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Chapter 13

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Management (MGH)
Julie Mc Donald

Chapter 13 – Conflict and Stress Interpersonal Conflict – process that occurs when one person, group, or org subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another - Conflict in antagonist attitudes & behaviours o Attitudes  conflicting parties might develop dislike for each other, see each other as unreasonable, & develop neg. stereotypes o Behaviours  name calling, sabotage, or physical aggression CAUSES OF ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICT; GROUP IDENTIFICATION & INTERGROUP BIAS - Research shows results of organizational conflict when there’s identification with a particular group or class of people - People tend to develop a more + view of their own “in-group” and less + view of the “out-group” that they are not a member of - Intergroup bias occurs because …. Self-esteem (probable critical factor) …. ↑Self-esteem when: o Identifying with successes of one’s own group & disassociated oneself from out-group failures o Attributing positive behaviour to your own work group - People identify with a number of groups/classes o Could be based on …. Personal characteristics (race/gender), job function, or job level - Differences between groups might be ↑by real differences in power, opportunities, clients serviced, etc. - People who identify with some particular groups will tend to mistrust out-group members (prejudice)  think they are more superior - Intergroup bias places a barrier for organizations that emphasize on teams which try getting employees to identify strongly with o Orgs need to pay special attention to manage relationship between these teams - Likelihood of conflict ↑as factors (in the following) enter into the relationship between groups INTERDEPENDENCE - Conflict exists when … individuals or subunits are mutually dependent on each other to accomplish their own goals o Example, sales staff are dependent on production department for timely delivery of HQ products so they can provide routine orders w/ adequate lead times to customers - Creates conflict when … o It necessitates interaction between parties so that they can coordinate their interests  wouldn’t be conflict if the parties can work separately o One side or the other abuse its power and creates antagonism …  Since INTERDEPENDENCE = each party has some power over the other - However, does NOT ALWAYS lead to conflict o Often provides a good basis for collaboration through mutual assistance - Conflict occurs depending on presence of other conditions (in the following) DIFFERENCES IN POWER, STATUS, & CULTURE Conflict can erupt when parties differ significantly in power, status or culture POWER: - If dependence not mutual (one way), potential for conflict ↑ - E.g. if party A needs collaboration of party B to accomplish its goals, but B does not need A’s assistance  antagonism may develop (B abuse their power over A which has nothing to bargain) STATUS: - Status differences provides a little drive for conflict when lower status people are dependent on those of higher status - This is typical way organizations work  most members are socialized to expect it - However, because of design of work, some occasions when employees w/ technically lower status give orders to, or controlling the tasks of, higher-status people o E.g. Restaurant settings, lower-status servers give orders and initiate queries to higher- status chefs o Some are defensive of this reversal role CULTURE: - When 2 or more very different cultures develop in an organization, the clash in belief/values can result in overt conflict e.g. hospital, one may have strong culture of efficiency and cost effective while another may have it on patient care AMBIGUITY: - Ambiguous goals, jurisdiction, or performance criteria can lead to conflict - Under such ambiguity, formal/informal rules that govern interaction break down - Might be difficult to accurately assign praise for good outcomes/blame for bad outcomes when it’s hard to see who’s responsible for what - Frequent cause of conflict between managers and employees ** o E.g. Boss might inform worker her work is inadequate, telling her to just fix something, but she might interpret differently SCARCE RESOURCES: - RECALL – Differences in power are ↑ with scarce resources - Does not occur w/o a battle  Conflict surfaces in process of power jockeying o E.g. Limited budget $$, Secretarial support, or lab space may contribute to conflict - Has way of turning latent or disguised conflict into overt conflict TYPES OF CONFLICT; Relationship Conflict – interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do with their relationship per se, not the task at hand - E.g. “Personality Clashes” Task Conflict – disagreements about the nature of the work to be done - E.g. Differences of opinions about goals/technical matters Process Conflict – disagreements about how work should be organized and accomplished - E.g. Disagreements about responsibility, authority, resource allocation, & who should do what - ABOVE are all Unfavorable to member satisfaction and team performance in context of work groups and teams - Prevents development of COHESIVENESS - Some degree of Task conflict might be beneficial for team performance, o Esp. when task is non-routine & requires a variety of perspectives to be considered, and o When it does NOT generate into Relationship conflict - NOT ALL conflicts are disastrous but some can create potential benefits CONFLICT DYNAMICS; When conflicts begin, we often see the following: - “Winning” the conflict becomes > than developing a good solution to problem at hand - Parties begin to Conceal OR Pass Distorted