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Introduction Causes of Conflict in the Workplace
a. Different Work Methods b. Different Goals c. Personalities d. Stress e. Different Viewpoints or Perspectives III. IV. Effects of Conflict in the Workplace Theories on Conflict Management
a. The Circle of Conflict b. Conflict Resolution Model V. VI. Why Conflict Management is Important How Big Corporations Deal with Conflict
a. Identify the Problem b. Propose Several Possible Solutions c. Evaluate Each Alternative d. Determine the Best Solution e. Implement the Alternative f. Continually Evaluate the Solution VII. Strategies for Minimizing Conflict
a. Respect Others b. Communicate Expectations c. Encourage Teamwork
d. Empower People VIII. Conclusion
Conflict, when properly managed, is a positive source of competitiveness and collaboration in a workplace. On the other hand, when unmanaged, conflict can create division, low morale, and chaos in the same environment. Executives and managers must learn to identify constructive conflict and manage it effectively. Conversely, leadership must identify negative conflict and deal with it decisively and completely. For leaders to manage conflict effectively, they must understand all aspects of it. Identifying the causes and exploring the effects of conflict is critical. Fortunately, managers can adopt strategies for minimizing conflict and learn useful ways to arrive at solutions by observing conflict management practices in successful corporations. Understanding and identifying the sources of conflict as well as positive and negative aspects of conflict is the first step to good leadership.
Causes of Conflict in the Workplace
All managers and executives at some time have had to deal with conflict. The way that each one handles discord is a determining factor of success. Initially, he or she must communicate to gain a clear understanding of what is actually causing the conflict. Rebecca Hastings explains the need for communication in the workplace in ³Conflict Management Contributes to Communication.´ Hastings states that most conflicts stem from poor communication in which one party misinterprets the words or actions of another party. She notes that communication problems are particularly exaggerated when departments are competing for resources or when they have unique subcultures. A critical step in solving conflict is for managers to understand that communication is one of its roots (Hastings). With that in mind, Hastings addresses some of the key issues that can trigger conflict. Different work methods Employees often have the same goal but different approaches for achieving it. Neither employee¶s approach may be incorrect, nor may one approach be less productive than the other may. As Hastings notes, the ownership of the approach, or idea, is what gives each employee pride. When approaches collide, a simple step toward resolution is for managers to encourage employees to develop more fully their approaches. Next, managers should ask employees to propose their respective plans and review them as a group. According to Hastings, employees will find that often a combination of the approaches is actually the best solution.
such as one that focuses on generating revenue. avoiding personality conflicts altogether can significantly affect productivity. As a result. A person¶s inherent biases are often contributing factors. In fact. management can overcome differences in goals through effective communication.Different goals Often in organizations. ³When two team members don¶t get along. Personalities Differences between employees¶ and managers¶ personalities often are a source of issues. Offering employees something as simple as a break or. security will understand how corporate decisions impact revenue. separate business units may drive towards different goals.´ writes Anna Maravelas (23). For example. Jeff Weiss and Jonathan Hughes write. Second. they tend to exert a bare minimum of effort on one another¶s behalf. People are sometimes annoyed by one another simply because of their looks or actions. good people reach the limits of composure and civil behavior. Leaders in this situation must carefully . ³One of the most effective ways senior managers can help resolve cross-unit conflict is by giving people the criteria for making trade-offs when the needs of different parts of the business are at odds with one another´ (96). business units will understand the basic role and importance of security. an afternoon off can go a long way toward relieving work-related stress. First.´ write Weiss and Hughes (97). Because everyone has biased opinions. ³When increased stress levels are combined with time pressures. leaders must learn to recognize the warning signs of stress in each employee and attempt to alleviate it. Every employee has a breaking point. However. in more severe cases. as stress from home and work deadlines collide. This goal often affects performance and work output to other business units. ³clashes between parties are the crucibles in which creative solutions are developed. As a result. However. Stress Stress is a huge motivator of conflict. Therefore. employees can let issues and differences roll off their backs. two things will happen in this scenario. As an executive or manager. With that in mind. effective leaders must understand employee biases and personality differences and partner teams and individuals to maximize productivity. the goal of a security controls department is to ensure the security of the corporation and its customers. Clearly. On a good day. often tempers will flare. if executives and managers communicate goals and criteria effectively. This has a negative effect on your project. employers are looking for diversity in people in order to ensure different perspectives are considered. Different viewpoints or perspectives Individual perspectives are what give a business environment its edge. it is imperative that goals be set at the corporate level and fully communicated to all areas of business. and every employee will reach his or her breaking point at some time or another. management should not expend resources attempting to change them. as well as on team morale´ (Robinson).
Further. Effective leaders must differentiate between conflict that will boost productivity and build stronger teams and conflict that will decrease output and hinder teamwork. ³Often. A recent poll at Williams Energy asked 75 employees. 11% bring work home only monthly. Effects of Conflict in the Workplace In addition to understanding the causes of conflict. Managers and leaders must remember that at least some of their employees will likely have different perspectives. One of the most damaging effects of workplace conflict is the personal toll it takes on employees. 58% responded that they bring work home with them weekly. This one area can be the trickiest for managers. 21% respondents said that they never bring work home with them.and clearly listen to and understand the different perspectives. conflict also has adverse effects on the workplace.´ The results of these two polls clearly show that employees take their work home with them a significant amount of time. ³How often do you bring work home with you?´ Interestingly. they can be useful and beneficial or destructive and damaging. 91% responded. Consider these benefits of managed conflict compared to the damage resulting from ³out of control´ conflict: Managed Conflict Strengthens relationships and builds teamwork Encourages open communication and Out of Control Conflict Damages relationships and discourages cooperation Results in defensiveness and hidden . While taking work home has a damaging effect on employees. Research clearly shows that employees routinely take their work home with them. often perspectives different from their own are misunderstood or pushed aside. managers must resolve conflict and channel it into positive competition and collaboration. at least weekly. When the poll asked the same 75 people how often conflict and stress at home causes them to lose sleep or feel anxiety. ineffectively managed conflict also affects employees personally through: y y y Anxiety Loss of sleep Lowered morale y Decreased job satisfaction In addition to taking a personal toll on employees. Since managers also have perspectives. managers need to understand its effects. In addition. and 10% bring work home daily. The effects of conflict in the workplace are often wide reaching and consuming. Clearly.
