Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

Conflict

A process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively afffect something that first party cares about.

Traditional view of Conflict

The belief that all conflict is harmful and must be avoided.

Interactionist view of conflict

The belief that conflict is not only a positive force in a group but also an absolute necessity for a group to perform effectively. Harmonious, peaceful, tranquil, and cooperative group is prone to becoming static, apathetic, and unresponsive to needs for change and innovation.

Functional Conflict

Conflict that supports the goals of the group and improves its performance. Constructive form of conflict.

Dysfunctional conflict.

Conflict that hinders group performance.

Task Conflict

Conflict over content and goals of the work.

Relationship Conflict

Conflict based on interpersonal relationships.

Process Conflict

Conflict over how work gets done.

Managers spend

Approximately 18 percent of their time trying to resolve conflict among staff members.

Low to moderate levels of

Task conflict stimulate discussion of ideas. Task conflicts relate positively to creativity and innovation.

Groups performing routine tasks that don't require

Creativity won't benefit from task conflict.

Workplace conflicts

Are not productive, they take time away from job tasks or interacting with customes and hurt feelings and anger often linger after conflicts appear to be over.

Long-term studies show that all conflicts reduce

Trust, respect, and cohesion in groups which reduces long-term viability.

Conflict Process

A process that has five stages: Potential opposition or incompatibility, cognition and personalization, intentions, behavior and outcomes.

The first step in the conflict process is

The appearance of conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise. They need not lead directly to conflict, but one of these coniditions is necessary if conflict is to surface.

General Categories of what begins the conflict

Communication, Structure and personal variables.

Stages of Conflict

Stage I - Potential oppositional or incompatiblity. Stage II - Cognition and personalization, Stage III Intentions, Stage IV Behavior, Stage V Outcomes

An increase in communication is functional

To a point, after which it is possible to overcommunicate with a resultant increase in the potential for conflict.

Structure includes

Variables such as size, degree of specialization in the tasks assigned to group members, jurisdictional clairty, member goals compatibiltiy leadership styles, reward systems and a the degree of dependence between groups.

Personal variables

Meeting someone for whom you felt an immediate dislike? You disagreed with most of the opinions they expressed. The sound of their voice, the smirk when he smiled, his personality annoyed you.

Stage I Potential Opposition or Incompatibility

Communication, Structure and personal variables

Stage II Cognitional and personalization

Perceived Conflict and Felt Conflict

Stage III Intentions

Conflict-handling intentions. Compting, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and accomodating.

Stage IV Behavior

Overt Conflict - Party's behavior and the other's reaction.

Stage V Outcomes

Increased group performance or decreased group performance.

Perceived Conflict

Awareness by one or more parties of the existence of conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise.

Felt Conflict

Emotional involvement in a conflict that creates anxiety tenseness, frustration, or hostility.

Intentions

Decisions to act in a given way. Intentions intervene between people's perceptions and emotions and their overt behavior.

Stage II is important because

It's where conflict issues tend to be defined. This is the point when the parties decide what the conflict is about.

Many conflicts are escalated

Because one party attributes the wrong intentions to the other. There is also typically a great deal of slippage between intentions and behavior does not always accurately reflect a persons intentions.

Two dimensons

Cooperativeness - the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy the other party's concerns. Assertivgeness - the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns.

Conflicting handling intentions

Competing - assertive and uncooperative - Collaborating - assertive and cooperative avoiding - unassertive and uncooperative, Accommodating - unassertive and cooperative and Compromising - midrange on both assertive and cooperativeness

Competing

When one person seeks to satisfy his or her own interest regardless of the impact on the other parties to the conflict.

Collaborating

A situation in which the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties. The parties intend to solve a problem by clarifying differences rather tahn by accommodating various points of view. "win win"

Avoiding

A person may recognize a conflict exists and want to withdraw from or suppress it.

Accommodating

The willingness of one party to a conflict to place the opponent's interest above his or her own. A party who seeks to appease an opponent may be willing to place the opponent's interest above his or her own, sacrificing to maintain the relationship.

Compromising

A situation in which each party to a conflict is willing to give up something. No clear winner or loser.

Conflict management

The use of resolution and stimulation techniques to achieve the desired level of conflict.

Research indicates people have preferences among the five conflict handling

Intentions and tend to rely on them quite consistently. We can predict a person's intentions rather well from a combination of intellectual and personality characteristics.

Conflict becomes most visible

At Stage IV. The behavior stage includes the statements, actions, and reactions made by the conflicting parties. usually as overt attempt to implement their own intentions.

