Chapter 13 Organizational Behaviour

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Published on 7 Apr 2013
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Course
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Chapter 13 Individuals, Groups & Organizations
Conflict & Stress
What is Conflict?
Interpersonal Conflict: The process that occurs when 1 person, group or organizational subunit frustrates the
goal attainment of another
Conflict often involves antagonistic attitudes and behaviours
Name calling, sabotage, physical aggression etc.
Conflicting parties may dislike eachother, see eachother as unreasonable and develop negative stereotypes
of their opposites
Causes of Organizational Conflict
Group Identification & Intergroup Bias
Even without interaction or cohesion, people have a tendency to develop a more positive view of their own
“in group” & a less positive view of the “out group” or which they are not a member
Happens really easily
Self-esteem is a critical factor b/c identifying with the successes of one’s own group and disassociating
oneself from out-group failures boosts self esteem and provides comfort & feelings of social solidarity
People in organizations might identify to groups based on personal characteristics (race, gender etc.), job
function, or job level
The encouragement of work teams only strengthens the need to bon with own group
Differences in Power, Status, & Culture
Power
If dependence is one-way & not mutual, the potential for conflict increases
If only 1 person has power over other antagonism may develop
Status
Organizations often work in different status levels so people are socialized to expect it
However b/c of the design of the work, there may be occasions when employees who technically have
lower statuses give orders or control the tasks of higher status people
The higher-status person might come to resent the reversal of usual influence lines
Culture
When 2+ very different cultures develop in an org., the clash in beliefs and values can result in obvious
conflict
Ambiguity
Ambiguous goals, jurisdictions or performance criteria can lead to conflict
Formal & informal rules of interaction are broken down
Hard to assign praise for good outcomes or blame for bad outcomes when its hard to see who is responsible
for what
Ambiguous performance criteria are often a cause of conflict for manager ad employees
Scarce Resources
Differences in power are magnified when resources are scarce
Limited budget, secretarial support, space etc. can contribute to conflict
Types of Conflict
Relationship Conflict: Interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do w/ their relationship per se, not
the task at hand
“Personality Clashes”
Task Conflict: Disagreement about the nature of the work to be done
Differences of opinion about goals or technical matters
Process Conflict: Disagreements about how work should be organized and accomplished
Disagreements about responsibility, authority, resource allocation etc.
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Conflict Dynamics
When a cause of conflict occurs, a number of events may result:
“Winning” the conflict becomes more important than developing a good solution to the problem
Parties begin to conceal info from eachother or pass on false info
Each side becomes more cohesive (deviants who speak of conciliation are punished and strict conformity is
expected)
Contact w/ the opposite party is discouraged under most conditions
Image of one’s own position is boosted while opposite party is negatively stereotyped
More aggressive people w=on each side who are skilled at engaging in conflict may emerge as leaders
Modes of Managing Conflict
There are several basic reactions that can be thought of as styles or strategies or dealing w/ conflict
These are a function of how assertive you are for own group’s needs and cooperative you are trying to
satisfy needs of other party
Avoiding
Low assertiveness of one’s own interests and low cooperation w/ the other party
Can provide some short-term stress reduction from conflict, it doesn't change the situation
If issue is trivial, info is lacking or people need to chill, avoidance might be sensible
Accommodating
A style in which 1 cooperates w/ another party while not asserting one’s own interests
Some people see accommodating as sign of weakness
Might help with building good will
Competing
Tends to maximize assertiveness for your own position and minimize cooperative responses
Win-lose terms
This style is promising when you have a lot of power, sure of your facts, the situation is truly win-lose, or
you wont have to interact with that other party later on
Compromise
Combines assertiveness & cooperation at intermediate level
You attempt to sacrifice rather than maximize your outcomes and the same occurs for the other party
Compromise is good suited for conflict stemming from scarce resources
Collaborating
Combines assertiveness & cooperation at maximum level in the hope that an integrated agreement occurs
that fully satisfied both parties interests
Win-win resolution
Works best when conflict isn’t intense and when each party has info useful to eachother
Managing Conflict w/ Negotiation
Negotiation: A decision-making process among independent parties who don't share identical preferences
Can be formal or informal process
Process to either prevent conflict or resolve existing conflict
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 & Promises
Threat consists of implying that you will punish the other party if he/she doesn't concede to your position
Has some merit if one party ahs power over other
Promises are pledges that concessions will lead to rewards in the future
Has merit when your side lacks power and anticipates future negotiations with other side
Firmness Vs. Concessions
Research shows that sticking to your target position, offering few concession and waiting for the other
party to give in is likely to be reciprocated by other party = deadlock
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Document Summary

Interpersonal conflict: the process that occurs when 1 person, group or organizational subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another. Conflict often involves antagonistic attitudes and behaviours. Conflicting parties may dislike eachother, see eachother as unreasonable and develop negative stereotypes of their opposites. Even without interaction or cohesion, people have a tendency to develop a more positive view of their own. In group & a less positive view of the out group or which they are not a member. Self-esteem is a critical factor b/c identifying with the successes of one"s own group and disassociating oneself from out-group failures boosts self esteem and provides comfort & feelings of social solidarity. People in organizations might identify to groups based on personal characteristics (race, gender etc. The encouragement of work teams only strengthens the need to bon with own group. If dependence is one-way & not mutual, the potential for conflict increases. If only 1 person has power over other antagonism may develop.

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