The Circle of Conflict Author Gary T. Conflict Management Team member Theories on Conflict Management There are perhaps as many theories for managing conflict as there are types of conflict. *Concept by Steve Sullivan. money and human resources Focuses on fault-finding and blaming Creates enemies and hard feelings Is frustrating. Furlong provides one of the most comprehensive sources for conflict resolution models in his book The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models & Maps for Analyzing. According to this model. hostile and chaotic The importance of managing conflict is evident. using the wrong antidote to attempt to cure an ailment is a waste of time and resources. To be sure. The following overview of some conflict management theories may aid in selection of the most effective management tool(s). supportive environment Calms and focuses toward results *Adapted from ³Managing Workplace Conflict´ ± www. or drivers. Reducing the negative effects and increasing the positive impacts is critical in a balanced workplace. and Resolving Conflict. The Circle of Conflict is a model offered by Furlong and focuses on the various causes.cooperative problem-solving Resolves disagreements quickly and increases productivity Deals with real issues and concentrates on win-win resolution Makes allies and diffuses anger Airs all sides of an issue in a positive. Clearly. stress producing and energy draining Is often loud.mala. Ranging from formal models to more simple problem-solving techniques. these theories offer many creative approaches to resolving conflict in various settings. Possibly the most important part of the conflict resolution process is using the most appropriate resolution for the conflict at hand. the six most common drivers of conflict are: . Leaders must skirt the fine line of reducing conflict and allow conflict to foster good results.ca agendas Wastes time. of conflict. Diagnosing. leadership must manage some conflict to reduce its impact while allowing some conflict to remain unmanaged in order to increase overall results.
Furlong contends that when conflicting parties allow their discussion to stray into drivers in the top half of the circle (values. misinformation. psychological or physiological issues of parties in conflict Data²lack of information. it is best to avoid them. and overcome geographical constraints. Conversely. relationships. ideas of right versus wrong. according to Furlong. concentrating on these drivers²things over which parties have some control²offers a more direct path toward managing the dispute. too much information. and structure drivers appear in the bottom half of the graph (see figure below). authority issues (Furlong 30) Furlong¶s Circle of Conflict resembles a pie graph divided into six equal parts in which values. allay another¶s fears. Changing another¶s perceptions of perceived past wrongs or dealing with external issues would make any disagreement worsen. and externals/moods drivers appear in the top half and data. According to Furlong.y y y y y y Values²one¶s belief systems. or concerns Structure²limitations on resources like time and money. fears. The main premise of this model is that conflict can be more easily resolved if discussions are focused on drivers in the bottom half of the circle (data. poor or failed communications. Because these drivers represent areas that are not generally within a party¶s control. where. etc. needs. and structure). interests. Externals/Moods²factors unrelated to the conflict. individuals in conflict can work together to change data problems. interests. These drivers are in the bottom portion of the circle of conflict. repetitive negative behaviors. most of the real resolution work should focus. relationships. etc. . Relationships²stereotypes. conflict will likely escalate. and externals/moods). data collection problems Interests²each party¶s wants. organizational structure. desires. geographical constraints.
Patrick Lencioni presents another conflict resolution model. Lencioni¶s model is a series of concentric circles centered around a point of conflict (see figure below).The Conflict Resolution Model In his book. . Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
This model proposes four different types of obstacles that prevent issues from being resolved. the obstacles closest to the center of the model² i. According to Lencioni. with obstacles becoming increasingly more difficult to overcome as one moves outward from the center of the model. These barriers include: . the issue²are the easiest barriers to overcome.e..
In this way. facts. y Individual obstacles (the outermost circle)²issues that are specific to each person in the conflict. and even values and motives all play a part in causing and eventually resolving conflict (Lencioni 125). knowledge. The type of conflict and its management determines a positive or negative outcome. this conflict resolution model resembles Furlong¶s Circle of Conflict model as they both reveal hot-button issues managers should avoid when attempting to resolve conflict. In their book Dealing With People You Can¶t Stand. prior unresolved legacies or events among the parties. largely because they involve personalities and other issues that are not easy to change. Why Conflict Management Is Important The plain and simple truth about conflict is that it has both good and bad effects. it all depends on the situation and variables involved. IQ. the group should consider the model to decide whether to address the issue. divided we can¶t stand each other´ (38).y Informational obstacles (circle closest to the issue or conflict)²the easiest issues for most people to discuss. Lencioni also states that obstacles at the outside of the circle are more difficult to resolve. relationships run smoothly and conflict is significantly minimized. ³United we stand. office politics. The two conflict resolution models presented here illustrate that conflict most often happens when the emphasis is on differences between people. the methods available to resolve conflicts are numerous. the physical space. when people concentrate on what they have in common with one another instead of their differences. What is right for one conflict may be wrong for another. y Relationship obstacles (the next circle out)²issues between the people involved in the conflict. y Environmental obstacles (the next circle out)²the atmosphere in which the conflict is taking place. Parties that are able to talk about these types of issues must trust each other because doing so involves some type of personal risk (Lencioni 127). the issues toward the outside of the circle in Lencioni¶s model and those in the top half of Furlong¶s model are the most challenging. Lencioni contends that if parties choose not to address and resolve an issue. they should agree not to let it affect their ability to resolve the larger conflict. Certainly. EQ. or even position in the organization may affect how people work through conflict. In short. If not . individual moods. individuals must exchange information. their reputation. self-esteem. Clearly. individual experiences. There is certainly no right or wrong way to solve a problem. Rick Brinkman and Dr. When a conflict arises because of a particular obstacle. opinions. and company culture can all have an effect on the resolution process. Lencioni explains that the key to this model is to understand that these obstacles exist during discussions. and perspectives if they want to move toward resolution. Rick Kirschner cleverly describe it this way. authors Dr.
