7 April 2003
Management in Company A
interdependence is high – that is, when a person or group must rely on task
contributions from one or more others to achieve its goals – conflicts often
occur” (Organizational Behavior, 131).
As the preceding statement suggests, conflict within an
organization is inherent as employees within an organization are typically
interdependent in order to be effective when completing one’s tasks. When this conflict occurs individuals and managers must
“identify the causes of the conflict…examine the results of the
conflict…[and] manage those conflicts based on the information gathered”
(Belisle and Daniel).
As one reviews
the inner workings of Company A, one can deduce the conflict management
processes used and evaluate an individual employee’s style compared to the
company based on an assessment of that employee’s conflict management style.
From the information gathered in determining the company’s style, one
may also determine the effectiveness of the processes used and make
recommendations as to how the company’s style can be changed or improved.
Through this process, one will find that the hybrid style of conflict
management utilized by Company A is quite effective and may continue to be
utilized effectively, with minor modifications as circumstances prescribes.
As one begins
to explore conflict, one begins to recognize that there are two types of
conflict, substantive and emotional, and four levels of conflict,
intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, and interorganizational (Organizational
Behavior, 127-128). While
observing the inner workings of Company A, one sees that there are various
types of conflict at various levels, with various styles of conflict
management employed to quell the conflict.
the recent implementation of computer upgrades resulted in emotional conflict
on the intrapersonal level within some employees due to the restrictions
imposed on employees from new security restrictions.
Although the employees were aware that the security restrictions could
reduce some technical problems occurring with the company computers, the
freedom to install applications for oneself was lost and individuals would
have to rely on the network administrators.
This reliance on others was in direct conflict with the independent
personalities of some employees, promoting feelings of fear and resentment.
The style of conflict management used was more authoritative, although
management in this case directly confronted each individual to hear each
person’s concerns in order to “depersonalize the problem” as suggested
by Fitzwilliam in “Keep Members from ‘Voting with their Feet’.”
As a result, the conflicts were resolved quietly and the fears of the
individuals were allayed.
example, one may look to the emotional conflict on the interpersonal level of
two individuals that once worked together in the accounting department as
project accountants. Often these
positions rely on each other for support, although their jobs are not entirely
interdependent. As personal
conflict arose between these two individuals regarding work ethics and
“disagreements based on personal and social issues not related to work”,
management decided to employ a different approach (Jehn).
The management of Company A used the indirect conflict management
approach of “reduced interdependence” to help eliminate the conflict (Organizational
Behavior, 131). As a result,
when an administrative assistant position became available that appealed to
one of the employees, she was then placed in that position.
a final example, one may continue to review the workings of the accounting
department. At one point within
the company’s history, sub-contractor pay requests were routed to the group
administrative assistant for the particular job involved.
The administrative assistant would create a PO/Summary sheet to recap
the pay request and discover discrepancies that might occur with pay
applications and change orders. Invariably,
the administrative assistant would have to request documentation from the
accounting department to verify specific numbers.
After the PO/Summary was created, verified and approved, the
administrative assistant would forward the summary to accounting.
After some discussions with management, it was decided that to save
time in processing the pay applications they should go directly to accounting
where the information for the PO/Summaries was readily available.
This conflict provides one with an example of a substantive conflict on
the intergroup level, while also providing an example of interorganizational
conflict. There was conflict between the accounting department and the groups,
and there was conflict between the company as a whole and the sub-contractors.
Once the new process was implemented, the intergroup conflict subsided
and the sub-contractors had a single contact, which helped to appease much of
that conflict. In this example,
employees and management worked together in a collaborative effort to resolve
not only the intergroup conflict, but also the interorganizational conflict.
As one reviews these examples and begins to look toward the employee
that was evaluated for this report, it becomes apparent that Company A uses
various styles of conflict management based on an evaluation of each conflict.
So how does this correspond to the employee evaluated?
Scores for the individual statements from The OB Skills Workbook (part
of the e-text, Organizational Behavior) were as follows:
looking at the assessment results one finds that the employee in question
scored a ten on Competing, a nine on Collaborating, a nine on Compromising,
a seven on Avoiding, and a ten on Accommodating.
Because this employee’s scores were high in most areas, these results
may indicate that this individual also utilizes an evaluation of the conflict
to determine the best course of action.
reviewing all the data, one must also evaluate the effectiveness of Company
A’s style of management conflict. From
the above examples, it appears that the conflict management styles utilized
are effective, but the resolution provided within the second example does not
actually confront the issues causing the conflict. As such further conflict may arise, resulting from the true
cause of the problem.
one sees that the original conflict is not truly resolved, does it become
necessary to change or modify Company A’s management style?
In the overall view of Company A, it would not be necessary to change
the company style, although it might be more effective to modify it where
personality conflicts are concerned. In
the second example, the employee who stayed in the accounting department has
continued to have interpersonal conflicts with other employees.
It is becoming more and more apparent that the problems may be arising
from internal issues within the individual rather than a combined personality
to Dr. Robert Porter, as cited by John F. Fitzwilliam, the second step in
resolving conflict is to determine the cause of the conflict.
As such, the company’s management personnel may have to learn better
ways of determining the actual cause of any conflict that may occur.
While employing its hybrid style of conflict management, Company A has
effectively managed conflict and will continue to do so in the future as long
as it continues to focus on the different types of conflict that can occur in
Claire and Daniel, Karla. “Conflict
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Karen A. “The Influence of
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EBSCOhost. University of
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April 2003. Keywords:
Team Conflict Performance
Leigh, Eileen Aranda, and Stephen P. Robbins.
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