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Stewart L. Tubbs McGraw-Hill© 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 C H A P T E R Conflict Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Stewart L. Tubbs McGraw-Hill© 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 C H A P T E R Conflict Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Stewart L. Tubbs McGraw-Hill© 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 C H A P T E R Conflict Management

2 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 2 Conflict Management Sources of Conflict Desirability of Conflict Types of Conflict Undesirability of Conflict Game Theory Toward Conflict Management Review of the Systems Approach

3 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 3 Sources of Conflict Conflict is “an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scare resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals” (Wilmot and Hocker, 1998) Conflicts exist whenever incompatible activities occur.

4 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 4 Sources of Conflict Conflicts may originate from a number of different sources, including: Differences in information, beliefs, values, interests, or desires. A scarcity of some resource. Rivalries in which one person or group competes with another.

5 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 5 Desirability of Conflict Many writers believe that conflict in a group is desirable. Conflict helps eliminate or reduce the likelihood of groupthink. A moderate level of conflict across tasks within a group resulted in increased group performance while conflict among personalities resulted in lower group performance (Peterson and Behfar, 2003)

6 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 6 Types of Conflict Conflict of ideas –Dooley and Fryxell (1999) found that conflict of ideas at the early stage of decision making (idea formulation) was desirable. –That same conflict sometimes caused problems at a later stage when the ideas actually had to implemented. Conflict of feelings (often called personality conflict)

7 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 7 Types of Conflict Opposition and Support

8 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 8 Undesirability of Conflict Conflicts are often hard to keep under control once they have begun. –There is a definite trend toward escalation and polarization. –Once conflict escalates to a point at which it is no longer under control, it almost always yields negative results.

9 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 9 Game Theory Game theory puts people into the mixed- motive situation. –Covey (1990) in The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People refers to the scarcity mentality versus the abundance mentality. The scarcity mentality leads us to resent the success of others. The abundance mentality allows us to think of situations in which everybody can win.

10 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 10 Toward Conflict Management Conflict management is defined as “the opportunity to improve situations and strengthen relationships” (BCS, 2004). –proactive conflict management –collaborative conflict management

11 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 11 Toward Conflict Management Blake and Mouton (1970) have proposed a scheme whereby we can try to avoid win-lose situations and, when possible, apply a win-win approach. –The 1,1 style is the hands-off approach, also called avoidance. –The 1,9 position, also called accommodation, is excessively person-oriented.

12 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 12 Toward Conflict Management –The 5,5 position represents a willingness to compromise. –The 9,1 is the bullheaded approach, also called competing. –The optimum style for reducing conflict is the 9,9 approach, also called collaboration.

13 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 13 Toward Conflict Management Borisoff and Victor (1998) argue that the best strategy for conflict management (negotiation) depends on the desired outcome.

14 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 14 Toward Conflict Management –Unilateral negotiation strategies They include: –The trusting collaboration strategy. –The open subordination strategy. –The firm competition strategy. –The active avoidance strategy.

15 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 15 Toward Conflict Management –Interactive negotiation strategies Trusting collaboration Principled negotiation Firm competition Soft competition Open subordination Focused subordination Active avoidance Passive avoidance Responsive avoidance

16 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 16 Toward Conflict Management Fisher, Ury, and Patton (1991) outline four principles that compose principled negotiation. –Separate the people from the problem. –Focus on interests, not positions. –Invent options for mutual gain. –Seek objective criteria.

17 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 17 Toward Conflict Management Tubbs, Kryska, and Cooper (1997) propose that one frequent source of conflict is the leadership struggle between superior and subordinate in decision making. –The Continuum of Decision-Making Behavior has been described as including four styles of decision making: Tells Sells Consults Joins

18 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 18 Toward Conflict Management Diane Yale (1988) outlines three approaches to conflict that occur in the form of metaphor. –The competitive, adversarial metaphor Often results in a winner and loser in the resolution process. –The problem-solving metaphor If your [conflict] is focused on problem-solving, everything that comes at you... is seen as a problem or a solution. –The creative orientation metaphor Brings an innovative quality to group conflict resolution.

19 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 19 Toward Conflict Management Blake and Mouton’s Conflict Grid Source: Reproduced by permission from Robert R. Blake and Jane Syngley Mouton. “The Fifth Achievement.” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 6(4),

20 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 20 Toward Conflict Management— Practical Tips Walker and Harris (1995) offer the following practical tips for implementing the 9,9 style. Encouraging behavior occurs when a team member: 1. Avoids feelings or perceptions that imply the other person is wrong or needs to change. 2. Communicates a desire to work together to explore a problem or seek a solution. 3. Exhibits behavior that is spontaneous and destruction- free.

21 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 21 Toward Conflict Management— Practical Tips 4. Identifies with another team member’s problems, shares feelings, and accepts the team member’s reaction. 5. Treats other team members with respect and trust. 6. Investigates issues rather than taking sides on them. –The same principles can be applied to negotiating with others outside your team, or with a supplier or customer.

22 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 22 Toward Conflict Management A Continuum of Decision-Making Behavior Source: From Stewart L. Tubbs. Empowerment (Ann Arbor, Mich.: U-Train, Inc., 1993), pp 5-9. Adapted from R. Tannenbaum and H.W. Schmidt. “How to Choose a Leadership Pattern,” Harvard Business Review March-April, 1958.

23 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 23 Review of the Systems Approach Individuals are encouraged to understand their own personal triggers to better deal with conflict situations in the workplace (Robin, 2004) In the group setting, members are encouraged to think about the other group members early in the meeting process and privately identify those individuals and subsequent behaviors that are more apt to push their buttons.

24 McGraw-Hill © 2007 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 24 Review of the Systems Approach Conflict may have some desirable consequences for the group. Conflict that gets out of control may be destructive. We would expect more conflict-producing behaviors from those high in aggression, dominance, and the need for autonomy. Perhaps one of the most important factors related to conflict is the style of leadership and the resulting group norms regarding conflict.


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