Fourth. contends Eric Brahm. it is important to mention one important note about negative conflict and employees. absenteeism at its worst. It diverts worker attention from normal duties. Lastly. a certified anger management trainer and licensed psychologist. Employees who are overstressed and have peer relation problems at work oftentimes carry those problems home. reduced productivity. high turnover rate. conflict produces the following results: new ideas for changing organizations. With that said. a number of researchers acknowledge substantial benefits. hampered performance. Unmanaged conflict can create bad feelings in people who experience it as well as those who merely observe it (Royer). it is imperative to manage negative conflict in the workplace constructively. a chance for workers to expand their capabilities. there are the direct costs. economic costs. This leads to decreased productivity. Contrary to the common belief that conflict is limited to a disruptive effect. . Additional unfavorable impacts caused to organizations are increased absenteeism and employee stress. Brahm suggests that conflict costs organizations in many significant ways. conflict often has significant productivity costs in terms of the value of lost time to the organization. violence. it can cause damage to ongoing relationships that wrecks the feeling of community in organizations. conflict can be a driving force of change. but it ultimately carries over into one¶s home life. increased stress among employees. management must swiftly and effectively confront conflict that is detrimental to the organization. and interruptions in employee relationships (Bowditch & Buono). high turnover rates. When managed correctly. Negative conflict affects organizations. In fact. managers and supervisors must realize the importance of allowing constructive conflict. A doctor in the field of political science. Third. ³The effects of conflict in the workplace are widespread and costly. and the introduction of creativity into thoughts about organizational problems (Bowditch & Buono). What is more. Second. At the same time. Clearly. shows that 24-60% of management time and energy is spent dealing with anger. Absenteeism often increases due to conflict. and death´ (Fiore). and organizational costs. solving of continuous problems. ³First. conflict has emotional costs for those involved´ (Brahm). Its prevalence. Unmanaged and negative conflict has human costs. conflict often reduces motivation and increases turnover. including such things as fees paid to lawyers and other professionals for their intervention. conflict can have continuity costs ± namely.properly managed. conflict can be destructive and ruin employee relationships. Poorly managed conflict causes deteriorated employee and team performance levels. and monetary losses associated with professional fees such as attorneys and court costs. Doctor Tony Fiore. as indicated in three serious studies. especially in the workplace. said. It is important to manage conflict.
corporate.¶ helping the parties define the agenda. It differs from arbitration. and eventually to a resolved situation. Another strategy used by large corporations to manage conflict is incrementalism. and hopefully. with many people working independently and in concert.´ Mediation is a tool used within large corporations to resolve issues and to assign responsibility for specific problems. A third strategy of large corporations for conflict management is mediation. negotiate fairly.How Big Corporations Deal with Conflict Large companies that manage conflict effectively employ several strategies. find areas of common ground. Another strategy used by large corporations to manage conflict is effective communication. identify and reframe the issues. ³where the intermediary listens to the arguments of both sides and makes a decision for the disputants. ³the mediator is primarily a µprocess person. reach an agreement´ (Honeyman and Yawanarajah). or break off contact´ (Maiese 1). Burgess suggests that even when the overall conflict cannot be resolved. large corporations negotiate by ³swapping data and trying to influence one another´ in a process of give-andtake (Maiese 8). Solutions need to be developed slowly over a long time period.´ Parties usually negotiate when they ³wish to create something new that neither could do on his or her own. Parties that negotiate typically ³prefer to search for agreement rather than fight openly. communicate more effectively. including negotiation. the situation will improve incrementally. ³It is almost impossible for one person or even one group of people to come in and. which involves developing solutions over time. When dealing with conflict. and effective communication. help the parties find a solution.´ as a mediator helps parties ³to develop a solution themselves´ (Honeyman and Yawanarajah). or to resolve a problem or dispute between them´ (Maiese 2).´ They claim the mediator¶s role is ³to facilitate communication between the parties. to bring about transformation of the conflict from a destructive one to a constructive one. in a relatively short period of time. mediation. or international (diplomatic) level. she indicates negotiation ³can occur at a personal. In short. corporations have a chance of resolving conflict through negotiation as long as both sides project a willingness to compromise. Michelle Maiese describes negotiation as ³a discussion between two or more disputants who are trying to work out a solution to their problem´ (1). Donna Bellafiore stresses the importance of effective communication as she describes six critical steps for conflict resolution. give in. According to Maiese. assist them in focusing on the real issues of the dispute. Burgess and Maiese). and generate options that meet the interests or needs of all relevant parties in an effort to resolve the conflict. incrementalism. Christopher Honeyman and Nita Yawanarajah describe mediation as ³a non-adversarial process in which a third-party neutral assists in resolving a dispute between two or more other parties.´ claims Heidi Burgess (1). ³These incremental steps will benefit small parts of the conflict system immediately and eventually can work together to facilitate the transformation of the wider conflict´ (Burgess. . Further.
In addition. they should determine ³what to do in case the agreement starts to break down´ (Bellafiore).´ She recommends that parties repeat the process ³until the list is narrowed down to one or two of the best ways of handling the problem. it is imperative that both sides clearly define the outcomes they want. Propose several possible solutions. ³As long as it seems fair and there is a mutual commitment to work with the decision. Bellafiore describes the second stage as ³the brainstorming phase´ during which ³the points that everyone agrees on and the shared goals´ are communicated. as long as the revisions are agreed upon mutually´ (Bellafiore).´ Bellafiore stresses the importance of honesty at this phase and cautions that solutions will likely involve compromise. Bellafiore suggests that managers should view conflict resolution as an ongoing process. ³Aim toward quantity of ideas rather than quality during this phase. During brainstorming. and avoid blame´ (Bellafiore). parties should first ³agree on the details of what each party must do. Determine the best solution. ³Define the things that you both agree on. Something unexpected might have come up. Implement the alternative. and let creativity be your guide. ³considering the pros and cons of the remaining solutions. parties record any potential approaches to the problem they can envision without considering the feasibility of the ideas.Identify the problem. It is important to listen actively to what the other is saying. the conflict has a chance for resolution. Evaluate each alternative. Bellafiore encourages parties to choose the most mutually acceptable solution. as well as the ideas that have caused the disagreement. Bellafiore suggests then analyzing each approach to the problem one by one. Continually evaluate the solution. Bellafiore indicates that the resolution process begins with a discussion ³to understand both sides of the problem.´ advises Bellafiore.´ writes Bellafiore. ³Make it a point to ask the other person from time to time how things are going. even if it is not perfect for either party. .´ she writes. or managers may have overlooked some aspect of the problem. Your decisions should be seen as open to revision.´ In this stage. use µI¶ statements. To implement the alternative.