As a result of miscalculations or unskilled enactments

Overt behaviors sometimes deviate from these original intentions

You should assume conflicts that reach

The upper ranges of the continuum are almost always dysfunctional.

Problem solving

Face-to-face meeting of the conflicting parties for the purpose of identifying the problem and resolving it through open discussion.

Superordinate goals

Creating a shared goal that cannot be attained without the cooperation of each of the conflicting parties.

Expansions of resources

When a conflict is caused by the scarcity of a resource (money, promotion, opportunities, office space)

Avoidance

Withdrawla from or suppresson of the conflict.

Smoothing

Playing down differences while emphaizing common interest betweent he conflicting parties.

Compromise

Each party to the conflict gives up something of value.

Authoritative command

Management uses its formal authority to resolve the conflict and then communicates its desires to the parties involved.

Altering the human variable

Using behavioral change techniques such as human relations training to alter attitudes and behaviors that cause conflict.

Altering the structural variables

Changing the formal organization structure and the interaction patterns of conflicting parties through job redesign, transfers, creation of coordinating positions and the like.

Conflict Stimulation Techniques

Communication (using ambiguous or threatening messages to increase conflict levels.) Bringing in outsiders (Adding employees to a group whose backgrounds, values, attitudes or managerial styles differ from thjose of the present members.) Restructure the organization (Realigning work groups, altering rules and regulations, increasing interdependence and making similar structural changes to disrupt the status quo) Appointing a devil's advocate (Designating a critic to purposely argue against the majority positions held by the group.)

Conflict is constructive

When it improves the qualtiy of decisions, stimulates creativity and innovation, encourages interest and curiosity among group members, provides the medium through which problems can be aired and tensions released and fosters an environment of self-evaluation and change.

Conflict is an antidote

For groupthink. It does not allow the group to passively rubber-stamp decisions that may be based on weak assumptions.

Groups that are extremely polarized

Do not manage their underlying disagreements effectively and tend to accept suboptimal solutions or they tend to avoid making decisions altogether rather than working out the conflict.

All forms of conflict even the functional varieties

Appear to reduce group member satisfaction and reduce trust.

If differences of opinion open up along demographic fault-lines

Harmful conflicts result and information sharing decreases.

A high proportion of people who get to the top

Are conflict avoiders. They don't like hearing negatives; they don't like saying or thinking negative things. They frequently make it up the ladder in part because they don't irritate people on the way up.

One common ingredient in organizations

That successfully manage functional conflict is that they reward dissent and punish conflict avoiders. Often, we perceive that dissenters are slowing progress toward a goal which may be true, but in so doing they are asking the important questions about whether the goal is the right one to pursue.

Negotiation is a process that occurs

When two or more parties decide how to allocate scarce resources. A process in wich two or more parties exchange goods or services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them.

Distributive Bargaining

Goal - Get as much of the pie as possible. Motivation - Win-lose. Focus on Position (I can't go byond this pont on this issue. Opposed to information sharing. Short term relationship.

Integrative Bargaining

Goal - Expand the pie so that both parties are satisfied - Motivation - win-win, Focus - Interest (Can you explain why this issue is so important to you? Information sharing - High (Sharing information will allow each party to find ways to satisfy interest of each party. Long term relationship.

Distributive bargaining

It's most identifying feature is that it operates under the zero-sum condition. Any gain I make is at your expense and vice versa.

Target Point

Defines what he would like to achieve.

Resistance point

Marks the lowest outcome that is acceptable.

When you are engaged in distributive bargaining research consistently shows one of the best things you can do

Is make the first offer, and make it an aggressive one. Making the first offer shows power. Speak first at meetings and thereby gain the advantage. People tend to fixate on initial inforamtion. Once that anchoring point is set they fail to adequately adjust it based on subsequent information.

Negotiators who reveal deadlines speed

Concessions from their negotiating couterparts making them reconsider their position.

Bargaining in Teams

Will help to reach more integrative agreements than those who bargain individually. More ideas are generated when more people are at the bargaining table.

Compromise may be your worst enemy

In negotiating a win-win agreement. It reduces the pressure to bargain integratively. Sisters and the orange example.

In distributive negotiations it appears the

Negotiatiors in a position of power or equal status who show anger negotiate better outcomes because their anger induces concessions from their opponents. This appears to hold true even when the negotiators are instructed to show anger despite not being truly angry. Those with less power showing angryu leades to worse outcomes.

Positive moods and emotions appear

To lead to more integrative agreements with higher levels of joint gain.

