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Ch 9 - Conflict and Negotiation.docx

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University of British Columbia
COMM 292
Leah Sheppard

Conflict and Negotiation Chapter 9 Conflict Defined  If no one is aware of a conflict, then it is generally agreed that there is no conflict  Involves opposition or incompatibility and some form of interaction  Conflict – process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect something that the first party cares about o Incompatibility of goals, differences over interpretations of facts, disagreements based on behavioral expectations  Has positive and negative sides (function and dysfunctional conflict) Functional vs. Dysfunctional Conflict  Functional conflict – conflict that supports the goals of the group and improves its performance  Dysfunctional conflict – conflict that hinders group performance  Criterion: does it affect group performance or not? Positively? Negatively?  Starts as subtle, indirect and highly controlled forms of tension  strikes, lockouts, riots, wars o Range o Conflicts on the upper ranges are almost always dysfunctional Research Findings: Cognitive and Affective Conflict  The source of the conflict is a significant factor determining functionality  Cognitive conflict – conflict that is task-oriented and related to differences in perspectives and judgments o Results in identifying potential solutions o Functional conflict o Lead to better decisions, more acceptance of decisions and ownership of decisions  Affective conflict – conflict that is emotional and aimed at a person rather than an issue o Dysfunctional conflict o Personal incompatibilities and disputes o Poor decisions and lower levels of acceptance of the decisions Sources of Conflict  Communication o Semantic difficulties o Misunderstandings o Noise in the communication channels o The potential for conflict increases when either too little or too much communication takes place o Overcommunicate o Channel chosen can have an influence on stimulating opposition  Structure o Consequence of the requirements of the job/workplace more than their personalities o Size, degree of specialization, and composition of the group  Larger group = more conflict  More specialization = more conflict  Greatest conflict where group members are young and where turnover is high o Jurisdictional clarity  Defining where responsibilities for actions lie  Greater ambiguity = conflict more likely  Increase intergroup fighting for control of resources and territory o Reward Systems  One member’s gain at another’s expense  Performance evaluation: when they feel that they are unfairly evaluated  When managers and employees have differing ideas about the employees’ job responsibilities o Leadership Style  When managers tightly control and oversee the work of employees  Little discretion for employees o Goal Compatibility  Major source of conflict  Ex. sales team promises a product that the development team has not yet finalized o Degree of dependence  If interdependence allows one group to gain at another’s expense, opposing forces are stimulated.  Personal variables o Individual value system o Personality characteristics o Mannerisms o Highly authoritarian vs. Low self esteem  potential conflict Conflict Resolution  Conflict  affects effectiveness of individuals, teams and organization  Win-Lose situation – one pie  Win-Win situation Conflict Management Strategies Dual Concern Theory – considers how one’s degree of cooperativeness (try to satisfy other’s concerns) and assertiveness (try to satisfy one’s own concerns) determine how a conflict is handled. Five conflict handling strategies based by the theory: Win-Lose Situations  Forcing – imposing one’s will  Yielding – accepting the will of the other party Win-Win Situations  Problem solving – reach an agreement that satisfies both parties as much as possible Lose-Lose Situation (Possibly)  Avoiding – ignoring and minimizing the importance of the issues  Compromising – balancing concern for oneself with concern for the other party What Can Individuals Do to Manage Conflict?  Problem solving – face to face meeting to identify problem and resolve through open discussion  Developing overachieving goals – shared goal  need to work together  Smoothing – playing down differences and emphasizing common interests  Compromising – each will give up something of value to reach accord  Avoidance – suppressing conflict Choice of technique depends on how serious the issue is to you. Additional techniques for work-related conflicts:  Expansion of resources  Authoritative command – management using formal authority to resolve conflict  communicate desires to the parties involved  Altering the human variable – training can alter attitudes and behaviors  Altering the structural variables – job redesign, transfers, creation of coordinating positions Resolving Personality Conflicts  Misunderstandings based on race, age, cultural differences  Intolerance, prejudice, discrimination, bigotry  Perceived inequities  Misunderstandings, rumors, falsehoods  Blaming for mistakes or mishaps  People find it difficult to work together  lowered productivity  Seek sympathy form others  take sides  Ideal solution: work it out themselves without involving others o Communicate directly o Avoid dragging o Seek help from supervisors or HR o For mangers: investigate and document the conflict, take corrective action, attempt informal dispute resolution, refer difficult conflicts to HR specialists Resolving Intercultural Conflicts  Cultural differences  Individuals ignore the different perspectives  misunderstanding  High context vs. Low context cultures (in forms of interaction) o May misinterpret the actions of those from another Third Party Conflict Resolution Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – third party helps both sides find a solution outside a court room  Facilitation – facilitator acquainted with both parties o Informal solution o Aimed at getting both parties to talk to each other  Conciliation – conciliator – trusted third party who provides informal communication link between the negotiator and the opponent o Also engage in fact-finding, interpreting messages, persuading disputants to develop agreements o Good faith effort  Ombudsperson o Organizations create an official role for a person to hear disputes between parties o Impartial, widely respected, trusted o Investigates issue confidentially & tries to arrange a solution o Advantage: parties can avoid
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