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Organizational Behaviour Week 10 - Conflict and Stress.docx

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McMaster University
Teal Mc Ateer

Week 10 – Conflict and Stress What is Conflict?  A process that occurs when one person, group or organizational subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another o Intrapersonal – conflict within one person (stress) o Interpersonal – conflict between two people o Intragroup – conflict within group o Intergroup – conflict between two units Views of Conflict  Traditional o Negative, dysfunctional, detrimental o Distracts managers by reducing concentration on the job o Managers motivated to eliminate or suppress conflict  Contemporary o Benefits of conflict are recognized (catalyst for change, innovating and organizations may reset priorities and reevaluate goals) o Realization that suppressing conflict can lead to further negative consequences o Conflict is seen as inevitable rather than avoidable Causes of Organizational Conflict  Group identification and intergroup bias o Conflict because my goals are not your goals  Interdependence o Sequential or reciprocal  Difference in power, status and culture o Power – one way vs two way o Status – killer phrases and squishing creativity o Culture – clashes and acquisitions  Ambiguity o Lack of clarity  Scarce resources o Limited dollars, lab, admin, time etc. Types of Conflict  Relationship conflict (the who) o Interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do with their relationship per se, not the task at band o E.g. personality clashes  Task conflict (the what) o Disagreements about the nature of work to be done  Process conflict (the how) o Disagreements about how work should be organized or accomplished Conflict Dynamics  Changes within each group o Loyalty to group more important o Increased concern for task accomplishment o Autocratic leadership o Group structure more rigid o Group cohesiveness increases  Changes in relations between groups o Information concealed o Interactions decrease o Win-lose orientation rather than problem solving o Increased hostility toward rival group Managing Conflict  There are give styles for dealing with conflict  None of the five styles is inherently superior  Each style might have its place given the situation in which the conflict episode occurs  Approaches o Avoiding – low assertiveness for your interest and low cooperation with others o Accommodating – one cooperates with others buy not asserting own interests o Competing – maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperativeness o Compromise – satisficing, good enough o Collaborating – full two way problem solving  How to manage conflict o Too much and too little is bad, some is okay  Stress curve o Emphasize common goals  Get on the same page o Reduce differentiation  Find alignment in goals, perspectives, backgrounds o Improve communication and understanding  EI and CI o Clarify rules and procedures  Reduce ambiguity  Negotiation o Parties have trouble reaching a zone of agreement o 3 types – union, shop floor, employer and employee negotiation o Negotiation  Decision making process among interdependent parties who do not share identical preferences  Attempt to prevent or resolve conflict and come up with a satisfactory resolution for both parties o Distributive negotiation tactics (compromise)  Win-lose negotiation (fixed amount)  Single issue negotiation  Tactics include threats and promises o Integrative negotiation tactics (collaborative)  Win-win negotiation  Mutual problem solving  Tactics include cutting costs, superordinate goals) o Third party involvement  Intervene between negotiating parties  Mediation (help facilitate negotiated agreement)  Arbitration (authority to dictate terms of settlement)  Conventional (
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