East Asian negotiators respond more

Negaitvely to angry negotiators because their culture emphaizes respect and deference.

Mediator

A neutral third party who facilititates a negotiated solution by using reasoning persuasion and suggestions for alternatives. Best when used with moderate levels of conflict. Settlement rate 60%.

Arbitrator

A third party to a negotiation who has the authority to dictate an agreement. Big plus over mediation is that it always results in a settlement. The conflict may resurfce at a later time if one party is very dissatisfied.

Counciliator

A trusted third party who provides an informal communication link between the negoitator and the opponent. Can engage in fact finding, interpret messages and persuade disputants to develop agreements.

Consultant

An impartial third party skilled in conflict management who attempts to facilitate creative problem solving through communication analysis. Does not try to settle the issues but rather works to improve relationships between the conflicting parties so they can reach a settlement themselves.

Comprising and avoiding are the most

Preferred methods of conflict management in China.

An optimal level of conflict

Prevents stagnation, stimulates creativity, allows tensions to be released and initiates the seeds of change, without being disruptive or preventing coordination of acitivities.l

Use competition when

Quick decisive action is vital (in emergencies) on important issues.

Use collaboration

To find an integrative solution when both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised when your objective is to learn when you want to merge insights from people and different perspectives or gain commitiment by incorporating concerns into a consensus.

Use avoidance

When an issue is trivail or symptomatic of other issues when more important issues are pressing, when you perceive no change of satisfying your concerns when potential disruption outweighs the benefits of reasolution to let people cool down and regain perspective when gathering informaiton supersedes immediate decision and when others can resolve the conflict more effectively.

Use accomodation

When you find you're wrong and to allow a better position to be heard, to learn, to show your resasonableness when issues are more important to others than to yourself and to satisfy others and maintaining cooperation, to build social credits for later issues to minimize loss when you are outmatched and losing, when harmony and stability are especially important and to allow employees to develop by learning from mistakes.

Use compromise

When goals are important but not worth the effort of potential disruption of more assertive approaches when opponenents with equal power are committed to mutually exclusive goals, to achieve temporary settloements to complex issues, to arrive at expediant solutions under time pressure and as a backup when collaboration or competition is unsuccessful.

Distributive bargaining can

Resolve disputes but it often negatively affects the satisfaction of one or more negotiators because it is focused on the short term and because it is confrontational.

Integrative bargaining

Tends to provide outcomes that satisfy all parties and that build lasting relationships. When engaged in negotiation make sure you set aggressive goals and try to find creative ways to achieve the goals of both parties especially when you value the long-term relationship with the other party.

Organizational structure

The way in which job tasks are formally divided, grouped and coordinated.

Work Specialization

The degree to which tasks in an organization are subdivided into separate jobs. Henry Ford. Each worker was assigned a specific repetitive task such as putting on the right-front wheel. Question to answer: To what degree are activities subdivided into separate jobs? Increases efficiency and productivity by increasing the creation of special inventions and machinery. Can be carried too far.

Managers need to address

Six Key elements when they design their organization's structure. 1) Work specialization 2) departmentalization, 3) chain of command, 4) span of control 5) centralization and decentralization and 6) formalization.

Human diseconomies

From specialization began to surface as boredom, fatigue, stress, low producitivty, poor quality, increased absenteeism and high turnover which more than offset the economic advantages.

Departmentalization

The basis by which jobs in an organization are grouped together. One of the most popular ways to group activities is by functions performed. Engineering, accounting, manufacturing, personnel and supply specialists.

Chain of Command

The unbroken line of authority that extends from the top of the organization to the lowest echelon and clarifies who reports to whom. It answers the question of, "Who do I go to if I have a question? and To whom am I responsible to?

Authority

The rights inherent in a managerial postition to give orders and to expect the orders to be obeyed.

Unity of Command

The idea that a subordinate should have only one superior to whom he or she is directly responsible to. Fewer of them today with the amount of technology available.

Departmentalization can be

By function, product, geography, customer or service the organization produces. Procter and Gamble places each major product such as
Tide, Pampers, Charmin and Pringles under an executive who has complete global responsibiltiy for it. It increases accountability for performance because it is under the direction of one manager.

Span of Control

The number of subordinates a manager can efficiently and effectively direct. All things being equal the wider or larger the span the more efficient the organization. If the average manager makes $50,000 a year the wider span will save 440 million a eyar in management salaries.

Centralization

The degree to which decision making is concentrated at a singel point in an organization. Top managers make all the decisions and lower-level managers merely carry out their directives. Formal authority.

