Chapter 13 Conflict and Stress Notes
What is Conflict?
x interpersonal conflict Æ process that occurs when person, group, or organizational subunit frustrates goal attainment of another
x in its classic form, conflict often involves antagonistic attitudes and behaviours
x as for attitudes, the conflicting parties might develop a dislike for each another, see each other as unreasonable, or develop
negative stereotypes of their opposites (so group 1 might develop a stereotype for group 2)
x antagonistic behaviour might include name calling, sabotage, or even physical aggression
Causes of Organizational Conflict
x it is possible to isolate a number of factors that contribute to organizational conflict: group identification and intergroup bias;
interdependence; differences in power, status, and culture; ambiguity; and scarce resources
Types of Conflict
x relationship conflict Æ interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do with their relationship per se, not task at hand
x task conflict Æ disagreements about the nature of the work to be done
x process conflict Æ disagreements about how work should be organized and accomplished
x with work groups and teams, these three conflicts tend to be detrimental to member satisfaction and team performance
x occasionally, some degree of task conflict might actually be beneficial for team performance, especially when the task is non-
routine and requires a variety of perspectives to be considered and when it does not degenerate into relationship conflict
x a number of events occur when one or more of the causes of conflict take effect
x specifically, when conflict begins, the following events are usually seen to transpire:
o “Winning” the conflict becomes more important than developing a good solution to the problem at hand.
o The parties begin to conceal information from each other or to pass on distorted information.
o Each side becomes more cohesive. Deviants who speak of conciliation are punished, and strict conformity is expected.
o Contact with the opposite party is discouraged except under formalized, restricted conditions.
o While the opposite party is negatively stereotyped, the image of one’s own position is boosted.
o On each side, more aggressive people who are skilled at engaging in conflict may emerge as leaders.
Modes of Managing Conflict
x avoiding Æ a conflict management style characterized by low assertiveness of one’s own interest and low cooperation with the
other party; can provide some short-term stress reduction, but does not change the situation
x accommodating Æ conflict management style in which one cooperates with other party while not asserting one’s own interests
x competing Æ a conflict management style that maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperation
x compromise Æ a conflict management style that combines intermediate levels of assertiveness and cooperation
x collaborating Æ a conflict management style that maximizes both assertiveness and cooperation
Managing Conflict with Negotiation
x negotiation Æ a decision-making process among interdependent parties who do not share identical preferences
x negotiation constitutes conflict management, in that it is an attempt to either prevent conflict or resolve existing conflict
x negotiation is an attempt t reach a satisfactory exchange among or between the parties
x distributive negotiation Æ win-lose negotiation in which a fixed amount of assets is divided between parties
x distributive negotiation occurs on the axis between competition and accommodation
x integrative negotiation Æ win-win negotiation that assumes that mutual problem solving can enlarge the assets to be divided
x integrative negotiation occurs on the axis between avoiding and collaborating, ideally tending toward the latter
Distributive Negotiation Tactics
x threat consists of implying that you will punish the other party if he or she does not concede to your position
x promises are pledges that concessions will lead to rewards in the future
x threat has some merit as a bargaining tactic if one party has power over the other that corresponds to the nature of the threat,
especially if no future negotiations are expected or if the threat can be posed in a civil and subtle way
x promises have merit when your side lacks power and anticipates future negotiations with the other side
x verbal persuasion or debate is common in negotiations as it often takes a two-pronged attack
x one prong asserts the technical merits of the party’s position, while the other asserts the fairness of the target position
x verbal persuasion is an attempt to change the attitudes of the other party toward your target position
Integrative Negotiation Tactics
x most of the information exchanged in distributive bargaining is concerned with attacking the other party’s position
x a freer flow of information is critical to finding an integrative settlement
x parties in a negotiation often differ in their preferences, for everything from the timing of a deal to the degree of risk that each
party wants to assume; however, such differences can often serve as a basis for integrative agreements because they contain
information that can telegraph each party’s real interests
x integrative solutions are especially attractive when they reduce costs for all parties in a dispute
x superordinate goals Æ attractive outcomes that can be achieved only by collaboration
x they represent best example of creativity in integrative negotiation because they change entire landscape of negotiation episode
N with work groups and teams, these three conflicts tend to be detrimental to member satisfaction and team performance. N occasionally, some degree of task conflict might actually be beneficial for team performance, especially when the task is non- routine and requires a variety of perspectives to be considered and when it does not degenerate into relationship conflict. N a number of events occur when one or more of the causes of conflict take effect specifically, when conflict begins, the following events are usually seen to 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. N most of the information exchanged in distributive bargaining is concerned with attacking the other party"s position. N monotony and boredom can also prove extremely frustrating to people who feel capable of handling more complex tasks.