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Organizational Conflict, Politics, and Change

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Organizational Conflict
Conflict exists in situations where goals, interests or values of people are incompatible and they block other’s efforts to achieve their goals. Some level of conflict is inevitable given the wide range of goals in a firm.
 

Some conflict is good for organizational performance. Too much causes managers to spend much time responding to conflict.
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Figure 16.1

Conflict and Organizational Performance
High

Level of Organizational Performance

B

Low Low
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A Level of Conflict

C High
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Types of Conflict
x x

Interpersonal Conflict: between individuals based on
differing goals or values.

Intragroup Conflict: occurs within a group or team. x Intergroup Conflict: occurs between 2 or more teams
or groups.  Managers play a key role in resolution of this conflict
x

Interorganizational Conflict: occurs across
organizations.  Managers in one firm may feel another is not behaving ethically.

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Types of Conflict
Figure 16.2

Conflict Conflict

Interpersonal Interpersonal

Intragroup Intragroup

Intergroup Intergroup

InterInterorganizational organizational

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Sources of Conflict

Different goals and time horizons: different groups have differing goals.  Production focuses on efficiency; Marketing on sales. Overlapping authority: two or more managers claim authority for the same activities.  Leads to conflict between the managers and workers. Task Interdependencies: one member of a group fails to finish a task that another depends on.  This makes the worker that is waiting fall behind.
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Sources of Conflict

Incompatible Evaluation or reward system: workers are evaluated for one thing, but are told to do something different.  Groups rewarded for low cost but firm needs higher service. Scarce Resources: managers can conflict over allocation of resources.  When all resources are scarce, managers can fight over allocations. Status inconsistencies: some groups have higher status than others.  Leads to managers feeling others are favored.

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Figure 16.3

Sources of Conflict
Different goals Different goals & time horizons & time horizons Overlapping Overlapping Authority Authority

Status Status inconsistency inconsistency

Conflict Conflict
Scarce Scarce Resources Resources Task Task Interdependency Interdependency

Incompatible Incompatible evaluation & evaluation & Reward Reward

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Resolving Conflicts

Functional Conflict Resolution: handle conflict by compromise or collaboration between parties.
 Compromise:

each party concerned about their goal accomplishment and is willing to engage in give and take to reach a reasonable solution. parties try to handle conflict without making concessions by coming up with a new way to resolve differences.

 Collaboration:

Managers also need to address individual sources of conflict.
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Managing Individual Conflict
 

Increase awareness of the source of conflict  Can conflict source can be found and corrected? Increase diversity awareness and skills  Older workers may resent younger workers, or experience cultural differences. Practice Job Rotation & Temporary assignments  Provides a good view of what others face. Use permanent transfers & dismissal if needed  Avoids problem interaction. Change organization’s structure  Conflict can signal the need to adjust the structure.
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Conflict Solutions

Alter the source of conflict:  If due to overlapping authority, managers fix the problem to change the source. Negotiation: use when parties have equal power.  Parties try and find a common ground by considering various alternatives.  Distributive negotiation: parties see there is a fixed resource base.

For them to gain, the other must lose.

 Integrative

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negotiation: parties can increase total resources by coming up with a new solution.
Information sharing, trust are common here.
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Negotiation Strategies for Interactive Bargaining
Emphasize

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Superordinate Goals: these are goals both parties agree on.
Keeps the big picture in focus.

Focus

on the problem, NOT the people: don’t make it personal.

It is easy to dwell on people’s shortcomings rather than problems. Once this occurs, people resist negotiation.

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Negotiation Strategies
Focus

on interests, not demands: demands are what you want, interests are why you want them.

Demands are confrontational and slow negotiations.

Create

new options for joint gain: focusing on interests allows for new ideas to come forth.
Perhaps there is a new solution that can solve the issue.

Focus

on what is fair: emphasizing fairness allows both parties to give a bit and agree.
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Organizational Politics
Organizational

politics are the activities managers engage in to increase their power and use it to achieve their goals.
 

Political strategies: specific tactics used to increase power and use it effectively. Politics can be negative, but also is a positive force allowing needed change.  Everyone throughout the firm engages in politics  Political activity allows a manager to gain support for an idea.
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Political Strategies for Increasing Power
Figure 16.4 Control Control Uncertainty Uncertainty Be Be Irreplaceable Irreplaceable Be in aacentral Be in central position position Generate Generate Resources Resources Build Build Alliances Alliances
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Increase a Increase a manager’s manager’s power in power in the the organization organization

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Strategies for Increasing Power

Control Uncertainty: managers who can reduce uncertainty for the firm increase power. Be Irreplaceable: develop valuable special knowledge or skills. Be in a Central Position: managers have crucial control over the firm’s activities. They increase their power and can influence others. Generate Resources: managers who can hire skilled people or find financing. Build Alliances: develop mutually beneficial relations with others inside and outside the organization.

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Figure 16.5

Strategies for Exercising Power
Objective Objective Information Information Outside Outside Experts Experts Control the Control the Agenda Agenda Everyone is Everyone is aaWinner Winner

Help Help Managers Managers Use Their Use Their Power Power Effectively Effectively

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Strategies for Exercising Power

Rely on Objective Information: impartial information causes others to feel the manager’s course of action is correct. Bring in an Outside Expert: lends credibility to manager’s proposal (when the expert agrees). Control the Agenda: influence those issues included (and those dropped) from the decision process. Make Everyone a Winner: everyone whose support is needed benefits personally from providing that support.
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Relationship Between Conflict, Politics and Change Figure 16.6
Signal managers Signal managers change is change is needed needed

Organizational Organizational conflict & politics conflict & politics Change alters Change alters goals of different goals of different groups causing groups causing conflict & politics conflict & politics
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Organizational Organizational change change

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Managing Organizational Change
 Assess

need for change: recognize a problem exists and find its

source.

Look inside and outside the firm for sources.

 Decide
 

on the change to make: determine the ideal future state.

Decide exactly what the future company will look like. What obstacles need to be changed to get there.

 Implement

the change: a top-down change is quickest, bottomup is more gradual.
Bottom-up is more effective at eliminating obstacles.

 Evaluate

Change: was it successful? Benchmark (compare) your change to others.

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Steps in the Organizational Change Process Figure 16.7
Find source of problem Find source of problem

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Assess need for Assess need for change change

Identify obstacles Identify obstacles

Decide on the Decide on the change change

Implement Change Implement Change
Top-down or Top-down or Bottom-up Bottom-up

Is it successful? Is it successful? Benchmark to others Benchmark to others
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Evaluate Change Evaluate Change