Formalization

The degree to which jobs within an organization are standardized. There are explicit job descriptions, lots of organizational rules and clearly defined procedues covering work processes in organizaitons in whic there is high formalization.

Narrow Spans of Control

A mangaer can maintain close control but there are three major drawbacks. 1) They're expensive because they add levels of management. 2) They make vertical communciation in the organization more complex. The added levels of hierarchy slow down decision making and tend to isolate upper management. 3) Encourage overly tight supervision and discourage employee autonomy. The trent in recent years has been toward wider spans of control.

To ensure performance does not suffer with wider spans of control

Organizations have been investing heavily in employee training. Managers recognize they can handle a wider span when employees know their jobs inside and out and can turn to co-workers when they have a question.

Decentralization

Decisions are pushed down to the managers closest to the action. Can act more quickly to solve problems, more people provide input into decisions and employees are less likely to feel alienated from those who make decisions that affect their work lives. Trend is going to more decentralization because they can bde more flexible and responsive. They typically have more detailed knowledge about the problems.

Where formalization is low

Job behaviors are relatively unprogrammed and employees have a great deal of freedom to exercise discretion in their work.

Three of the more common organizational designs

Simple structure, bureaucracy and matirx structure.

Simple structure

An organization structure characterized by a low degree of departmentalization, wide spans of control, authority centralized in a single person and little formalization. It is a flat organization. One person at the top and then everyone else on the same line below. Small businesses where the manager and the owner are the same.

Simple Structure is Fast

Flexible and inexpensive to operate and accountability is clear. It becomes increasingly inadequate as an organization grows because its low formalization and high centralization tend to create information overload at the top. (approx. 50-100 people too many for this structure)

Standardization is the key concept that underlies

All bureaucracies. Needed for coordination and control. Hospitals benefit from standardized work processes and procedures common amony bureaucracies.

A bureaucracy is characterized by highly

Routine operating tasks achieved through specialization, very formalized rules and regulations, tasks grouped into function departments, centralized authority, narrow spans of control and decision making that folows the chain of command.

Primary strength of a bureaucracy

Its ability to perform standardized activities in a highly efficient manner. Results in economies of scale, minimum duplication of personnel and equipment and employees who have the opportunity to talk the same langugage among their peers. Can get by with less talented and less costly middle and lower level managers. Rules and regs substitute for managerial discretion.

Bureaucracy is efficient only as long as

Employees confront familiar problems with programmed decision rules.

Matrix Structure

An organization structure that creates dual lines of authority and combines functional and product departmentalization. Breaks the unity of command concept. Employees in the matrix have two bosses; their functional department managers and their product managers.

Matrix Structure

Similar to academic departments - accounting, decision and information systems, marketing are functional units. Overlaid on them are specific programs (products). A professor of accounting teaching an undergraduate course may report to the director of undergraduate programs as well as to the chairperson of the accounting department.

The strength of the matrix structure

Is its ability to faciliatate coordinattion when the organization has a number of complex and interdependent activities. Direct and frequent contacts between different specialties in the matrix con let information permeate the organization and more quickly reach the people who need it.

The matrix reduces

Bureaupathologies the dual lines of authority reduce peoples tendency to become so busy protecting their little worlds that the organization's goals become secondary.

The Matrix disadvantages

Are it creates confusion and its propensity to foster power struggles and the stress it places on individuals. Reporting to more than one boss introduces role conflict and unclear espectations introduce role ambiguity.

Bureaucracy reduces the potential for

Power grabs by defining the rules of the game. Bureaucracy's are predictable and comfortable to some people.

Virtual organization.

A small, core organization that outsources major business functions. Sometimes called network or modular organization. It is highly centralized with little or no departmentalization. Example - MGM vertically integrated corporations. Today most movies are made by a collection of individuals and small companies who come together and make films project by project. This structure form allows each project to be staffed with the talent best suited to its demands. Boeing outsourced 70% of the components for the new 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

Virtual Organizations allow for maximum

Flexibility This allows individuals with an innovative idea and little money such as Ancle Hsu and David Ji to successfully compete against the likes of Sony, Hitachi and Sharp Electronics. Team members who are geographically dispersed and communicate only intermittently find it difficult to share information and kinowledge which can limit innovation and slow response time. Ironically some birtual organizations as less adaptable and innovative than those with well established communciation and collaboration networks.

Boundaryless Organization

An organization that seeks to eliminate the chain of command, have limitless spans of control and replace departments with empowered teams. By removing vertical boundaries, management flattens the hierarchy and minimizes status and rank.

