on Health and Well Being, Definition(s) sourced through aGlossary from the Sloan Work and Family Network. Cooper & Williams (1994) also refer to healthyorganizations in relation to employee wellness, which they relate to the promotion and maintenance ofCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 20
  21. 21. physical, mental, and social well-being. These definitions focus on individual well-being, however thisis extended here to cover the well-being of individuals as members of a group.[5] This description of conflict is based on Tillett & French (2007, p.307). It has, however, beenamended to include “one or more…” as opposed to “two or more…”. This is so that intrapersonalconflict can be explored. Intrapersonal conflict relates to the thoughts and feelings an individualexperiences within themselves to a situation that causes inner conflict. Both Condliffe (2002, p.4) andTillett & French (2007, p.10 & 312) refer to intrapersonal conflict.[6] De Dreu & Vliert (1997) explain that managers often seek a homogeneous workforce andsuppress minority dissent, which can reduce creativity and innovation, leading to “groupthink”. Themodel in Figure 1 is based on one in De Dreu & Vliert, however the “Performance” dimension hasbeen altered to “Organizational Health”, with “Healthy” substituting for “Optimum”, and “Unhealthy” for“hindered” performance. The term “contend” is changed to “coerced”, which includes dominantassertive and threatening behaviour.[7] Tillett & French (2007, p.7) identify three factors in a conflict: The explanation which is the event orissue used as a rationalization for the conflict occurring; the symptoms which are the behaviours,feelings or thoughts that indicate there is a conflict; and the causes that if identified can lead to theresolution of the conflict.[8] Susskind and Field (1996) describe and promote the mutual gains approach to public disputesusing six mutual gains principles, and discuss the importance of Principled Leadership in theapproach. The concept of mutual gains in conflict situations is extrapolated from their book.[9] Schoeny & Warfield (2000) identify a distinction in conflict methodologies with regard to those thataddress underlying sources of conflict, and those that emphasise settlement or conclusion.[10] The description of what is meant by a dispute is based on Tillett & French (2007, p.307). Theirdescription is amended to refer to “one or more…” rather than “two or more…” so that intrapersonalconflict may explored.[11] The definition is based on a description from Condliffe (2002, p. 4) where “certain situations” thatcause conflict is substituted for the ”work environment”.[12] The definition for What is stress? is from the Queensland State Department of Employment &Industrial Relations (DEIR) website.[13] In Introduction to Stress Theory, the Cox and Mackay Model is described as four major stressresponse types: eustress; distress; boredom; and exhaustion. The latter two described here asCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 21
  22. 22. hypostress and hyperstress respectively. Their model’s dimension of “demands” is changed to“conflict levels”, and ‘performance” to Organizational Health.[14] The two publications Risk factors for occupational stress from DEIR and Tackling for occupationalstress from H & SE (UK) have similar factors and provide criteria for Conflict Audits on stress riskmanagement.[15] A report in the Herald Sun Cost of workplace stress hits $14.8b provides costs of stress relatedabsenteeism and presenteeism to Australia. Presenteeism is the loss of productivity that occurswhen employees come to work and do not function fully because of illness or injury.[16] Korten (1978) developed a model of situational determinants of leadership style (referred to as aLeadership Structure) where “natural” leadership styles shifted to address a group’s stress levelsresulting from situations faced by them; the clarity of the goals; and the importance placed on groupgoals. This could be interpreted as leadership that provided mutual benefit, and organizational health,through addressing the intrapersonal conflict (that cause stress responses) to achieve organizationalgoals. The terms Democratic and Authoritarian have been changed, as has Korten’s four dimensionalmodel. The purpose of reshaping the model is to present it in contemporary conflict managementterms but not to change the rationale within this research.[17] Boulle (1996, p. 69-71) discusses Egan’s “helping professions” concept, and the similarities anddifferences between counselling and mediation.[18] Tillett & French (2006 p.17, 18) provide an explanation around their definition of conflict in whichvalues and needs are more fully explained.[19] Further explanations on Conflict Coaching can be found in Conflict coaching. With respect toConflict Styles Coaching feedback instruments there are, for example, the Thomas – Kilman and theKraybill conflict styles instruments.[20] Definition based on Tillett & French (2007, p. 312)[21] The description of the term collaborative problem-solving is drawn from Tillett & French (2006 p.128). It should be noted that in Tillett & French the term covers a process in which the parties worktoward resolution without third party intervention (and where a problem solving process is applied).[22] Condliffe (2002, p. 101-104) describes a collaborative conflict management process (referred tohere as a collaborative problem-solving) that has 5 phases, and can be applicable to two or moreindividuals. McConnon (2004) similarly has a conflict resolution process at an interpersonal level.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 22
