Chapter 13 study notes
ProfessorJulie Mc Carthy
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Chapter 13 Conflict and Stress
1. What is conflict?
Interpersonal conflict: The process that occurs when one person, group, or organizational
subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another.
----Conflict often involves antagonistic attitudes and behaviors.
2. Causes of organizational conflict:
Group identification and intergroup bias: identify with the successes of one’s own group and
disassociating oneself from outgroup failures boosts self-esteem and provides comforting
feelings of social solidarity.
Interdependence: When individuals or subunits are mutually dependent on each other to
accomplish their own goals, the potential for conflict exists.
----it necessitates interaction between the parties so that they can coordinate their interests.
----Interdependence implies that each party has some power over the other. It’s easy for one side to
abuse its power and create antagonism.
Differences in power, status, and culture: (conflict happen when parties differ significantly)
Power: If dependence is not mutual, but one way, the potential for conflict increases.
Status: when people of lower status are dependent on those of higher status.
Culture: when tow or more very different cultures develop in an organization, the clash in
beliefs and values can result in overt conflict.
Ambiguity: ambiguous goals, jurisdictions, or performance criteria can lead to conflict. Under
such ambiguity, the formal and informal rules that govern interaction break down. In
addition, it might be hard to accurately reward or punish.
3. Types of conflict:
Relationship conflict: interpersonal tensions among individuals that have to do with their
relationship per se, not the task at hand. (“Personality clashes”)
Task conflict: disagreements 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…)
----Not all conflict is detrimental.
4. Modes of managing conflict:
Avoiding: low assertiveness of one’s own interests and low cooperation with other party.
“Hide the head in the sand”
Accommodating: cooperate with the other party’s wishes while not asserting one’s own
Competing: maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperation. You tend to frame the
conflict in strict win-lose terms.
Compromise: combines intermediate levels of assertiveness and cooperation. It is a
compromise between pure competition and pure accommodation. You attempt to satisfies
rather than maximize your outcomes.
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Collaborating: maximized both assertiveness and cooperation. Fully satisfies the interest of
both parties. (win-win solution)
5. Managing conflict with negotiation:
Negotiation: a decision making process among interdependent parties who do not share identical
Distributive negotiation: win-lose negotiation in which a fixed amount of assets is divided
Integrative negotiation: win-win negotiation that assumes that mutual problem solving can
enlarge the assets to be divided between parties.
----Distributive and integrative negotiation can take place simultaneously.
Distributive negotiation tactics:
Threats and promises: threats, implying that you will punish the other party if he or she does
not concede to your position. Promises are pledges that concessions will lead to rewards in the
----Both threat and promises work best when they send interpretable signal to the other side about
your true position, what really matters to you.
Firmness versus concessions: intransigence, stick to your target position, offering few
concessions and waiting for the other party to give in.
----Research: it is likely to be reciprocated by the other party and increase deadlock. Negotiators
often use face-saving techniques to explain concessions.
Persuasion: verbal persuasion pr debate.
----Two-pronged attack: One prong asserts the technical merits of the party’s position. (We do the
most reliable surveys); the other prong asserts the fairness of the target position. (The expenses the
company would incur in doing this)
----Persuaders are most effective when they are perceived as expert, likable and unbiased.
Integrative negotiation tactics:
Copious information exchange: a freer flow of information is critical to finding an integrative
settlement. Because we all tend to be paranoid about information being used against us in
bargaining situation. Thus, trust must be build slowly. (noncritical information at first, listen to
the response of the other party)
Framing differences as opportunities: parties in negotiation differ in their preferences for
everything. However, such differences can be served as a basis for integrative agreements
because they contain information that can telegraph each party’s real interests.
Cutting costs: if you can cut the costs that the other party associates with an agreement, the
chance of an integrative settlement increases.
----Integrative solutions are especially attractive when they reduce costs for all parties in a dispute.
Introducing superordinate goals: neither party can attain the goal on its’ own.
superordinate goals: attractive outcomes that can be achieved only by collaboration.
Third party involvement:
Mediation: mediation occurs when a neutral third party helps to facilitate a negotiated
----aids the process or atmosphere of negotiation can be helpful
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