Good Example Of Workplace Conflict: Mediation And Management Essay
(Word Count: 2500)
Conflict can be referred to as a situation in which two or more people differ in terms of standing, principles and ideas, which may go to an extent of physical abuse and acts such as bullying. Bullying, especially, is the main cause of workplace conflict (Baillien et al., 2014). It involves those who are bullied getting to develop negative attitudes and change the way they view, relate and treat those who have bullied them at one point or another. Bullying involves verbal abuse/insults, physical abuse, being treated with less favor than other colleagues, intrusion, intimidation, aggression, undermining behavior and excessive monitoring at work. Moreover, acts such as repeated manipulation of someone’s job and blaming others are other causes of bullying, which eventually lead to conflict among colleagues and colleagues and employees (Bennett, 2013). There are many predisposing factors that can lead to conflict at the workplace. These factors are either an individual level or organizational. Organizational predisposing factors include factors such as unequal treatment of employees by their bosses, misuse of power and harassment of employees. Individual predisposing factors to conflict include factors such as dissatisfaction with one's position in an organization, changes in the workplace environment, and psychological reasons to mention but a few. Mediation is a process that involves trying to get the two parties in a conflict, to get to an understanding that shall favor the broth and bring to an end, the disagreement that they were having (Branch, Ramsay & Barker, 2013).
There are four main types of conflicts. The first type of conflict is interpersonal conflict that refers to conflicts between two individuals. The cause of such conflict is the differences between the two people especially in terms of personality (Cashman, 2013). Secondly, intrapersonal conflict is conflict that occurs within an individual whereby someone faces psychological contradictions caused by an individual's thinking, emotions, values, and principles. Intragroup conflicts involve disagreements that occur within a group of individuals in a team. Lastly, intergroup conflicts are conflicts that occur between different groups of people in an organization. Conflict escalation is the process through which conflict grows in severity with time. Factors that can cause an escalation of conflicts include lack of ability to face disagreements and solve them, which leads to worsening of the situation (Casimir et al., 2012). Mediation can be used to solve conflicts and avoid their escalation. Ego contributes to the lack of the ability to solve problems whereby someone cannot let go of their pride and face a conflict. This worsens conflicts and leads to the inability to solve them.
Mediation is a process that involves a third party, known as the mediator coming up with a strategy that aims at getting the two or more conflicting parties to get to an agreement. The mediator is a neutral person that does not take any sides. The process involves soliciting information in the privacy of the parties that are in conflict. A meeting is then arranged, and the parties air their sides of the story, with the mediator playing a neutral role. The mediator finally helps the parties arrive at a conclusion and an agreeable solution (Escartín et al., 2013). There are some situations where mediation cannot be used such as when a conflict involves physical harassment. Harassing an individual by beating them up or abusing them can lead to very complicated conflicts that cannot be handled through the mediation. Sometimes the harassment provokes retaliation, which may lead to escalation of the conflict.
The first predisposing factor to conflicts is the levels of education attainment at the workplace. Many times, those people that have attained higher education levels feel better about themselves than others because they would have attained such levels as master’s degrees or Ph.D., and, therefore, their self-sense of pride is so high (Greenberg, 2012). For this reason, they can easily oppress those that have lower educational attainment. Colleagues with lower education levels such as certificate level or diploma can easily feel the intimidation from those that have attained higher levels of education. For this reason, they may make issues out of petty issues because they have self-esteem and feel that they aren't receiving the kind of treatment that they deserve. In the making, when a disagreement sparks up between two employees who have different levels of education, the chances of the two parties reaching an agreement is almost null because the person with higher level of education would want the one with lower education level to back off since they feel that they deserve respect (Gupta, Boyd & Kuzmits, 2011). On the other hand, the other party would not back off because they would try to protect their dignity and boost their self-esteem. Mediation can play a role in getting the two people settle their dispute. A mediator would organize for a meeting, after having asked queries from both parties in private. The mediator can get the two parties two parties to reach level ground agreement whereby they would view each other as equals in the workplace (Hauge, Skogstad & Einarsen, 2011).
The second predisposing factor is an organizational factor that causes uncertainty in terms of employment of an employee. Sometimes, employees are engaged on a contract basis because an organization may not need a permanent employee at a certain time. Therefore, the outstanding solution is to hire an employee on a contract basis, and when an opportunity arises, they can get promoted and become permanent employees of that institution. Because of the uncertainty that comes with working on contract basis, an employee may feel threatened. Therefore, they can get into disagreements easily because they know right that they would not lose much as compared to if they were permanent employees (Maravelas, 2005). Mediation can work in this case even though it would be hard to get the employee who started the conflict, into a position to agree on a lasting solution to their dispute. However, a mediator can harmonize the two parties and explain the role of treating each other with respect and dignity, and the consequences of such actions such as termination of a contract (Nasir & Bashir, 2012). This way, the two may get to reach an agreement and bring their dispute to an end.
The next predisposing factor that leads to conflict is the type of organization. Under this factor, there can be two types of organizations, private and public. Public organizations usually have laxity in terms of policies that govern how employees behave in the workplace and conflict resolution methods (McKenzie, 2015). On the contrary, private organizations are more strict and adherent to the regulations regarding employee behavior, conflicts, their consequences and conflict management (Neuman, 2012). It is for these reasons that employees in the public organizations do not care much about how they treat one another. After all, it is the government that employs them, and the government does not keep checking the behavior of its employees and sack them anyhow. Therefore, the workers in public organizations have head and can easily spark conflicts even where they are not worth it (Reade & McKenna, 2013). On the other hand, employees din the private sector try much as they can to protect their work because, unlike public employment, they can easily lose their jobs. A mediator can play a significant role in getting two people in a public organization who are having conflict, to get to an agreement. The mediator would bring into light to them, the advantages that they get working as public servants and, therefore, should not be risking losing their jobs (Reknes et al., 2014). In the end, the two parties may see sense and bring their conflict to a close.