  23. 23. The collaborative problem-solving stages described in this article are informed by both but alsoinclude a mutual gain perspective.[23] This definition is based on the mediation definition in the National Alternative Dispute ResolutionCouncil (NADRAC) Dispute resolution terms. The definition is an extract of a fuller definition found inNADRAC, and the word “dispute” has been exchanged for the word “conflict”.[24] A wide range of writers have exampled conflict models. For example; Condliffe (2002); Cloke &Goldsmith (2005, p. 122), Bush & Folger (2005, p.55), and Furlong (2005).[25] The mediation models and terminology are based on Boulle (1996, p.28-30), with NarrativeMediation included.[26] Claremont & Davies (2005, p. 13) refer to the concept of collaborative conflict management interms of a problem solving process applicable to whole groups and organizations (that is facilitated bya third party).[27] Clarement & Davis (2005) provide a problem solving process, with phases/ steps, applicable tocollaborative conflict management at group and organizational level.[28] Examples of the application of system archetypes can be sourced from Senge, Roberts, Ross,Smith, & Kleiner (1994) and various individual, team and organizational models from TeamManagement Systems (TMS).[29] Claremont & Davies (2005) explore extensively, with examples, the application of CollaborativeConflict Management in relation to conflicts affecting whole groups and organizations.[30] There are a number of references available on Conflict Audits such as Cloke & Goldsmith (2005,p. 40-42 & 148-153); Brown (March 2004); Clarement & Davies (2005, p.193-202), and the ConflictAuditors Association of North America.[31] Thematic Reframing is based on melding concepts from a range of sources: A frame does notnecessarily represent a ‘functional” frame such as an organizational structure, but rather it is moreakin to a Human Activity System (HAS) which has a goal (Checkland, 1981). The Levels of a Framereflect the “Levels of Perspective” framework (Kim, 1999) and the “Four Windows” described by Flood(1999, p. 94-122). The concepts of alignment and thematic (re)frames are drawn from Triple looplearning, and Topic: A five minute refresher course in framing.[32]. At a societal level Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998, p.223-226) describe the creation of avicious circle of dysfunctional conflict from events, and the possible generation of a virtuous circle ofCopyright David Alman 2009 Page 23
  24. 24. mutual benefit. In Dynamic Systems Thinking terms, vicious and virtuous circles are viewed as“reinforcing loops” (Senge, Roberts, Ross, Smith & Kleiner, 1994, p.116).[33] The downsizing of a Teleco was the subject of a Masters paper by Winkler (2003), from which theassociated diagram is a simplified and consolidated version of that found in her paper.[34] This is based on a definition of a dispute in Tillett & French (2007, p.309). It should be noted thatin this article the term dispute is restricted to a matter that falls within a Dispute Management Processor a formal negotiation.[35] A dispute as a settlement process is reflected in perspectives on ADR mediation discussed inSpencer & Altobelli (2005, p.21 & 175)[37] The three predominant Organizational Fairness Principles, sometimes referred to OrganizationalJustice Principles, are Distributive Fairness, Procedural Fairness, and Interactional Fairness. Forexample, irrespective of a decision on a complaint the perception, and acceptance, can be affected bythe way the organization handled the matter and whether the employee felt they were treated withrespect (Interactional Fairness); whether the process allowed all concerns to be exhausted andaddressed impartially and without delay (Procedural Fairness); and whether there is (DistributiveFairness) in the decision. For example, does a decision incorporate in a complementary wayelements of equality, equity, and the essential needs of the complainant in what Schelling refers to asa “prominent solution”? (Bunker, Rubin & Associates, 1995, p. 406).[36] Systemic discrimination are practices, laws, or attitudes, which are viewed as neutral andsometimes acceptable, but which entrench inequality and disadvantage to certain groups of people(based on Responding to systemic discrimination).[38] Ashkanasy & Dasborough (2004) describe the difference between organizational culture andorganizational climate; the effects of organizational climate; and how to build a healthy climate andculture.[39] Susskind and Field (1996) explain what is meant by Principled Leadership, which is "doing theright thing" and showing decency, respect, and compassion through a set of principles.[40] Natural Justice Principles relate to a decision maker being perceived as a) Free from bias b)Providing an opportunity for a person to respond, and c) Observing procedural fairness when makingthe decision (refer to Organizational Fairness Principles). B-Principles of natural justice and ultraviries provides a clear and fairly detailed explanation around the concept of Natural JusticePrinciples.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 24