However. Deming found that where quotas exist. employees will likely overlook important tasks. employees express ³enhanced feelings of loyalty and pride in their company [as] their ideas [are] accepted´ (Walton 79). Further.Strategies for Minimizing Conflict Clearly. create an open communication environment . . positive energy replaced negativity. Thus. managers should solicit feedback from employees.´ In addition. As they did so. managers must ³clearly communicate work priorities and responsibilities. . ³To manage conflict effectively you must . and expectations leads to trust and confidence´ (Stevens). ³a system that fosters an atmosphere of receptivity and recognition is far preferable to one that measures people by the numbers they turn out´ and is less likely to incite conflict (Walton 79). Clearly. . Then a mediator stepped in and asked them to share things they respected about one another. says communications consultant Bob Gemignani (Weinstein). Communicating expectations can affect employees at several levels. If managers fail to communicate expectations effectively through job descriptions and delegation. effective managers must ³provide feedback on how well employees follow through´ (Weinstein). Anna Maravelas illustrates the critical role of respect in conflict resolution in the following scenario. Respect others. by encouraging employees to talk about work issues´ (Berkeley). Edwards Deming touches on the relationship between conflict and respect when he calls for the elimination of numerical quotas to measure a day¶s work. Not only is communicating expectations important for resolving task and interpersonal conflict. Likewise. peer pressure and animosity become prevalent among coworkers as people take a back seat to numbers. they experience different results. Managers who respect their employees are more likely to gain the respect of their employees. communicating expectations can minimize conflict by . he found that when managers ask employees to solve problems²such as finding ways to save the company money²instead of imposing mandatory quotas. Margery Weinstein suggests that to conquer conflict. In essence. Clearly. building a platform of conflict resolution that transcended ³pettiness and irritability´ (204-205). conflict among coworkers is impossible to eliminate. In short. many managers recognize key strategies that can successfully minimize the negative effects of conflict in the workplace. communicating ³information. companies that claim respect as a corporate value will reinforce it through corporate practices. but it is also an integral part of leadership training (Stevens). . goals. Renowned management guru W. Likewise. ³assuming somebody else is taking care of something´ is a surefire way to incite conflict. Communicate expectations. Hours of constant dissension had left executives exhausted and disconnected (203).
Conclusion Dealing with conflict in the workplace may be the most important function that leadership must learn to handle. . Like teamwork. Deming sets the story in a shoe factory where technicians developed a revolutionary product for which sales staff received thousands of orders. they begin to develop ³an ownership attitude´ in which they see conflict resolution as directly affecting their own bottom lines (Hersey. goals. as people are empowered in their decision-making. According to Craig Stevens. companies that ³share the secrets . what is really happening´ take a critical step toward empowering people (Hersey. In addition. they are more ³committed to their work´ and are more apt to work through conflicts on their own (Schwarz 328). As people become empowered. Clearly. the individuals no longer share ³the same personal mission. As a result. Empowering the workforce can help minimize conflict as it makes people part of the solution when problems arise. Encourage teamwork. Deming illustrates how the breakdown in teamwork fosters conflict in ³the parable of the shoes´ (Walton 74-75). each individual on a team should replicate the team in terms of ³team mission. When conflicts arise. . . As a result. As a result. the process of empowerment closely ties to communication. seeing and doing things in new ways.´ people are more apt to interject new ideas in an environment where differences are accepted (Perlow 5).clearing up misconceptions about task roles and instilling trust and confidence in leadership. team goals. their work becomes more motivating. Weinstein attests to the value of teamwork. empowering people can help managers minimize conflict. Because the designers and sales staff failed to consult the manufacturing department. Further. the force a company exerts to solve problems is found in a critical combination of teamwork and communication. and team agenda´ (Stevens). which leads to a more creative atmosphere. ³Employees should be able to go to a team meeting rife with disagreement and emerge ready to unanimously support the team¶s final decision. . Empower people. Because ³creativity and learning require . As a result. and agenda´ (Stevens). and Johnson 223). effective teamwork reduces conflict in the workplace. effective conflict management is the staple of . Blanchard. Clearly.´ she writes. customers were alienated because ³departments [had] different goals and [did] not work together as a team to solve problems´ (Walton 74). and Johnson 223). Corporations that treat people as partners tend to more openly discuss a conflict. the company was unable to fulfill orders. Blanchard.
1994. and A. 3 September 2007. and Nita Yawanarajah.´ BeyondIntractability. ³Costs of Intractable Conflict. Maiese. ³Resolving Workplace Conflict: Four Ways to a Win-Win Solution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ³Incrementalism. Brinkman. Patrick. NJ: Prentice Hall. 2005.´ www. 3 September 2007.´ DRB Alternatives. A Primer on Organizational Behavior.org/essay/incrementalism/ 6. 8.beyondintractability. 5. Upper Saddle River. http://www.com/articles/cc2. 05 September 2007 http://businessknowhow. 3 September 2007. Ontario: Wiley and Sons.org>.good leadership.org.org/essay/mediation/>. 8th ed. 10.F. Furlong.BeyondIntractability. Burgess. www.org/essay/costs_benefits/. Eric. armed with the techniques and understandings outlined above. Tony. Brahm. Management of Organizational Behavior. managers are equipped to channel all conflict in the workplace into constructive conflict. Kenneth H. http://beyondintractability. January 2007.org. Honeyman. 13. Gary T. 7. Rebecca. 11. Diagnosing. Because conflict management is quickly becoming the most critical and time-consuming aspect of management. Hughes. and Jeff Weiss. ³Mediation.org. Works Cited 1. J. and Dewey E. Lencioni. New York: John Wiley and Sons. leaders can embrace conflict as the mark of a productive workplace environment. managers must be prepared. Rick and Dr. Dealing with People You Can¶t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst.´ Business Know-How Online. New York: McGrawHill.´ Harvard Business Review. Addressing conflict in the workplace is no longer a task to be avoided. 3 September 2007 <http://www. 1997. Bellafiore. Guy Burgess. 3 September 2007 <http://www. Donna. Johnson. Hersey.html. Fiore. managers can use conflict as a tool. ³Interpersonal Conflict and Effective Communication. 9. Dr. and Michelle Maiese. 2001. Hastings. 3. 12. With the right understanding and the right decisions. Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide. Trevecca Nazarene University 2007. Blanchard.´ SHRM Online Diversity Focus.shrm. Buono.beyondintractability. 2005.. ³Conflict Management Contributes to Communication.org. Rick Kirschner. Instead.com/manage/resolve. 4th ed. .beyondintractability. Jonathon. 4.htm. 3 September 2007 <www. Bowditch. Christopher.org/essay/negotiation/>. conflict²both positive and negative²is here to stay.´ www. Michelle. Clearly. The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing. 2. Inc. 1999 ± 2007. ³Want Collaboration? Accept ± And Actively Manage ± Conflict. and Resolving Conflict. ³What is Negotiation?´ BeyondIntractability. Paul.L.drbalternatives.BeyondIntractability. However. Heidi.
