Free Conflict Management Essay Sample
In the competitive business environment, organizations can only survive by concentrating its efforts on revenue generation. Sometimes the necessity to concentrate on surviving the competition may be disrupted by conflicts in the organization. In order to ensure that workers remain focused on bettering the competition as well as being productive, it is significant to fathom the causes of conflict and conflict resolution strategies. Conflict denotes opposition or disagreement of ideas or interests among groups or individuals in an institution. Conflict is inevitable provided people work together. It is natural and normal for any workplace to be in conflict. Whenever conflict happens, there is always likelihood for morale to go down, absenteeism cases goes high, as well as decreased productivity (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013). It is approximated that executive spend at least twenty-five percent of their busy schedule resolving conflict within the workplace; leading to reduced office performance (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013).
Normally, there exist two reactions to conflict: battle it out or avoidance. In either situation, people always feel dissatisfied or uncomfortable with the outcomes because no solution has been accomplished. The management or employees can learn to productively address conflict and turn a destructive occurrence into an avenue for innovation, as well as enhanced performance (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013). The paper discusses sources of conflicts within a company with a bias to Apple Inc. outsourcing to overseas countries, Nike Company using sweatshops, and General Motors Company with their conspiracy of the genuine on cars. The report also explains the strategies for appropriately managing conflict and gives recommendations organizations must consider in managing conflict with the aim of meeting organization’s or employees’ needs.
Sources of Conflict
A conflict has many possible root causes within a workplace. Process, relationship, as well as task, are the major three root sources of conflict within an organization (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013). Process conflict involves disagreement or divergent procedure of a definite work assignment. The problems are about how an assignment should be executed, who is responsible, as well as how the procedure will occur in the company. It does not merely concern with an assignment or with an individual matter. Conflict can also arise from task interdependence, which involves conflict arising when the assignment requires dependence on other individuals to execute their responsibilities (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013). For instance, an employee in charge of creating an ad for a company's product, he/she relies on the creative group to design the layout or words, videographer, or photographer to create the images. Accomplishment of such assignment is reliant on other individuals or group.
With bias to Apple Company, outsourcing to overseas countries conflict arises because the company relies on Foxconn, the manufacturing firm, which makes commodities for Apple. Employees are reported to sleep within dormitories having 30 individuals staying in a 3-bedroom flat. Employees also always have to be in work for long hours; approximately eight hours in a week. In addition, employees regularly have to be standing, or only permitted to utilize a third of the chair to stay focused (Milberg & Winkler, 2013). It is difficult for employees within such firms and stress in inevitable. Stressed workers, more often than not, are quick to pick quarrels or conflict with colleagues or supervisors (Milberg & Winkler, 2013).
In Apple Company, a conflict emerged between the Macintosh groups and Apple II in 2002 (Phillips & Gully, 2012). Institutional factors, which resulted in the conflict or disagreement, were different goals and physical separation of these groups. An annual meeting triggered the conflict where executives allotted Macintosh products most of the program and ignored innovations of Apple II that were the company’s backbone at that era. The outcome for Apple was reduced morale as well as poor performance within the Apple II wing (Phillips & Gully, 2012). The conflict was resolved by giving Apple II more attention, as well as changing circumstances so that the group was united with the other parts of the company.
The third source of conflict is the relationship between groups or individuals in the organization. Conflict always arises over personal concerns and not assignment-related. Relationship conflicts may be long-term and damage overall workers’ job commitment, trust, productivity, as well as work performance (Rahim, 2011). Conflict emerging from personal issues can be because of miscommunication. Conflict sometimes emerges out of unintentional, small communication barrier or challenge, for example, failure to return phone calls or lost e-mail. Giving feedback represents a situation where an appropriate intention may quickly escalate to conflict event (Rahim, 2011). Personal differences within coworkers are frequent and cause conflict in an organization.