Organizational size is another predisposing factor to conflicts. The larger on organization is, the more are the people that one gets to interact with directly or indirectly, voluntarily or involuntarily. In the course of interacting with various people, one meets people of different temperaments and personalities. In the making, they get to differ in some principles, ideas and standing on some matters (Salin & Hoel, 2011). The result of such differences is conflict. Additionally, it is not easy to reach the management large organizations. Because of this, the employees find it easy to cause conflict and walk away with it because rarely does the management come across such incidences. On the contrary, smaller organizations have fewer people who are always being monitored on their actions. Unlike large organizations, the management of smaller organizations is easily reachable. For this reason, employees can try to avoid conflict for the fear of losing their jobs (Schmidt et al., 2014). It is with this effect that there are more conflicts among employees in large organizations as compared to those in smaller organizations. Mediation can work as well in such cases whereby the mediator would unveil the essence of reaching an agreement and the negative consequences involved with the adverse.
Change of the working place can be another predisposing factor to conflict. It is not easy for one to shift their working conditions mentally. Changing of working place comes along with factors such as salary reduction, working environment changes and restructuring of one’s self. It is not all organizations that ay well (Teague & Roche, 2012). One may lose their job in a well-paying organization and land in a less paying organization. This shift affects the employee psychologically, and the result is that they would be most likely to come into conflicts with other employees in the new workplace. The working environment too, is another factor that can lead to someone entering into a conflict easily, and it involves the people around that person and the way the new organization does its things. One may find it odd and hard to adapt to these conditions and, therefore, easily get into disagreements with other colleagues (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2012). A mediator can use mediation in this case to get the employee to the new workplace to accommodate the new employee and get to understand them. They then come up with a mutual agreement on how to resolve the conflict.
Economic factors are other predisposing factor that can lead to conflict in the workplace. Firstly, the better the economic times, the better organizations perform and hence pay their workers. Adversely, worse economic times cause poor performance in organizations and the impact is felt by the workers. Therefore, when an economy is performing well, most organizations' employees are happy and contented with the salaries, wages and allowances that they get paid, even though not at all times. On the other hand, poorly performing economy leads to poor payment of workers and thereby bringing dissatisfaction and discontentedness. The effect of employees being dissatisfied is that they get easily irritable and, therefore, can get into conflict easily as well and it is opposite to those employees getting paid better, especially during good economic times (Van Heugten, 2013). The role that mediation can perform would not be long lasting unless the economy gets back up, or the parties involved in the conflict reach a self-acceptance situation. However, a mediator can try to get two conflicting parties into an agreement whereby they will get the two parties into an agreement.
Organizational dynamics such as power is also a predisposing factor of conflict in workplaces and it involves the misuse of power, harassment and orthodox procedures and processes. Those employees on higher power ranks tend to use the power in oppressing the lower ranked employees, at times. For instance, a manager may use his position to dictate a worker into doing an activity that does not even fall into the roles of that particular employee's job specifications and it shall bring up a conflict between the employee and his boss. Moreover, senior employees tend to handle the junior employees with little or no dignity whereby they harass them inconsiderately. Furthermore, because of the power that is vested in some highly ranked employees, they tend to violate protocol and result in orthodox processes and procedures that other workers may not find agreeable and it may lead to conflicts that mediation may not solve since those in high power always ranks think they are right and powerful. However, careful and convincing mediation can yield results whereby the two parties may get to an agreement on how to treat each other.
Another factor that can lead to conflict in a workplace is psychological factors. Someone may be a psychopath, being made so by factors such as harassment and close supervision of work that may be unnecessary at times. Such kind of a person may not be friendly to people, and they may always get into conflicts with other people (Van Heugten, 2013). The employees especially the highly ranked ones often impose more than necessary supervision of the low-rank employees and may lead to problems such as psychological unstableness, which may change the way someone relates to others, talks, and even carries themselves and it may lead to the development of easy conflicts and counseling is what may work for a psychopath. Mediation may not yield much, but it can sure enhance peacemaking between the two parties who would be in conflicts at a particular moment, because of the psychological impairments of one party. A mediator would insist the essence of a psychopath at work being handled with care as they are fragile. Through approach, the other party may reach an understandable level of agreement.
Gender is another factor that is predisposing to conflict. To start with, male chauvinism in the society has not yet been dwindled completely. You find that men are treated better than women in almost everything, in the society today, and it is the reason that feminism came up. At workplaces, male chauvinism is evident. Men get treated preferentially better than women and most men like looking down upon women. Women are considered to be weak creatures that cannot stand by themselves and face situations. For this reason, it is very easy for one to mistreat a woman, bully them and even oppress them, simply because they are female. The female gender is misconstrued as being the weaker gender, even though this is not the case. Therefore, an organization with a lot of women shall be characterized by conflicts that are always impacting women. Mediation can as well play a role in solving such conflicts, but the oppressors may not be in a position to accept a mutual agreement for settling such conflicts.
In conclusion, various individual and organizational factors lead to the development of conflicts in the workplace. These include gender, type of organization, and change in work environment, misuse of authority, psychological factors, educational levels, organizational size and so forth. These factors all lead to disagreement between workers in one way or another. However, despite all these, mediation as a conflict resolution method can play a significant role in ensuring that the disagreeing parties come into an agreeable stand whereby both disagreeing are satisfied with the solution.
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