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OB Chapter 13.doc

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Carolyn Capretta

Chapter 13 – Conflict and Stress What is Conflict? • Interpersonal conflict – the process that occurs when one person, group, or organizational subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another Causes of Organizational Conflict Group Identification and Intergroup Bias • Identification with a particular group or class of people can set the stage for organizational conflict • Identifying with the successes of one’s own group and disassociating oneself from out-group failures boosts self-esteem and provides comforting feelings of social solidarity. • Interdependence • When individuals or subunits are mutually dependent on each other to accomplish their own goals, the potential for conflict exists. Differences in Power, Status, and Culture • Power – if the dependence is not mutual but one-way, the potential for conflict increases • Status – status differences provide little impetus for conflict when people of lower status are dependent on those of higher status • Culture – when two or more different cultures develop in an organization, the clash in beliefs and values can result in overt conflict. Ambiguity • Ambiguous goals, jurisdictions, or performance criteria can lead to conflict Scare Resources • Limited budget money, secretarial support, or lab space can contribute to conflict Types of Conflict It is useful to distinguish among relationship, task and process conflict Relationship conflict – interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do with their relationship per se, not the task at hand Task conflict – disagreements about the nature of the work to be done Process conflict - disagreements about how work should be organized and accomplished Conflict Dynamics When conflict begins, we often see the following events transpire: “Winning” the conflict becomes more important than developing a good solution to the problem at hand The parties begin to conceal information from each other or to pass on distorted information Each side becomes more cohesive. Deviants who speak of conciliation are punished, and strict conformity is expected. Contact with the opposite part is discouraged expect under formalized, restricted conditions While the opposite party is negatively stereotyped, the image of one’s own position is boosted On each side, more aggressive people who are skilled at engaging in conflict may emerge as leaders Modes of Managing Conflict Avoiding – a conflict management style characterized by low assertiveness of one’s own interests and low cooperation with the other party Accommodating – an conflict management style in which one cooperates with the other party while not asserting one’s own interests Competing – a conflict management style that maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperation Compromise – a conflict management style that combines intermediate levels of assertiveness and cooperation. Collaborating – a conflict management style that maximizes both assertiveness and cooperation Managing Conflict with Negotiation • Negotiation – a decision-making process among interdependent parties who do not share identical preference • Distributive negotiation – win-lose negotiation in which a fixed amount of assets is divided between parties • Integrative negotiation – win-win negotiation that assumes that mutual problem solving can enlarge the assets to be divided between parties Distributive Negotiation Tactics • Threats and promises • Firmness versus concessions • Persuasion Integrative Negotiation Tactics • Copious information exchange • Framing differences as opportunities • Cutting costs • Increasing superordinate goals – attractive outcomes that can be achieved only by collaboration Third Party Involvement • Mediation • Arbitration Is All Conflict Bad? • There is a growing awareness of some potential benefits or organizational conflict • Conflict Change  Adaptation Survival • Conflict stimulation – a strategy of increasing conflict to motivate change A Model of Stress in Organizations Stressors • Environmental events or conditions that have the potential to induce stress, these include such things as extreme heat, extreme heat, extreme cold, isolation, or hostile people. Stress • A psychological reaction to the demands inherent in a stressor that has the potential to make a person feel tense or anxious. Stress is not intrinsically bad. All people require a certain level of stimulation from their environment, and moderate levels of stress and serve this function. Stress reactions • The behavioural, psychological, and physiological consequences of stress. Some of these reactions are essentially passive responses over which the individual has little direct control, such as elevated blood pressure or reduce immune function. Other reactions are active attempts to cope with previous aspect of the stress episode. Personality and Stress • Personality can have an important influ
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