2 OBJECTIVES Explain sources of conflict within an organization. Discuss types of conflict that can arise when groups vie for resources.Describe different models that address organizational conflict.Develop recommendations for methods to address intergroup conflicts.
3 Organizational Behavior Principles Challenges and Opportunities for OB Today’s challenges bring opportunities for managers to use OB concepts: - Responding to Economic Pressures - Responding to Globalization (Increased Foreign Assignments, Working with People from Different Cultures, Overseeing Movement of Jobs to Countries with Low-cost Labor) - Managing Workforce Diversity Improving Customer Service Improving People Skills Stimulating Innovation and Change Coping with “Temporariness” Working in Networked Organizations Helping Employees Balance Work–Life Conflicts - Creating a Positive Work Environment Improving Ethical Behavior
4 Organizational Behavior Principles Sources of conflict:There are many causes or reasons for conflict in any work setting. Some of the primary causes are:Poor Communication: different communication styles can lead to misunderstandings between employees or between employee and manager. Lack of communication drives conflict ‘underground’.Different Values: any workplace is made up of individuals who see the world differently. Conflict occurs when there is a lack of acceptance and understanding of these differences.Differing Interests: conflict occurs when individual workers ‘fight’ for their personal goals, ignoring organizational goals and organizational well-being.Scarce Resources: too often, employees feel they have to compete for available resources in order to do their job. In a resource scarce environment, this causes conflicts – despite awareness of how scarce resources may be.Personality Clashes: all work environments are made up of differing personalities. Unless colleagues understand and accept each other’s approach to work and problem-solving, conflict will occur.Poor Performance: when one or more individuals within a work unit are not performing - not working up to potential – and this is not addressed, conflict is inevitable.Handling and resolving conflicts that arise in the workplace is one of the biggest challenges managers and employees face. Typically there are two responses to conflict: run away (avoidance) or ‘battle it out’. In either case, we often feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the results because no resolution has been achieved. By learning to constructively resolve conflict, we can turn a potentially destructive situation into an opportunity for creativity and enhanced performance.
5 Organizational Behavior Principles Types of Conflict in OrganizationsDefinition of Responsibility UnclearWhen it is unclear who is responsible for what area of a project or task, conflict can occur. Territorial issues arise when decisions are made that appear to cross boundaries of responsibility. To prevent this from happening it is imperative that the roles and responsibilities of all the players are spelled out clearly and agreed upon by everyone involved before the project is started.Conflict of InterestUnderstanding how personal interests and goals fit within the structure of the organization will alleviate conflict of interest problems. When an individual's personal goals are at odds with the goals of the organization, the individual may be tempted to fight for his personal goals, creating a conflict situation that will hamper success of the project.Conflict is inevitable whenever two or more people interact, whether in the workplace or at home. Conflict can occur between two or more individuals, two or more groups, or an individual and a group. When dealing with conflict in an organization, it is important to remember to address the issue, not the people. Types of conflict that can occur in any organization include unclear definitions of role responsibility, conflict of interest, lack of resources and interpersonal relationships within the workplace.
6 Organizational Behavior Principles Types of Conflict in Organizations continuedNot Enough ResourcesCompetition for resources, including money, time and materials, will cause the teams to undercut each other, leading to conflict between departments or other work groups. Valuable resources need to be protected, as well as distributed fairly among all the groups. Starting out a project with a clear picture of the resources available will help waylay some of this conflict.Interpersonal RelationshipsThe personalities of the people involved in the organizational structure play an important part in conflict resolution. Often the conflict is a result of interpersonal relationships where the parties to the conflict are unable to resolve personal issues with each other. It is not always easy to set aside personal prejudices when entering the workplace, but it is important to recognize what those prejudices are and deal with them before conflict arises.Not all conflict is destructive, however. Some conflicts are best discussed openly: managed constructively, such discussions can lead to deeper understanding and better decisions. The problem is that conflict tends to be seen in terms of win–lose – that is, one argument will win and the other will lose. But it is possible to reach an outcome in which elements of both arguments are accepted – a win–win situation. Negotiations over pay are a simple example: employers may agree to pay employees more in exchange for changes in working practices. For win–win outcomes, however, there need to be mechanisms for open discussion and fair decision-making. The likelihood of resolving conflict depends on the behaviour of those involved. To understand this better, it can be helpful to classify people’s responses to interpersonal conflict in five categories (Figure 4). These categories reflect the balance between cooperation (attempts to satisfy the other person’s concerns) and assertiveness (attempts to satisfy your own concerns).