information to each other - Each side ↑cohesiveness – those who speak of reunion w/ other side is punished, & strict conformity is expected - Contact w/ opposite party is discouraged except under formalized, restricted conditions - Opposite party negatively stereotyped, and 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 - [ cohesiveness during the process of conflict]  Thus, the PROCESS itself becomes an additional problem ONTOP of identity, interdependence, ambiguity, or scarcity conflicts – works against achievement of a PEACEFUL SOLUTION – continues to cycle “on its own stream” MODES OF MANAGING CONFLICT; - Approaches to managing conflict are a function of both how assertive you are in trying to satisfy your own or you group’s concerns and how cooperative you are in trying to satisfy those of he other party or group - There is no one style that is inherently superior Conflict Management Styles: Avoiding – style where low assertiveness of one’s own interest and low cooperation with the other party (Lose-Lose situation) - “hiding the head in the sand” response - Can provide some ST stress reduction from conflict  But does not change situation - Effectiveness often limited - May be a good response if…. Issue is trivial, info is lacking, people need to cool down, or opponent is very powerful & hostile Accommodating – style where one cooperates w/ the other party, while not asserting one’s own interest - If people see accommodating as a sign of weakness  not a good solution for future interactions - Good solution if you are … wrong, issue is more important to other party, OR you want to build good will Competing – style that maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperation - Tend to frame conflict in strict “Win-Lose” terms - Full priority given to your own goals, facts, or procedures - Competing style holds promise when … o You have a lot of power, o You are sure of your facts, o Situation is truly Win-Lose, OR o Do not have to interact with the other party in the future Compromise – style that combines intermediate levels of assertiveness & cooperation - Pure competition & Pure accommodation - You attempt to satisfy rather than maximize your outcomes & hope that the same occurs for the other party (basing on hopes of reciprocating gesture) - E.g. law, plea bargain - Places a premium on determining rules of exchange between 2 parties  Always contains the seeds for procedural conflict in addition to creative response to complicit - Not so useful for resolving conflicts** that stem from POWER irregularity, because the weaker the party may have little to offer stronger party - Possible resolution to scarce resources conflict - A good fall-back position if all other strategies fail Collaborating – style that maximizes both assertiveness & cooperation (Win-Win situation) - Hope that an integrative agreement occurs that fully satisfies interest of both parties - “Win-Win” in which there is no assumption that someone must lose something  solution to conflict leaves both parties better off - Ideally, collaboration occurs as a problem solving exercise - Probably works best when conflict is not intense and when each party has information that is useful to each other  both parties have something the other wants - EFFECTIVE collaboration takes time & practice to develop  But frequently enhances productivity & achievement - E.g. Best between companies & their suppliers - Helps to manage conflict inside organizations (E.g. Cross-functional teams) o Research shows that this is a good solution for organizational departments to provide good customer service MANAGING CONFLICT WITH NEGOTIATION; - Stereotype of negotiation  a formal process of bargaining between labour/management OR buyer/seller Negotiation – a decision making process among interdependent parties who do not share identical preferences - Constitutes conflict management; o attempts either to prevent or resolve existing conflict o attempt to reach a satisfactory exchange among or between parties 2 tactics of negotiation: Distributive Negotiation – Win-Lose negotiation in which a fixed amount of assets is divided between parties (between competition & accommodation – parties will more/less tend toward compromise) - single-issue negotiation - Threats & Promises  (Threats) implying that you will punish the other party if they do not concede to your position; (Promises) pledges that concessions will lead to rewards in the future o Threat – good when used as a bargaining tactic if one party has power over the other that corresponds to the nature of the threat, esp. if no future negotiations are expected OR if threat can be posed in a civil/subtle way o Promises – good in a way when your side lacks power & anticipates future negotiations w/ other side o if threat in power balanced, threat is crude, counterthreat could scuttle the negotiation when both could have just been settled fro settlement range o Both work best when they send clear interpretable signals of each side’s true position o Careful timing is critical - Firmness VS. Concessions  when one party shows firm stance in their position, research shows that such tactic is likely to be reciprocated by other party, ↑chances of deadlock(impossible for progress); BUT a series of concessions early in negotiation often matched … good negotiators often use “face-saving” techniques to explain concessions - e.g. face-saving, claim cold reduce cost of survey by making web based rather than using paper survey - Persuasion  verbal persuasion/debate is common  takes on two prong attack - Prong 1: asserts technical(practical qualities) merits of the party’s position (e.g. we have qualified staff and reliable survey) - Prong 2: assert fairness of the target position o