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MGT 243 (1)
Chapter 13

chapter 13

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Lehigh University
MGT 243
Douglas Mahony

what is organizational conflict? • organizational conflict: the self interested struggle that arises when the goal-directed behavior of one person or group blocks the goal-directed behavior of another person or organization • historical view of organizational conflict o always bad or dysfunctional for an organization o leads to lower organizational performance o conflict occurs because managers have not designed an organizational structure that allows people, functions, or divisions to cooperate to achieve corporate objectives • current view o although unavoidable, conflict can often increase organizational performance if it is carefully managed & negotiated o exposes weaknesses in organizational decision making & design and prompts the organization to make changes sources of organizational conflict • differentiation: employees & tasks are split up into different subunits or groups, such as functions and divisions, so they can produce goods & services more effectively o differences in functional orientations • views of what needs to be done to increase organizational performance differ because each function's tasks, jobs, priorities, and goals differ • can undermine an organization's cohesiveness & functional integration and reduce its performance o status inconsistencies • functions whose activities are the most central and essential to a company's operations come to view themselves as more important than other functions and believe they have higher status or prestige in the organization • may attempt to achieve their goals at the expense of other functions and the result is conflict among functions that lowers organizational performance • task relationships o overlapping authority • often arises in a growing organization where top managers have not had time to clarify the task relationships and responsibilities of different groups • fight for control over a resource • individual level- managers can come into conflict over the boundaries of their authority o task interdependencies • if one function doesn't perform well, the ability of the function next in line to perform at a high level is reduced • as interdependence increases, potential for conflict increases o incompatible evaluation systems • rewarding some functions but not others • complex task relationships make it harder to evaluate each function's individual contribution to performance & reward it appropriately • scarcity of resources o conflict over the allocation of capital Pondy's model of organizational conflict • latent conflict o first stage o potential for conflict is present, but under the surface o sources of conflict can cause it to suddenly or gradually emerge •perceived conflict o begins when one party becomes aware that its goals are thwarted by the actions of another party o each party searches for the origin of the conflict, defines why the conflict is emerging, analyzes the events that led to its occurrence, and constructs a scenario that accounts for the problems it is experiencing with other parties o escalates as functions start to argue about the origin of the problem •felt conflict o parties in conflict develop negative, agnostic feelings about each other o "us-versus-them" attitude o cooperation between groups decline and so does organizational effectiveness o significance of disputed issue is likely blown out of proportion •manifest conflict o hostility between the parties in conflict leads them to engage in openly aggressive behaviors as both parties try to hurt each other and thwart each other's goals o arguments, physical violence o deliberate lack of cooperation that can seriously hurt an organization over time • particularly dysfunctional when it's passive •conflict aftermath o
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