2003. http://www.Incentivemag. Mary.com 24 February 2003. ³Learning to Play Well Together: Negotiating Personality Conflicts.edu/guide/conflict. However. 16.´ 3 September 2007 <http://www. New York: Wiley. www. work related conflict becomes a normal part of human interaction. Keys to Successful Leadership during Times of Conflict and/or Change Physical and Psychological Effects of Workplace Conflicts By Diane Booker. This can cause serious health problems. The Deming Management Method. Conflict in the Workplace Conflicts at work can arise daily.´ 2004. the administration of processes and procedures . Schwarz.edu/FirstYearModules/ConflictManagement/Materials. 22. NJ: Career Press. 18. ³Chapter 15: Managing Conflict. Researchers are examining the correlation between workplace stress and its effect on the well being of employees.´ westbrookstevens. 17. New York: Berkley. 2005.htm>. Perlow. The Skilled Facilitator.berkeley.com/step_1. 2002.htm.html. Stress can have a negative impact on people¶s lives and health. Anna.mala.´ Nielsen Business Media. How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress.edu. 20. 1986. ³Conflict Management. conflicts can escalate into disturbing situations for individuals.psu. and Janine Helton (TNU 2007) Human beings are fascinating and individualistic creatures. Our society and the health care industry are beginning to realize the effects of conflict stress. 4 September 2007 <http://istudy. ³Conquering Conflict. Franklin Lakes. Robinson.com. 21. Berkeley.´ TechRepublic. Weinstein. University of California. Walton. 23. some people do not handle stress as well as others. Some of the root causes for employee stress are the distribution of job assignments. Leslie A. Roger. Pamela Cohea. 19. As a result. Stevens. www.ca/conflict/index.asp>. Therefore. 27 August 2007 <http://www.com 8 June 2007. ³Managing Workplace Conflict. Malaspina University-College. Everyday these extraordinary creatures come together in the workplace to earn a living for their very existence. When You Say Yes But Mean No.westbrookstevens. 15. This article is about workplace conflicts and the effect it can have on one¶s health. Scott.berkeley. 5 September 2007. New York: Crown Business. ³Phase 1 of the Linked Management Models: The Mobile of Excellent Management.techrepublic. 27 August 2007 http://hrweb.14. Margery.html>. Chris Cook. Pennsylvania State University.com/5100-22-1049635. 15 September 2007 http://articles.com/msg/content_display/training/e3i7f061da19523bf1b973a7e698978599f. Maravelas. Craig A.´ Guide to Managing Human Resources.incentivemag.
and team member interactions. researchers can identify ways to improve stressful situations within the workplace. These methods have allowed some organizations to develop initiatives to address sources and symptoms of job stress (1). The results showed that thirty-one percent of respondents experienced chronic work stress. meeting work deadlines. The article. The people who do the work are the most knowledgeable about problems within their work area. Once the data is collected. explains the evaluation process. Research on the Topic Researchers have begun to study the correlation between conflicts in the workplace and employee well being. The questionnaire allows the management of the organization to learn more about their specific stress factors. Such questionnaires should include a process to measure employee perceptions of jobs. and overall health. ³Association of Chronic Work Stress. Dr. Conduct investigations into the direct causes. y y y y Identify the problem. Identify the factors that create or contribute to the problem (brainstorming). The first step in each of the programs is to administer a short questionnaire to employees. After the completion of the questionnaires.throughout the work environment. . organizational commitment. excessive absenteeism abounds and negatively affects the overall productivity of the organization. The study also found that workplace related anxieties are often associated with sick leave requests (1). researchers are able to analyze the data. Successful Ways to implement Team Problem Solving Techniques The first thing that an organization should do is to create a Problem Solving Team. Carol Dewa believes that there is a link between psychiatric disorders and work-related stress (1). One of the greatest stress factors is caused when an employee thinks that he/she has been treated unfairly. This stress led to at least one chronic physical or psychiatric disorder among those affected. Conduct fact-finding surveys and time studies.´ published by a group of British doctors. She conducted a study in Canada to test this theory. The study included 22.118 working respondents from the Canadian Community Health Group. Listed are steps a team can take in identifying and addressing stress producing problems within any organization. Study conclusions showed the presence of chronic work stress appears to amplify the effects of other disorders. Managers need to be fair and consistent when dealing with every employee. The team should include members of management and those employees directly working in day-to-day organizational operations. and Psychiatric Disorders. This information allows them to identify individuals with high potential for stress related problems within their organization. Some companies are looking to develop Stress Risk Assessments and Workplace Health Programs for their employees. As a result. Employers need to be aware of their responsibilities and roles in creating stressful situations within the workplace. They need to set a tone of organizational openness and trust that will help to alleviate problems.
