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Conflict between Employees

Check Your Understanding
What causes conflict between employees in organizations? What has been your professional experience with conflict with another employee?

Exercises
Construct a work conflict situation between two employees who both want to shingle the lower roof of a house you have just built for sale.

Imagine the situation. Describe the work site and the explanations you receive from both the workers as each attempts to influence your decision(s). For example, both workers might claim that they are afraid
of heights. You must be innovative in your resolution of this problem. What will you do to settle the dispute? Use the principles and terminology you have learned to build your response. Remember, this is your opportunity to be creative. Be imaginative. Explore the possibilities. The objective is to exercise your creative thinking muscles while exploring the application of what you have learned in this module.

Professional Development
Explain how power and its outcomes are central organizational processes. What are some applications that exemplify the outcomes of power in organizational processes?

Issues to Consider
What skills are needed to resolve conflict between individuals? Do you have these skills? If not, where can you learn more?

Discussion
What types of power can a manager or leader have? How is this power acquired?

Solution Preview

Check Your Understanding

What causes conflict between employees in organizations? What has been your professional experience with conflict with another employee?

Conflict is "a situation of competition in which the parties are aware of the incompatibility of potential future positions and in which each party wishes to occupy a position which is incompatible with the wishes of the other."
Thomas has defined conflict as a process that begins when one party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affects, something that the first party cares about.

Thus a conflict is a perception in mind of an individual or group of individuals that the other person or group is hindering the first party from achieving a goal.

There are several causes of conflict. It will depend on the mindset of the parties involved in the situation conflict escalation mode or conflict resolution mode. Conflict in the organization primarily occurs when concerns are narrow and goals conflict, resources and power are seen to be limited and values are regarded as undesirable.
For example difference in objectives of two different individuals in the organization can be the source of conflict.
(Udai, Pareek)
Deutsch (1973) has suggested five types of basic issues underlying conflicts:
Control over resources, preferences and nuisances, values, beliefs and the nature of relationship between parties. Thus internal characteristics of conflict include perception of the goal, perception of the other, view of the other's actions, definition of problem, communication, and internal group dynamics. These can be explained as follows:

• Perception of the goal becomes a problem when success becomes competitive, the focus is placed on the solution rather than attaining the goal.
• Perception of the other can create conflict when the attitude becomes "us versus them." Similarities and differences are emphasized causing division within a group.
• View of other's actions can be a problem when the situation is competitive instead of cooperative. Behavior can be suspicious in a competitive environment.
• Definition of problem can result in conflict when the size of the problem is escalated, issues are misconstrued, and original issues are lost.
• Communication in a competitive environment can cause mistrust and information may be withheld or may be lacking. Communication is not open and honest.
• Internal group dynamics can be negative when the group structure is centralized and rigid rather then safe and open. Conformity is emphasized and tasks dominate over the needs of the team members.
• These characteristics can strongly influence the behavior style of group members and affect the potential outcome of the conflict. In some instances, the project manager's lack of skills to effectively manage and resolve conflict can be the problem.
My personal experiences
Yes I have seen conflicts happen in the organizations, where I have been working. There were conflicts with the CEO of our organization and the marketing vice president due to difference in perceptions. They were angry with each other, and perceive the other party as being at fault, and whose actions cause a business problem.
But sometimes conflict can be healthy also as it assists in developing individuals and improving the organization by building on the individual assets of its members. It can help in improvisation and reaching to the better solutions.

Exercises

Construct a work conflict situation between two employees who both want to shingle the lower roof of a house you have just built for sale.

Imagine the situation. Describe the work site and the explanations you receive from both the workers as each attempts to influence your decision(s). For example, both workers might claim that they are afraid of heights. You must be innovative in your resolution of this problem. What will you do to settle the dispute? Use the principles and terminology you have learned to build your response. Remember, this is your opportunity to be creative. Be imaginative. Explore the possibilities. The objective is to exercise your creative thinking muscles while exploring the ...

Solution Summary

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