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University of Guelph
Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour
HROB 3100
Jamie Gruman

Chapter 7: Managing Conflict Diagnosing the Type of Interpersonal Conflict Conflict Focus • People-focused conflict refers to the “in your face” kind of confrontations in which the affect level is high and the intense emotional heat is likely fueled by moral indignation • Issue-focused conflicts are more like rational negotations, which can be thought of as “an interpersonal decision-making process by which two or more people agree how to allocate scarce resources ◦ An issue-based conflicts, manager-negotiators are typically acting as agents, representing the interests of their department, function or project ◦ Negotiators ahve conflicting priorities for how the scarce resources should be utilized, in most day-to-day negotiations within an organization the negotiators recgonize the nedd to find an amicable settlement that appears fair to all parties • Importance of conflict “focus” was demonstrated by a longitudinal study of work teams ◦ The teams that were most successful were low on relationship conflict (people-focus) but high on process conflict (issue focus) Conflict Source • Personal differences are a common source of conflic tbecause individuals bring different background to their roles in organizations ◦ Their values and needs have been shaped by different sociaization processes, depending on their cultural and family traditions, level of education, breadth of experience • Conflicts stemming from incompatible personal values and needs are some of the most difficult to resolve • It has been observed that: ◦ 1.Adiverse workforce can be strategic organizational asset ◦ 2. Very different people tend to engage in very intense conflicts – which can become an organizational liability • Informational deficiencies ◦ Conflicts based on misinformation or misunderstanding tend to be factual;hence clarifying previous messages or obtaining additional information generally resolves the dispute • Role incompatibility conflicts may overlap with those arising from personal differences or information deficiencies • Environmentally induced stress ◦ conflicts steeming from personal differences and role incompatibilities are greatly exacerbated by a stressful environment Selecting theAppropriate Conflict ManagementApproach • Forcing response (assertive, uncooperative) is an attempt to satisfy one's own needs at the expense of the needs of the othe rindividual ◦ This can be done by using formal authority, physical threats, manupulation ploys, or by ignoring the claims of the other party ◦ Maniupulative leaders ften appear to be democratic by proposing that conflucing proposals be referred to a committee for further investigation • Accomodating approach (cooperative, unassertive) satisfies the other party's concerns while neglecting one's own • Avoiding Reponse (uncooperative, unassertive) neglecs the interests of both parties by sidestepping the conflict or postponing a solution ◦ Often the response of manages who are emotionally ill-prepared to cope with the stress associated with confrontations, or it might reflect recognition that a relationship is not strong enough to absorb the fallout of an intense conflict ◦ Repeated use of this aproach causes considerable frustration for others because issues never seem to get resolved, really tough problems are avoided • Compromising response is intermediate between assertiveness and cooperativeness ◦ Acompromise is an attempt to obtain partial satisfaction for both parties ◦ Parties are asked to make sacrifices to obtain a common gain ◦ Acommon mistake made is placing undue emphasis on “being fair to both sides” by compromising on competing corpoate policies and practices as well as on which redundant staff members get laid off • Collaborating approach (cooperative, assertive) is an attempt to address fully the concerns of both parties ◦ It is often referred to as the “problem-solving” mode ◦ The intent is to find solutions to the cause of the conflict that are satisfactory to both parties rather than to find fault or assign balme ◦ To avoiding mode resutls in a lose-lose outcome and compromising, accomodating, and forcing modes all represent win-lose outcomes Figure 7.2 –AComparison of Five Conflict ManagementApproaches Approach Objective Point of View Supporting Likely Outcome Rationale 1. Forcing Get your way “I know what's It is better to risk You feel vindicated right, don;t causing a few hard but other party question my feelings than to feels defeated and judgement or abandon an issue possibly authority” you are committed humiliated too 2.Avoiding Avoid having to “I'm neutral on that Disagreements are Interpersonal deal with conflict issue” “Let me inherently bad problems don't get think about it” because they create resolved, causing “That's someone tension long-term else's problem” frustration manifested in variety of ways 3. Compromising Reach an “Let's search for a Prolonged conflicts Participants agreement quickly solution we can distract people become both live with so from their work conditioned to seek we can get on with and engender bitter expedient, rather our work” feelings than effective, solutions 4.Accomodating Don't upset the “How can I help Maintaining The other person is other person you feel good harmonious likely to take about this relationships advantage of you encounter?” “My should be our top position isn't so priority important that it is worth risking bad feelings between us” 5. Collaborating Solve the problem “This is my The positions of The problem is
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