7 Organizational Behavior Principles 5Ps of conflict model:PerceptionsPeoplePracticesPoliciesPersistence
8 Organizational Behavior Principles PerceptionsIndividuals beliefs, values, and expectations about the organization and the individualsIndividual perceptions influenced by what happens in and out of the workplacePerceptions primarily changed through Education and ExperienceInterventions resulting in reflective processesHayes, S. (2009)PeopleCharacteristics of the peopleAgeGenderRace/EthnicitySocial class or educational backgroundExperience in their position and others in organizationOrganization of people in relation to othersHayes, S. (2009) 13For a company to be successful, departments must learn to work together. The sales group cannot ship products without the help of the manufacturing and logistics groups. Managers have several methods at their disposal to improve the intergroup cooperation in a workplace and thereby help improve efficiency and productivity. By encouraging an environment of intergroup cooperation, you are creating a better workplace.
9 Organizational Behavior Principles PracticesPractices are what actually happen Interpretation of policies based primarily in perception and person characteristicsinfluenced by education and prior knowledge/experience with similar policies or practicesMost organizational conflicts are at the level of practices Behaviors can altered without altering perceptions or personal characteristicsHayes, S. (2009)PoliciesOrganizational cultureWork demandsAppropriate demeanorProcess of promotionWhose involved in grievance and terminationPolicy manualWork schedulesProductivity expectationsRules for promotionGrievance & TerminationHayes, S. (2009)Managing team conflict typically involves working with team members who have varying opinions, backgrounds and experience to resolve differences. When you have multiple teams working on a project, this complicates the situation even more. You can reduce tension and dissension by proactively scheduling team-building meetings that focus on conflict resolution skills. For example, conduct role-playing exercises that help people practice acknowledging the conflict, understanding the situation and reaching agreement. Handling inter-group conflict in a decisive manner prevents disagreements from disrupting work further.
10 Organizational Behavior Principles PersistencePersistence is the element of time, change takes place over time.An interventions ability to be successful is dependent on addressing persistence.”Individual time ≤ Organizational time Interventions are time limited.Individuals must take long view, organizations see shorter terminterests of individualsHayes, S. (2009) 16For a company to be successful, departments must learn to work together. The sales group cannot ship products without the help of the manufacturing and logistics groups. Managers have several methods at their disposal to improve the intergroup cooperation in a workplace and thereby help improve efficiency and productivity. By encouraging an environment of intergroup cooperation, you are creating a better workplace.
11 Organizational Behavior Principles RecommendationsImprove Communication-Groups function more efficiently when there is good communication.Clarify Roles-When groups do not have a clear understanding of the roles each department is to take in a given project, confusion and frustration can develop and hinder cooperation.Address Issues Quickly-Problems and concerns will come up between work groups from time to time.Identify and understand the triggering events, and avoid or dull them.Set rules for the conflict, for instance attempting to limit when and how conflicting groups interact.Developing coping strategies to help groups to more effectively deal with the consequences of conflict.Attempts to eliminate or resolve the latent issues that eventually are triggered into conflict.Any time you bring together a group of people with differing opinions, backgrounds and tastes, you put the group at risk for conflict. The way that you handle that conflict and the differing opinions of your group will ultimately impact how much conflict you experience as a whole. As a group leader, it's your responsibility to adapt and allow so your group feels as though concerns are heard and their ideas are embraced. Together, you can reduce intergroup conflict and become more proactive and productive.
12 ReferencesCummings, T.G., & Worley, C.G. (2001). Organization Development and Change (7th edition). Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College.French, W.L., & Bell, C.H. Jr. (1999). Organizational Development: Behavioral Science Interventions for Organizational Improvement (Ch. 10). Upper Sandle Ridge, NJ: Prentice Hall.Nahavandi, A. & Malekzadeh, A.R. (1999). Organizational Behavior: The Person-Organization Fit (Ch. 13). Upper Sandle Ridge, NJ: Prentice Hall.Rahim, M.A (1986). Referent roles and styles of handling interpersonal conflict. Journal of Social Psychology, 126,Rahim, M.A., & Magner, N.R. (1995). Confirmatory factor analysis of the styles of handling interpersonal conflict: first-order factor model and its invariance across groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80,