The results will be beneficial to both organizations. Tommy Stone. the weakened organization becomes the target of a hostile takeover attempt. and Moore as Vice President of Marketing. Geronimo Stone: His Music. faces the challenge of saving his late uncle¶s music company. communicate the findings. It now falls to him to implement the new management plan and save his family¶s business. Craig A. They must learn techniques and skills necessary to manage these scenarios successfully. Geronimo Stone In light of this information. Likewise. too late. Stevens titles his model. as well as employees. Additionally. successful management finds balance under the hand of effective leadership. and a passion for teaching. the main character. Likewise. In Geronimo Stone. As the story unfolds. years of business management expertise. After . contains many management principles practical for real life application. the secrets of successful management. Moore possesses much expertise. and the Mobile of Excellent Management. Organizations need to recognize that workplace stress can have a negative impact on the health and well being of their workforce.´ Structured as a hanging model. and introduce the action plan for improvement. he has received recognition for ³motivating successful teams and imaginative problem solving´ (168). he has ³worked with every level of management´ in ³organizations of every size´ (167). Among many accomplishments. Conduct team meetings with employees. With these ideas expounded upon. managers need to be aware of situations that cause conflict and stress. Tommy has long realized the business is vulnerable due to his uncle¶s shortsighted management philosophy. Stevens uses them to create the story¶s pivotal management model. Tommy learns that his late uncle had realized. Upon the death of its¶ dynamic leader. Stevens has taught extensively on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Stevens serves as President. is a book useful for leaders in all fields. Their book. the authors have pooled their expansive business knowledge. how do organizations produce content employees who are productive and creative? How can leaders harness such human resources and use them to create strong teams? Authors.y y Analyze data and create a summary report. As stated in their book. Jerry Westbrook are the basis for the secrets of successful management highlighted in the book (162). ³The Mobile of Excellent Management´ The original ideas of Dr. In this literary collaboration. and has extensive experience in the music industry. Craig A. Together they bring to their work. His Love. Studies have shown that happy and content employees are productive and creative allowing them to be the best in their business. ³The Mobile of Excellent Management. have written a fictional story that answers such questions. at the Westbrook Stevens consulting firm. Stevens and Michael Moore. What results.
he strives to maintain the existing workforce. They explain. Team Building and Problem Solving One of the most vital functions a leader performs is the building of strong employee work teams. Blanchard. CEO of ABC Supply. The following graphic illustrates how these attributes find support and balance within the management framework. So is learning the secrets of problem solving in order to maintain team strength. Kenneth H. ³think of problem-solving in the broader sense as the skills and core competencies needed to do a good job´ (102). They are: leadership. what would you do?¶ And he tells me ninety-five percent of what has to be changed for that business to be successful´ (72-73). Leadership The model suggests that leadership plays a profound role in successful management. In their text. Management of Organizational Behavior. one discovers that Stevens emphasizes seven key management attributes. ³We have known since time began that people working together get more done than people working alone´ (86). Recognizing that well-led teams help to create strong organizations is important to effective management. When I buy a business ± and this is a business that might be failing ± I talk to the forklift operator or the warehouse guy. Stevens and Moore describe this management step as the ³tool box´ of the work team (99).´ Geronimo Stone states. problem solving. Paul Hersey. and communicate« in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and challenging world´ (6). Ken Hendrix. Further. team building. ³leaders must be able to diagnose. a team with superior . ³leadership and management of organizations have never been more challenging´ (1). customer focus. When Hendrix takes over a new venture. I¶ll say. has used this belief to create enormous success for his company. and Dewey E. Stevens and Moore describe leaders as able ³to empower organizational structures that lead the company to success´ (29). Successful leaders recognize that an organization¶s pool of human resources is its¶ most important asset. Johnson explore the face of modern management theory. He states: ³It¶s a fact that employees have a lot to offer. and performance measures. adapt. µIf you were running this business. In Maria Bartiromo¶s article in the September 2007 issue of The Reader¶s Digest. They suggest that. they assert. As twenty-first century companies are increasingly required to face changes of every kind. Hendrix describes his philosophy. This commitment to team building is also found in Stevens¶ book within the ³Mobile of Excellent Management. continuous improvement. adaptable leaders are indispensable.examination of the model. Naturally. culture.
They researched various avenues in which to recognize employee performance as it relates to business. secure employees are both creative and productive. As a result. The field is particularly concerned with group dynamics. ³When employees are working for a company that is investing for the future. employees are less secure. Conversely. As Mary Walton suggests in The Deming Management Method. Just as the fictional Tommy Stone discovered. ³Empowerment embodies the belief that the answer to the latest crisis lies within each of us and therefore we all buckle up for the adventure´ (154). how individuals relate to and participate in groups. Once empowered. This focus on the immediate prevents them from adequately investing in the company¶s long-range future (55). To gain better understanding. the organizational environment was structured and demanding. examines the concept of employee empowerment. saying. and Rolf Osterberg. and controlling human behavior in an organizational environment. many companies become weak by bearing the everyday concerns of business. Among them are the adoption of a shared vision. Chris Argyris. Naylor.problem solving skills will translate into a more effective and happier workforce. predicting. Douglas McGregor. early contributors Douglas McGregor. greater potential for future success. Consequently. William H. corporally shared. By applying the management principles taught in Geronimo Stone. This attitude. Willimon. The book. In years past. understanding. managers will be helping to strengthen their companies for the future. The authors quote Peter Block. creates a sense of teamwork that goes far in building workplace security. their companies will become stronger and their employees will be content. As Ken Hendrix has discovered. they will feel more secure and less likely to look for jobs in companies that appear more promising´ (55). managers need an understanding of human behavior within workplace settings. how leadership is exercised. as we know it today. real life managers must learn to implement effective management principles. Deliberately and intelligently managing teams leads to many positive results. and how change is effected in organizational settings (Gale 1). Managers who seek to build such skills will ultimately be reducing workplace conflict and employee stress. It has now changed to an environment that listens to and understands the needs of employees. . Human Behavior in the Organizational Environment In order to implement effective management principles. Walton suggest. The Search for Meaning in the Workplace by Thomas H. and Rensis Likert enhanced the theory of behavior. The work of these scholars forged the discipline of organizational behavior. In doing so. highly competent employees who possess excellent problem solving skills are extremely beneficial. and the creation of an empowered workforce. Such empowered employees share with management a vision that enables a company to succeed. how organizations function. Experts define organizational behavior as an academic discipline concerned with describing. they are able to excel to become exemplary within their fields.