  25. 25. [41] Spencer & Altobelli (2005, p.63-103) provide a chapter on negotiation that includes discussion onthe four models of negotiation (Adversarial, Distributive, Integrative, and Principled).ReferencesAshkanasy, N. & Dasborough, M. (2004). Building healthy organizations: Managing the emotionalaspects of workplace culture. In C. Barker & R. Coy (Ed). The power of culture: Driving todaysorganisation. Australian Institute of Management, Management Today Series. Sydney, NSW: McGraw Hill.B- Principles of natural justice and ultra viries Retrieved 24 February 2009, from, L. (1996). Mediation: Principles, process, practice. Chatswood, NSW: LexisNexisButterworths.Britton, B. Organizational learning and organizational health. Retrieved January 2009, from learning and organizational health.pdf.Brown, H. (March 2004). What’s really going on? – A diagnostic tool for accurate assessment ofworkplace conflict. Retrieved 19 May 2008, from, R.A, & Folger, J.P. (2004). The promise of mediation: The transformative approach to conflict.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Bunker, Rubin, & Associates. (1995). Conflict, cooperation & justice: Essays inspired by the work ofMorton Deutsch. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Checkland, P (1981). Systems thinking, systems practice. Chichester, UK. John Wiley & Sons.Claremont, R., & Davies, L. (2005). Collaborative conflict management. Sydney, NSW: LansdownePublishing.Cloke, K., & Goldsmith, J. (2005). Resolving conflicts at work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 25
  26. 26. Condliffe, P. (2002). Conflict management: A practical guide. Chatswood Delivery Centre, NSW:LexisNexis Butterworths.Conflict Auditors Association of North America. Retrieved 24 February 2009, fromhttp:// coaching. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from, C.L, & Williams, S. (1994). Creating healthy work organizations. Chichester, West Sussex:John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Cost of workplace stress hits $14.8b. Grant McArthur. Sun Herald dated 14 August 2008. Retrieved24 February 2009, from,27753,24179057-5012426,00.htmlDe Dreu, C.K.W., & De Vliert, E.V. (1997). Using conflict in organizations. London: SagePublications.Dispute Resolution Terms. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from ndDive, B. (2004). The healthy organization. (2 ed) London: Kogan Page.Flood, R.L (1999). Rethinking the fifth discipline: Learning within the unknowable. London:Routledge.Furlong, G.T. (2005). The conflict resolution toolbox. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons.Health and well being, Definition(s) Sloan Work and Family Research Network. Boston College.Reference & Research Glossary. Retrieved 11 February 2009, from and well being, definition(s)Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 26
  27. 27. Introduction to stress theory. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from, D.H. (1999). Introduction to systems thinking. Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications, Inc.Korten, D.C (1968). Situational determinants of leadership structure. In D. Cartwright & A. Zander rd(Ed.). Group dynamics: Research and theory. (3 ed) London: Tavistock Publications.McConnon S&M (2004). Resolving conflict: How to manage disagreements and develop trust and ndunderstanding. (2 ed.) Oxford, UK: How to books ltd.Responding to systemic discrimination. Retrieved April 2008, Factors for Occupational Stress. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from, P.M., Roberts, C., Ross, R.B., Smith, B.J., Kleiner, A. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook:Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd.Shoeny & Warfield. (July, 2000). Reconnecting systems maintenance with social justice: A criticalrole for conflict resolution. Negotiation Journal.Spencer, D., & Altobelli, T. (2005). Dispute resolution in Australia. Pyrmont, NSW. Lawbook Co.Susskind, L., & Field, P. (1996). Dealing with an angry public: The mutual gains approach. NewYork: The Free Press.Tackling stress: The management standards approach. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from management systems. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from David Alman 2009 Page 27
  28. 28. rdTillett, G., & French, B. (2007). Resolving conflict. (3 ed) South Melbourne, Victoria: OxfordUniversity Press.Topic: A five minute refresher course in framing. Retrieved 2 November 2008, from loop learning. Kansas Prevention WIKI. Retrieved 24 February 2009, from ndTrompenaars, F., & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the waves of culture. (2 ed) New York:McGraw-Hill.Warr, P. & Wall, T. (1975) Work & well-being. Harmondsworth, Middlesex. Penguin Books Ltd.What is stress? Retrieved 24 February 2009, from, B.L. (2003). Organizational survivors: Perceptions of conflict and justice during downsizing.Retrieved 29 May, 2008, from http://www.handle/1969.1/386/etd-tamu-2003c-scom-winkler-1.pdf.Copyright David Alman 2009 Page 28