Verbal Persuasion – attempt to change attitudes of other party toward target position; Most effective when seen as expert, likeable, and unbiased o Most OBVIOUS PROBLEM in distributive negotiation is being BIAS – each party already knows the other is self-interested (should intro. unbiased parties to help out) Integrative Negotiation – Win-Win negotiation that assumes that mutual problem solving can enlarge the assets to be divided between parties (between avoiding & collaborating – ideally tending toward collaborating) - Requires a degree of creativity – Most people are not esp. creative, & the stress of typical negotiation does not provide the best climate for creativity in any event - Copious Information Exchange most info exchanged in distributive bargaining is concerned w/ attacking the other person’s position & trying to persuade them of the correctness of yours (mum’s the word) o Freer flow of info is critical to finding an integrative settlement o We get paranoid that info will be used against us – So, must build TRUST slowly o First proceed by giving away some noncritical info to the other partying to get the ball rolling (Note: Much negotiation behaviour tends to be reciprocated***) o Ask other party a lot of questions, and listen to their responses o All goes well, both parties begin to reveal true interests, NOT just current positions - Framing Differences as Opportunities  parties usually differ in preferences for everything from timing of a deal to degree of risk that each party wants to assume (traditionally framed as barriers to negotiations) o Such differences can often serve as a basis for integrative agreements b/c they contain info that can transfer each party’s real interests o E.g. Two co-workers, competing demands; One wants to finish it early, & the other wants to just make the deadline … in course of discussion, realize that they can divide the labour so one begins the project & other finishes it (Win-Win, both satisfied) – this is NOT compromise - Cutting Costs  if one can somehow cut costs that other party associates w/ an agreement, the chance of an integrative settlement ↑ o Integrative solutions are esp. attractive when they ↓costs for ALL parties in dispute - Increasing Resources  ↑available resources = getting way around the fixed-pie syndrome o 2 parties working together = twice as many resources as one party o Seeing conflict as a fixed pie would only lead to one department winning all OR to the impossible compromise of half - Introducing Superordinate Goals  attractive outcomes that can be achieved only by collaboration - Never can obtain goal by itself THIRD PARTY INVOLVEMENT; rd 3 party is sometimes needed to intervene 2 conflicting parties that reach a deadlock MEDIATION: rd - Process occurs when a neutral 3 party helps to facilitate a negotiation agreement - Formal mediation – long history in labour disputes, international relations, and marital counseling - What do they do? o Almost anything that aids the process OR atmosphere of negotiation can be helpful (depends on exact situation at hand) o Might try to help the parties clarify their underlying interests, both to themselves & each other o Occasionally, imposing a deadline OR helping the parties deal w/ their own constituents o Could introduce a problem-solving orientation to move toward more integrative bargaining o Might also intervene in the content of the negotiation, highlighting points of agreement, point out new options, or encouraging concessions - They can’t solve EVERYTHING, process seems to work best when conflict is not too intense and parties are resolved to use negotiation to resolve their conflict - Mediator might intervene in the content of the negotiation, highlighting point of agreement, encouraging concession - IF mediator not seen as NEUTRAL / if there is opposition in ranks of each negotiation party  mediators do NOT work that well ARBITRATION: rd - Occurs when 3 party is given the AUTHORITY to dictate the terms of settlement of a conflict - Disputing parties sometimes agree to arbitration, but can also be mandated formally by law OR informally by upper management/parents, etc. - This is not the way to integrative solutions - Negotiation broken down Arbitrator make final distributive allocation (not final solution) - Conventional Arbitration – arbitrator can choose any outcome (E.g. splitting difference between 2 parties) - Final Offer Arbitration – each party makes a final offer & arbitrator chooses one of them (this method devised to motivate both parties to make sensible offers that have a chance of being upheld) - With fear of all-or-nothing aspect of “final arbitration”  motivates agreement - Most common between employers and employees - Arbitrator usually sides with company IS ALL CONFLICT BAD? - Conflict can be functional, It promotes necessary organizational change: CONFLICT  CHANGE  ADAPTATION  SURVIVAL - For organizations to survive – Must adapt to their environments o Requires changes in strategy that may be stimulated through conflict; o How does conflict promote change?  Might bring into consideration new ideas that would not be offered w/o conflict  Process of “one up” opponent, parties develop unique ideas that other cannot fail to appreciate  Each party begins to monitor the other’s performance more carefully; Search for weaknesses – More difficult to hide errors/problems (signal that changes are necessary) from rest of org  Conflict may promote useful change by signaling that a redistribution of power is necessary Conflict Stimulation – a strategy of increasing conflict to motivate change - When to use it? o Signal of a “friendly rut”  when peaceful relationships take precedence over
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