Your textbook authors assert: “Many of us have a preferred conflict management style, but the best style varies with the situation” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2007). To prepare for this discussion and gain insight about your preferred style(s), complete the “What is your preferred Conflict Handling Style?” (handout located in the START HERE> Course materials resources folder).
Go to the Calculation Your Conflict Score handout in the START HERE > Course materials resources folder to calculate and interpret your scores.
In your Original Post
1. Consider an organizational situation in which you were involved in a conflict. Briefly describe the situation.
2. Apply the following elements of “The Conflict Process”:
– Sources of conflict – Which of the six sources of conflict apply to this situation? Explain.
– Conflict style – Analyze the styles manifested by you and another key party in the conflict.
For example: Which of the five styles did you manifest when dealing with this conflict? Was this consistent with your preferred style identified in the “Dutch Test?” If so, was this the best style for the situation? Which of the five styles did the other parties manifest during the conflict? Would a change in styles by you and/or the other party(ies) have resulted in more positive conflict outcomes?
3. Make one or two recommendations for structural approaches to conflict management that could increase the probability of positive outcomes for this situation.
Scoring Key Conflict
The employers who are mired in conflicts may sometimes experience high rates of absenteeism, employee turnover, and court cases associated with harassment or bullying. In case of any misunderstanding between people, the first thing to do is prevent the conflict before it becomes a big problem. In a study carried out by the assessment psychometrics, it was realized that most of the work-based problems are normally related with competing egos, poor leadership, values and personalities, dishonesty, and conflicts (Olson‐Buchanan et al., 1998). Recently, I was involved in a conflict in the work place. The conflict was between me and my departmental manager. I was not comfortable with how the manager was coordinating us since she discriminated some of us. We were supposed to work as a team so as to achieve the departmental goals but we could not since some of our colleagues could report late or even not report at all. The manager was less concerned with this and she could not realize the work load. When we reported the situation, she did not seem to care at all. She had a lot of discrimination because it was not everyone who could report late or not report and escape without a warning, but there were some elements that were free to anything (Olson‐Buchanan et al., 1998). Even if I asked for sincere offs, I could not be allowed just because of my race. The discrimination was the source of conflict between me and my departmental manager. I decided to use the problem solving style to deal with this problem. I talked to the senior manager about the problem since I wanted to find a mutual beneficial solution to it. I wanted us to identify a common ground for both of us. We started by identifying the problem, then evaluating it, we then proceeded to defining it by gathering information, and breaking the problem into different parts, which helped us in dealing with it in a more confined way. We next examined on the possible options and decided on a plan towards solving the problem, and later considered the consequences of the method we took (Mayer, 1992). I found that method suitable as the procedures involved makes the handling of the problem much easier as the interests of both sides would be considered. The technique is also favorable because at last we could agree on the contingencies and monitoring. The method took some time and required the three parties to be attentive. The time we took to solve the problem is equivalent to the time which would have been wasted if the problem went beyond control. Problem solving is compared to a curve in the road. When taken right then one finds himself in a good shape for following the straightway but if it is taken too fast, then one may not find himself in a good shape (Mayer, 1992). My partner of the other side indulged in to the technique of forcing. She tried to take the advantage of her seniority but the senior manager had good skills in problem solving. He did not favor any party and that was good because I had identified that she (the departmental manager) was the one who was in the wrong (Von Hippel, 1994). Though she was my senior, she was not supposed to take the advantage of her position to mistreat some of us just because of racial differences. If the senior manager was not to take any action, then I would have proceeded and sued the departmental manager. The senior manager could have also been questioned. There are human rights which are against the discrimination of anyone despite the gender, race, culture, religion, or physical disability. I feel that I used the best method to handle the problem but the other party did not. If she used an alternative method like accommodating the problem, then solving would have been much easier since she was the one on the wrong and could not justify her deeds. Forcing and trying to use her position to win did not yield any fruits but instead, she was left embarrassed and frustrated. She would have instead yielded her needs to me and tried to be diplomatic. She could have also allowed my needs to overwhelm hers. That could have made the process much easier (Von Hippel, 1994). For this situation to have a positive outcome, my partner should have agreed her mistakes and accepted corrections. Being stubborn and using force to get away with her actions only made things worse for her. She should have apologized for her actions. She may even have lost the trust which the boss had towards her. She should have been humble and apologetic to the boss and to me. For any conflict to be successful, then the parties should come to a common agreement and the one found on the wrong should accept the mistakes and promise not to repeat them again. That could have yielded a positive outcome and both parties would have gone away peaceful with each other (Von Hippel, 1994).
Mayer, R. E. (1992). Thinking, problem solving, cognition . WH Freeman/Times Books/Henry Holt & Co.
Olson‐Buchanan, J. B., Drasgow, F., Moberg, P. J., Mead, A. D., Keenan, P. A., & Donovan, M. A. (1998). Interactive video assessment of conflict resolution skills. Personnel Psychology, 51(1), 1-24.
Von Hippel, E. (1994). “Sticky information” and the locus of problem solving: implications for innovation. Management science, 40(4), 429-439.