Examples of relationship conflict include Nike using sweatshops. Employees of Nike responsible for making shoes in an Indonesia factory reveal they are mentally and physically abused. Employees at the Sukabumi firm, approximately sixty miles from Jakarta, have reported that supervisors always slap, throw shoes, or kick them. In addition, some supervisors call employees names like pigs and dogs (Hill & Jones, 2010). Nike workers continue to face harassment, dismissal, poverty, as well as violent intimidation regardless of pledges to improve working conditions. The company (Nike) has treated the sweatshop matter as PR inconvenience instead of a serious violation of human rights (Hill & Jones, 2010). Research reveals that within a number of Nike’s factories the workers are still being forced to work for up to seventy hours in a week (Hill & Jones, 2010). Besides, workers of Nike are reported to be humiliated before other coworkers or intimidated with retrenchment if they decline to perform the extra work.
In General Motors, the issue of conspiracy over the genuine cars it is reported that there was a pattern of neglect and incompetence leading to failure to recall small cars released by General Motors over a default ignition switch. Because of the problem, General Motors’ chief executive, Barra Mary, is reported to have fired fifteen workers believed to be responsible for not tackling the issue. The conflict between the executive and workers could have emerged from neglect or lack of constant communication between these groups (Crumm, 2010).
Conflict Management Strategies
Conflict is better managed if its essences, as well as causes, are known. This helps in avoiding conflict, or, whenever required, may guide the process of conflict resolution. Whichever the definite strategy of conflict resolution, three prior actions must always be undertaken to realize success. These include precisely describing or explaining the issue of the conflict, narrowing the dispute’s area, as well as widening the range of solution alternatives (Rahim, 2011). In some conflicting circumstances, it is recommendable to employ the method of limited relaxation, which refers to attaining certain agreement on some individual matters that may be distinguished from the broader and more significant features of the conflict whose resolution is challenging to conclude (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013). For that reason, one goes through a total of conflicting circumstance where the only alternatives for solution are defeat or victory, to a conflict with a broader array of options to be resolved, from which all sides may gain. Given the extent of satisfaction needed in conflict resolution, all the interests of involved parties can be satisfied by use of the strategies that will be discussed below.
The avoidance strategy is a style in which the involved groups or parties pretend that things are fine, even though internally, there is a feeling of a serious problem. In addition, avoidance can be a method, in which some of the issues are relinquished from the dispute because they are not significant in finding a way out, or they are regarded as a non-individual obligation. Some issues can be quitted from the dispute because they contradict the opinions of other parties (Rahim, 2011). In low levels, as well as insignificant matters, avoidance method may be at times be an appropriate resolution, but normally it ultimately guides in poor relationships and working environment.
Accommodation method of conflict resolution is more cooperative in comparison to avoidance method. In this strategy, one party accepts or offers, what the other party believes is right. The party or an individual giving in normally avoids an argument with the opponents either because they trust that their relationships will be destroyed, they feel solution cannot be attained. In other words, the party that gives in can be argued as giving up their suggestions (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013). Accommodation strategy is an appropriate means to resolve conflicts, but there are possibilities of losing ideas or proposals that can be appealing from the group or individual that takes a back step before the dominant individuals or parties (Goldsmith, Bennis, & Cloke, 2013).
Compromise method of resolving conflict is also called middle-level-solution. Compromise strategy involves giving a little by all the parties in dispute to find the most appropriate solution. The compromise strategy is somewhat bargaining style. It is efficient in overpass disputes normally without negative results (Carter, Byrnes, & American Management Association, 2006). Another strategy is competition. Parties or individuals always demonstrate a competitive approach to attain their objectives or identify the other groups following their ideologies. Competition style can create poor relationships with other parties, in the event that a party or individual is attempting to maximize own results at the expense of well-being of others (Carter, Byrnes, & American Management Association, 2006). Competition strategy can be efficient if a party has moral oppositions to the options or if the options a party is objecting are harmful or unethical (Carter, Byrnes, & American Management Association, 2006).
Collaboration approach to conflict resolution is almost comparable to win-win solutions or effective negotiation (Montana & Charnov, 2008). In this strategy, all the involved parties can oppose one another, but always attempt to settle on the most appropriate solution that satisfy all parties and serves the shared goal. For instance, if a worker is performing excellently in his/her task obligation and is requesting to attend an educational forum to improve on management skills, then request the organization to meet the expenses. The manager may suggest meeting the cost on the condition that the employee stays two years extra in the firm after completion of the study. Otherwise, the worker return paid amounts. This sounds a fair way out for all the parties.