and aspirations. how personalities have made life in an organization unbearable and.´ assumed that ³Theory X´ people were lazy.the creator of ³Theory X´ and ³Theory Y. Assumptions are that conflict in society happens over competition for limited resources. it is imperative to identify certain behaviors within the work environment and within teams. People possessing power attempt to preserve their privilege to benefit themselves and protect their status and property. He believed constraints of organizational structure on people were self-defeating to organizational goals of effectiveness and efficiency. When these elements are absent. permanent transfers. organizations should impose development interventions. and etiquette. As a manager. Studies have shown that personality differences seem to be the common denominator that creates team member conflict. These examples reveal themselves in two ways. this meant close supervision and guidance so that management could ensure high performance. Group behavior entails various concepts associated with team development and the behaviors associated with this process. Power itself may also be a scarce resource. First. Additionally. In an organization. secondly. possessed personal goals that ran counter to the organization¶s goals. one must also review the behaviors associated with groups. Chris Argyris also made a strong case for reducing the amount of organizational control. Such people. Social change is an expected feature of conflict in society. and dismissal if needed (Bulleit 10). Such conflict occurs as groups with differing degrees of power compete for scarce resources. To avoid these types of clashes. and many other factors. expectations. or age can all result in power inequities and conflict. within small group interactions. trust. and Johnson 60). goals. these factors have the potential to keep the team from achieving success. gender. resistance to change. The main factors in team development involve the importance of rapport. Rensis Likert proposed that managers would be most effective using a supportive approach. Interventional plans help to increase awareness of sources of conflict. temporary assignments. self-motivated and self-controlled than ³Theory X´ assumed (Hersey. Such plans may lead to changes such as job rotation. Blanchard. conflict may take place due to personality clashes. The ³Theory Y´ philosophy made assumptions based on greater trust in others. he believed. Inequalities of race. conflict tends to arise. class. As a result. he concluded that managers had to control people through external factors. This theory held the belief that human beings were more mature. Left unchecked. . This meant creating a work environment in which the individual sees their experiences in terms of their values. how one has contributed to an enjoyable experience (Ratzburg 1). and increase diversity awareness and skills. Such an environment would contribute to and maintain an employee¶s sense of personal worth and importance (Bence 14). The conflict perspective focuses on forces in society that promote competition and change. Group Behavior In order for organizational behavior to be successful. Understanding organizations and their effective functioning requires the development of a comprehensive view of human behavior. People are more than willing to cite examples of how personalities have affected team performances.
Likewise. Steven's diagram of Phase 3 of The Linked Management Models. or sentiments will produce some change in the other two as well (Westbrook Stevens 3). until management introduces sweeping changes through downsizing or rightsizing. As a result. and sentiments are always subject to what constitutes a change. There are always driving and restraining forces in an evolving organization that relate to possibilities of change. Conflict ³Conflict can be viewed as a difference in perspectives´ (Fernandez 1). Linked Management Model Phase III. Perhaps. Especially. This particularly relates to the organization¶s bottom line. There are two views of conflict. These forces can clash and cause conflict. Such knowledge is essential for meeting the challenges and uncertainty that confront today¶s organizations. This view maintains that embracing diversity is healthy. which do not necessarily relate to a change of staff. The other is the human relationship view that believes that conflict is natural. in order to bring about a more effective and efficient organization. based on a contingency theory. management. Below is Craig A.Possessing a strong knowledge of organizational behavior is an asset that will prepare employees for leadership roles. There can be changes to an organization's external environment. interactions. The Drivers of Change Perhaps one of the most challenging problems organizations face today is how to effectively handle workplace change. if one individual sees the need for change and the other is content with the status quo. Most people are content within their comfort zones and tend to rely on the status quo. both views are correct at the appropriate time. or procedures. . International and domestic events can produce cause and effect relationships to the drivers of change. but only when energy and creativity remain properly harnessed. conflict and tension can naturally arise at times. so can government restrictions and regulations. interactions. change is either an act or a process. ³Understanding the Drivers of Change´ An organization's internal environment is comprised of its systems and its people. They are necessary. No two individuals are likely to see any one thing the same way. In this regard. Such changes are likely to rattle the foundations of operating procedures. It is the unhealthy conflict that one should avoid. however. Any change in activities. That is. The structure of the organization's activities. One is the traditional view that conflict is bad and people should avoid it.
and possible directions to take Help find needed resources Provide constructive feedback. Even when conflict is beneficial for generating creativity. Share observations. Coach staff. Help team members plan how to implement their agreement. . Separate the people from the problems. and the other party loses. issues. Ask questions to clarify expectations. Make suggestions on how to proceed Help negotiate. Be mindful of other people's styles. Today there are many wrongs in every right and vice-versa. Help team members evaluate their efforts and make needed changes.Prevention It is not always healthy or good to be in continuous conflict. Set ground rules for discussion Teach reflective listening skills to team members. The following are ways of preventing and managing conflict: Help the team focus on the task and stay on track. (Fernandez 3) Negotiation Historically negotiation simply means that one party wins. Teach meditation skills. too much of a good thing is too much indeed. The following are suggested principles for negotiation that foster a ³win-win´ solution: View participants as problem solvers.
