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CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

This is the analysis and solution of the case-study which is available on the internet. Case Study: Dr Agadir (Managing Departmental Conflict in a Research Organization)

Danish Sultan mrk56@live.c om +92 312 51100 56

CASE STUDY: DR AGADIR
DETAILED DIAGNOSIS • Cocoa Research Institute of Savanna (CRIS), is an institute which is dedicated to research of plants and is divided into numerous departments. • Sometimes there are issues between the departments due to allocation of plots for experiments, budgetary allocations and participation in international conferences. • Plant Pathology department and Bio-chemistry department are having issues between each other, the two seniors scientists heading the departments due to attitudes problem, refusal to share achievement and research matters. • Small conflicts were temporary, and had never affected the work culture of the institute. • Collaboration between various research divisions was part of the culture of the institute, as it was always necessary, particularly so between plant pathology and biochemistry. • However, this conflict was different. It was a conflict between two senior scientists who had worked together on the same problem over a decade, and had jointly published their work in respected journals. For some strange reason, friends had become foes. In the process, they had vitiated to some extent the research environment of the institute. • The third cocoa project: the institute was preparing a five-year plan of activities to be included in the third phase research; the programme on virus purification and detection appeared in the work plans of both the plant pathology and the biochemistry divisions.

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CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

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The head of pathology department had very strongly questioned the proposal of the biochemistry department to work on cocoa swollen shoot virus problem, the pathology department wanted to take all the credit of the research work done on the specific topic. Responding to the situation, the head of the biochemistry department reacted rather angrily. In the bitter debate which then took place, both heads had lauded the role of their own department while criticism the other department. This was the initiating of the conflict. The other members of the research committee knew well that the work had been, in fact, a collaborative research activity between Dr Agadir, a biochemist, and Dr Ouadda, a plant pathologist, under the backing of their respective departments. Pathology department supposed that they would work on the disputed topic (cocoa swollen shoot virus problem) 'as and when they had time’. The research committee asked the head of the plant pathology department for an explanation, but there was no reply. Later in a meetings, the research committee approved research on cocoa swollen shoot virus as a major activity of the biochemistry department. Both the two departments started to exchange harsh letters. Dr Agadir and Dr Ouadda, both belonging to two different departments worked very hard on the research on cocoa swollen shoot virus; and when ever one of them was not available the second took over the whole research. The conflict was raised due to credit of research, and was raised to such a level that both of the senior scientists didn’t even look or greeted each other. Both the two departments continued to exchange acrimonious letters, and collaborative research suffered. Dr Agadir suspected that Dr Agadir had been provoked into this by other colleagues, who were jealous of Dr Agadir, since Dr Agadir was often praised by the director as a good, hard working researcher, at times. Both of the involved department was trying to be fully self-sufficient, such that all collaborative research had been virtually abandoned. Worse, other departments were also moving in that direction and shunning collaborative research. Earlier, all such conflicts were resolved in the research committee; now they were being directly referred to the executive director, bypassing the research committee. Dr Swanson knew that something had definitely to be done to stem the vitiating atmosphere in the institute.

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CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

POSSIBLE OPTIONS FOR RESOLVING THE CONFLICTS Three options are presented. Option # 1 As it was observed that all the controllable and uncontrollable issues in the organizations are due to the allocation of resources, the institute comprised of a committee to which the departments would present there quarries and the committee would allot more resources which made the department feel good and if not then issues and jealousy was the outcome. One possible solving option would be that the institute converts from flexible (variable) allotment procedures to fix polices and plans. A fix amount of funds, area and other resources should be provided to the departments on the bases of the division (as there are 6 departments then 100/6 = 16.6% of the recourses must be provided to each department), with the willingness of the heads of the department so that there are no such problems. The merits and demerits of adopting this procedure would be:

Option # 2 As it is stated that most of the departments collaborated with each other and so was the case in the major conflict of the case-study (Plant Pathology department and Bio-chemistry department). The relationships between the departments need to be improved and revived. Steps could be taken by the upper-most management to come up with such plan of action that would increase the interaction, communication, and collaboration in and amongst the departments. Option # 3 Third and the simplest option would be that no changes should be brought on macro level in the organization or in the working patterns or allocation of resources. If there is any misunderstanding between two individuals (Dr Agadir and Dr Ouadda) than the committee must bring them face to face and clear things so that the misunderstanding can be removed and both of them would reunite to work together once again.

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ANALYSIS Five Styles of Conflict Management

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#3 e 1.As the first option presented to solve the conflict is regarding the equal division of the recourses without giving any importance to relation-ship that is why it is placed in the ‘Competitor’.

Relationshi ps Diagram showing three options presented in terms of the conflict management styles Issu

2.The second option talks about increasing the cooperation among the individuals and departments giving significant importance to relationships as Resolv well as e the issues that is why it lies in ‘Collaboration’. 3.Third option states that all the workers should negotiation with each other and try to resolve the matters that are why it is located in ‘Compromise’. Methodologies for Managing Conflicts Negotiation and Third party assistance would be finest methods as in this case, Third party decision-making can also be applied but as presented by the options it would create more complexities and simple methods are easier to implement. Tools for Resolving Conflict Looking in the perspective of “Tools for Resolving Conflict” I would say that Use of Power and Enforcement of Rights cannot be implemented in this case as it would create a win/loss situation and this would create more conflict rather than resolving it. Third tool which is Satisfaction of Interests would be best to follow in this case as:

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Each party seeks to achieve their individual interest while assisting the other party in achieving their interests. Interests are mutual of both parties involved. Both the parties will get benefits from the project. Interests of both the parties need to be satisfied.

SUGGESTION RECOMMENDED TO DR SWANSON FOR RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT Dr Swanson should emphasize on the fact that one of the major cause of the conflict between Dr Agadir and Dr Ouadda was the need of recognition, acknowledgement, credit of work, praise and honor as both of the scientists working on the projects needed these things for him. Giving them to one (Dr Agadir) raised professional jealousy and aroused the feeling of hatred. Such events should be avoided and recognition should be given equally to all the members working on a similar project.

mrk56 is used by Danish in the documents written originally by him.

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