Functional departments create horizontal boundaries that

Stifle interaction among functions, products lines and units. The way to reduce them is to replace functional departments with cross-functional teams and organize activities around processes.

Management can cut through horizontal barriers

Is to use lateral transfers rotating people into and out of different functional areas. The approach turns specialistrs into generalists.

Companies that downsize often see

Positive effects on stock prices after the announcement. Among companies that only cut employees but do not restructure, profits and stock prices usually delcine. Employees who remain often feel worried about future layoffs and may be less committe to the organizations.

Companies that downsize to focus on core competencies are more effective

When they invest in high involvement work practices afterward - Investment.

When employers make efforts to discuss

Downsizing with employees early, employees are less worried about the outcomes and feel the company is taking their perspective into account. - communication.

Employees worry less if they can

Participate in the process in some way. Voluntary early retirement programs or severance packages can help. - participation.

Providing severance, extended health care benefits, and job search assistance

Demonstrates a company does really cares about its employees and honors their contributions - Assistance.

Companies that make themselves more

Lean can be more agile, efficient and productive but only if they make cuts carefully and help employees through the process.

Mechanistic Model

A structure characterized by extensive departmentalization, high formalization, a limited information network and centralization.

Organic Model -

A structure that is flat, uses cross-heirarchical and cross functional teams, has low formalization, possesses a comprehensive information network, and relies on participative decision making. Looks alot like the boundaryless organization.

An organization's overall strategy is closely linked

To the objectives. Structure should follow strategy. If management significantly changes the organization's strategy the structure must change to accomomodate.

Most current strategy frameworks focus on

Three strategy dimensions - innovation, cost minimization and imitation and the structural design that works best with each.

Innovation strategy - Organic

A strategy that emphasizes the introduction of major new products and services. Innovative firms will use competitive pay and benefits to attract top candidatres and motivate employees to take risks. A loose structure, low specialization, low formalization and decentralization.

Some degree of mechanistic structure can actually benefit

Innovation. Well-developed communciation channels, policies for enhancing long-term commitment, and clear channels of authority all make make it easier to make rapid changes smoothly.

Cost Minimization strategy -

Mechanistic - A strategy that emphasizes tight cost controls avoidance of unnecessary innovation or marketing expenses, and price cutting.

Imitation

Mechanistic and organic. Mix of loose with tight properties, tight controls over current activities and looser controls for new undertakings.

Technology

The way in which an organization transfers its inputs into outputs. Every organization has at least one technology for converting financial, human and physical resources into products or services.

Nonroutine activities are

Customized and require frequent revision and updating.

Environment

Institutions or forces outside an organization that potentially affect the organization's performance such as suppliers, customers, competitors, governemtn regulatory agencies and public pressure groups.

An organization's environment has

Three dimensions - Capacity, volativilty and complexity.

Capacity refers to the degree to which

The environment can support growth. Rich and growing enviornments generate excess resources, which can buffer the organization in timnes of relative scarcity.

Volatility describes the degree of

Instability in an environment. A dyunamic enviornment with a high degree of unpredictable change makes it difficult for management to make accurate predictions.

Complexity is the degree of

Heterogenity and concentration among enviornmental elements. Tobacco industry is homogeneous and concentrated.Environments characterssized by heterogeneity and dispersion like the broadband industry are complex and diverse with numerous competitors.

The more scarce, dynamic and complex the

Environment, the more organic and structure should be.

The more abundant, stable and simple

The environment, the more the mechanistic structure will be preferred.

No relationship betweeen span of control

and employee performance. Research fails to support that large spans lead to higher employee performance because they provide more distant supervision and more opportunity for personal initiative.

Evidence indicates that a manager's job satisfaction

Increases as the number of employees supervised increases.

Strong evidence linking

centralization and job satisfaction. Organizations that are less centralized have a greater amount of autonomy. Autonomy appears positively related to job satisfaction.

The great conclusion - To maximize employee performance and job satisfaction

Managers must take individual differences such as experience, personality and the work task, into account. Culture should factor in also.

Bureaucratic structures still dominate

In many parts of Europe and Asia. One management expert argues that U.S. management often places too much emphasis on individual leadership, which may be jarring in countries where decision making is more decentralized.

Consider cultutural differences along with

Individual differences when predicting how structure will affect employee performance and satisfaction.

When fully operational, the boundaryless organization

Also breaks down barriers created by geography.

See More

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again

Example:

Reload the page to try again!

Reload

Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set