They should also spell out tasks. high amounts of both task and relationship behaviors are needed. An experienced cohesive team can always accomplish its mission effortlessly in this mode.Be soft on the people. such as discussion. Johnson 328) The second problem-solving mode is the Organizational Problem-Solving Mode. The very nature of crises makes this the best approach for problem solving. Blanchard. These characteristics are much like family characteristics. Help participants create multiple options for mutual gain. and how information. (Hersey.´ There is low task and relationship behavior in this mode. Leaders must place considerable emphasis on structuring team activities and motivating team members. Johnson 329). not on positions or the bottom line. there is not much room for relationship behavior. ³emphasis is on getting the job done through performing the assigned roles with a minimum of structuring activities and socio emotional support. ask members for ideas. The Interpersonal Problem-Solving Mode is a high relationship-low task approach. (Hersey. (Hersey. Blanchard. Use objective criteria. cliques develop that serve to disrupt the team. (Hersey. (Fernandez 4) Team Problem Solving Modes Teams develop characteristics that set them apart from other teams. and encourage conversation in order to assure a productive team meeting. Blanchard. Employing strong relationship behaviors helps to increase interaction of all team members. Any work team may have its own rituals and traditions that make it a unique work unit. Blanchard. It only comes down to who does what. a team is facing a situation that requires significant amounts of task behavior. After a problem presents.so do teams have modes or patterns of behavior as perceived by others.´ (Hersey. Blanchard. In the Routine Procedural Mode. Due to the need for this kind of information. when. There are four problem-solving modes for various group situations. There should be plenty of what. take a back seat. When in this mode. not to pressure. . Johnson 329). Reason and be open to reason. They establish cohesiveness and group identity. Johnson 328). Behaviors. yield to principles. ³Just as leaders have styles . The danger is that many organizations treat every situation as if it is a crisis. First. Focus on the interests. where. there is the Crisis Mode. Johnson 329). hard on the problem. In the Crisis Mode.
They also suggest the use of drama and role-play to engage learners in clarifying the issues.com 2) . characterized by organizational drivers of change. The types of modern classes available are as follows: Team building. Lateral thinking. Modern training is most popular with sales staffs and project managers. executives spend more than nine weeks each year resolving personality clashes between employees. Aside from methods of arbitration or involvement of costly legal action. ³Other techniques include using posters to promote conflict resolution. a human resource professional.´ (Brown 1). is drawing attention to interpersonal conflicts among workers. Facilitator training. Training for all employees that includes conflict resolution is available and popular today. Casey and Casey suggest self-esteem training to aid in the process of conflict management.´ If employees do not have the skills to work in teams. teamwork can become disastrous. Such clashes undermine morale. where successful resolution means that the issue is totally resolved and finished. such as. Competition and complex communication barriers create conditions that generate the need for new training and employee development. Teams do not always work effectively. but applies to all situations. Team member training. engaging in active listening. This involves using the services of a mediator.jeniotraining. This helps in constructing solutions to conflict situations (Brown 1). ³According to a recent Accountemps survey. Team leader training. ³Conflict management is the ability to manage every-day situations that involve personal interactions involving difference of opinion. Audience participation in conflict resolution is also used. conflict mediation moves toward worker empowerment. and practicing ³win-win´ strategies.New Training Programs and Techniques for Individuals and Groups A diverse workforce. and change may not accomplish everything intended. (www.´(Brown 1). Effective meeting management skills. It differs from conflict resolution. Databased team oriented problem solving. detailing ways to handle anger.
2. ³The Roofer¶s Son.H. Mieke Ph. Organizational Behavior Forum. .P.athealth. conflict and change are formidable challenges to meet. Managing Organizational Behavior. while still achieving organizational goals. Electronic collaboration process. Sept. ultimately. M. Kathryn.There are a number of various methods for training.D.D. Works Cited 1. They know these principles are the tools that help to create empowered employees and strong organizations. secure work environments. Managers must possess an understanding of human behavior and an ability to create healthy. They must also be able to meet the needs of individual employees.com/wwwimages/whitepaperpdf/WP_Bulleit 5. 2006 http://www. 22 Aug 2007 http://www. 2006 http://images. Video/DVD presentations. Fernandez. Effectively Managing Team Conflict. Paul. Bence. Johnson. Carolyn S. 2007: 71-74.globalknowledge. and Lin. Dewa.. 22 Aug 2007 http://www.com/stress. Kooehoorn. and Dewey E.. Bettina L. its bottom line. Management of Organizational Behavior. Maria..referenceforbusiness.html 7. Thomas. www. Group interactive discussions.com/encyclopedia/Oli-Per/OrganizationalBehavior. Elliot M. Exemplary leaders understand that excellent management principles are vital for keeping pace in a rapidly changing world. Allen. Goldner. Blanchard. M. Ph.selfgrowth.html 8.html. Hersey. Conclusion In today¶s rapidly changing workplace environments. Elizabeth. Gale. Brown.com/fob/TFB1.pdf 3.calpro-online.org/ERIC/docgen. Bulleit. 2006 http://www..D. Conflict Management Trends and Issues Alert. Bartiromo. Conflict Resolution Head Start Bulletin 2002. 2nd ed.H.com/consumer/disorders/conlictres. 1998. Both have the potential to greatly impact an organization¶s workforce. 6. Kenneth H.´ The Reader¶s Digest.blackwellpublishing. Encyclopedia of Business. Ph. and.asp?tbl=tiaID=113 4. Problem solving real world situations Experimental learning exercises. Barbara. The most popular methods are as follows: Interactive-style presentation..Sc. Prentice Hall: New Jersey 2001.D.
Naylor. 10 Oct 2002 http://www.. Mary. Problem Solving Techniques. Beate.jeniotraining. Thomas H.westbrookstevens.. LTD. Westbrook.com/training.mindtools. 2002. Craig A. 22 Aug 2007 http://www. Willimon. Wilf H. 16. . Training and Development 2007 22 Aug 2007 http://www. Anthony D. Linden. His Love. and Michael Moore.com/step 3.html 14. and the Mobile of Excellent Management. 2006. and Rolf Osterberg.com 12. 10. Geronimo Stone: His Music. Michael and Muschalla.9. Craig. The Linked Management Models 2007. Ratzburg. Frank. Stevens. Coral Springs: Llumina. The Role of Workplace Health Promotion in Addressing Job Stress Sept 2005 http://heapro. Andrew. Eugene: Wipf and Stock. Personality and Organizational Behavior. Cause and Effect Diagram. 13.geocities. www.oxfordjournals.com. New York: Berkley. 19952007 Edition http://www. and Noblet.geronimostone. Research Group Psychosomatic Rehabilitation Aug 2006 http://www. Walton. Stevens. Jenio. The Deming Management Method.com 11. William H. LaMontague. Mind Tools. The Search for Meaningin the Workplace.sciencedirect.htm.com/Athens/Forum/1650/htmlpersonality. 15. 1986.org.aspx 17.