Recommendations for Conflict Resolutions
Recommendations organizations must consider in resolving conflict with the aim of meeting organizational or employees’ needs requires the proper fathoming of the sources and nature of the dispute in the organization. There is a need to create a reporting framework for procedural and documentation of conflict resolution in the organization. The reporting system must be definite with workers on how to identify, address, as well as report dispute. Workers should respectfully resolve minor issues amongst them, but when the concern cannot be solved, they should be encouraged to bring a documented account or details of the problem.
It is also advisable that the company conducts training for its employees. Training helps in raising workers' conflict awareness, thus, reducing the negative effects of dispute within a workplace or organization. The company can also have a neutral third person for intervention. Such a person offers professional resources in prior within the dispute cycle to assist constructively solve the conflict before it is out of control. It is prudent to have supportive infrastructure. Organizational internal processes and procedures designed to support an institutional capacity to constructively minimize and manage the detrimental effects of dispute in the workplace is recommendable.
It is recommendable to change constantly the composition of a group. Conflict always arises among members who have been in a group for a long time. Situations in which dispute are blamed on different values, preferences, and styles of a small population of members, changing some of the members can assist in resolving conflict. In the event it is impossible to change group members because skills of each member are required for the group, and substitutes cannot be found, it is advisable to explore the solution of physical layout. Research has revealed that if known antagonists sit or work directly across from one another, the intensity of conflict increases. Nevertheless, when they sit or work side-by-side, dispute tends to decrease (Rahim, 2011).
It is recommendable that an organization design frameworks of solving problems among employees. Problem resolution is a regular strategy for resolving the dispute. In the problem-solving framework, the groups or individuals in dispute are requested to concentrate on the problem or issues, not on one another, and to expose the causes of the crisis. The strategy acknowledges the infrequency of one party being correct and the other party being wrong (Rahim, 2011).
It is advisable to consider majority rule in conflict resolution. In majority rule, the involved parties propose ideas and vote to select the popular idea through higher votes. It is a creative process if followed with constructive discussions. Caution must be taken to address negative outcomes that may arise when ideas of one person pass, because if that is not addressed other parties may feel something wrong is happening.
It is also recommendable to establish a common contrasting force. Conflict in an organization can be managed by turning the attention of people on a common foe, for example, competition (Rahim, 2011). If two product managers are in dispute about which of the two commodities are to consume more marketing expenses, both attempting to secure more resources to market his/her product. Rather than fighting one another, it can be wise if their attention was turned to concentrate on a competitive commodity and get them focus on developing their commodities together, better than the competition in the market.
In conclusion, the discussion on the paper reveal that causes of conflict are many, and conflict resolution is significant for an organization to be productive. It is appropriate that organizations set conflict policies to manage their problems. Besides, it is significant to note that all workers must be careful in exploiting the positive effects of conflict. Conflict can lead to violence within the workplace, but may also result in creative solutions, passion for taking part in problems solving, and integrative negotiations. For that reason, all workers must individually think as well as drive themselves at the positive side of conflict outcomes.
Carter, G. L., Byrnes, J. F., & American Management Association. (2006). How to manage conflict in the organization. New York?: American Management Association.
Crumm, T. A. (2010). What is good for General Motors?: Solving America's industrial conundrum. New York: Algora Pub.
Goldsmith, J., Bennis, W., & Cloke, K. (2013). Resolving conflicts at work: Eight strategies for everyone on the job. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hill, C. W., & Jones. (2010). Strategic management theory: An integrated approach. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning.
Milberg, W. S., & Winkler, D. (2013). Outsourcing economics: Global value chains in capitalist development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Montana, P. J., & Charnov, B. H. (2008). Management. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series.
Phillips, J., & Gully, S. M. (2012). Organizational behavior: Tools for success. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Rahim, M. (2011). Managing Conflict in Organizations. New Brunswick [NJ: Transaction.
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