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Chapter 13 Overcoming Politics, Negativity, and Conflict in the Workplace.

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1 Chapter 13 Overcoming Politics, Negativity, and Conflict in the Workplace

2 Objectives After reading the chapter and reviewing the materials presented the students will be able to: Define internal politics. Understand the impact of internal politics on quality. Learn how to overcome negativity in organizations. Learn how to overcome territorial behavior in organizations. Learn how to manage conflict in organizations.

3 Internal Politics Defined Internal politics consists of activities undertaken to gain advantage or influence organizational decision making in ways that intend to serve a purpose other than the best interests of the overall organization. Internal politics consists of the games people play to promote decisions that are based on criteria other than merit.

4 Organizational Structure and Internal Politics Internal politics can exist, and usually does, in every type of organization regardless of organizational structure. This is because internal politics is a tool to be used anytime people within an organization compete among themselves.

5 Internal Politicians and their Methods Internal politicians seek to gain advantage so as to influence organizational decision making. The most widely used methods are: lobbying, building coalitions, applying pressure, electioneering, and spreading rumors and gossip.

6 Impact of Local Politics on Quality Loss of morale due to infighting, buck passing, and rumor mongering. Questionable decisions made for reasons other than what is best for the organization. Counterproductive internal competition that saps the organization of its competitive energy. Loss of the best and brightest employees as they make a statement of their dissatisfaction by leaving. Perpetuation of outdated processes, procedures, and technologies as internal politics is used to promote organizational inertia by those opposed to change. Constant conflict as the political machinations of one group are countered by those of others. Loss of quality, competitiveness, and customers as the organization’s focus is diverted from what really matters.

7 Controlling Internal Politics in an Organization Strategic Planning Component: Explaining to the employees the content of the strategic plan and how it is to be used in guiding all decisions and actions in the organization. Leadership Component: Managers must be consistent role models of the behavior they expect of employees. Reward/Recognition Component: Reward collaboration, and recognize people who practice it. Performance Appraisal Component: One of the criteria in an organization’s performance appraisal instrument must be collaboration. Customer Focus Component: The strategic plan is written from the perspective of attracting, satisfying, and retaining customers. Conflict Management Component: Managers can make it difficult for internal politicians to play their games by: establishing conflict guidelines, helping all employees develop conflict prevention and resolution skills, helping all employees develop anger management skills, and simulating and facilitating productive conflict.

8 Categories of Negativity in Workplace The most common categories of negative behavior are: Control disputes Territorial disputes (boundaries) Dependence and independence issues Need for attention and responsibility Authority Loyalty issues

9 Overcoming Territorial Behavior Overcoming territorial behavior requires a 2 pronged approach: 1. Recognizing territorial behavior and admitting they exist. 2. Creating an environment in which survival is equated with cooperation rather than territoriality. Strategies: 1. Avoid jumping to conclusions: Talk to employees about territoriality versus cooperation. 2. Attribute territorial behavior to instinct rather than people: Reward cooperation and apply negative reinforcement to territorial behavior. 3. Ensure that no employee feels attacked: Put employees at ease. 4. Avoid generalizations: Deal with the individual who exhibits the behavior. 5. Understand irrational fears: Be firm but patient with employee fears. 6. Respect each individual’s perspective: Let employees explain their perspectives, even if you do not agree. 7. Consider the employee’s point of view: Sensitivity and patience with employee view are critical when trying to overcome territorial behavior.

10 When Conflict Should be Stimulated Stagnant organizations need to be shaken up or they will die. Conflict should be stimulated when: Employees always agree with you and tell you only what you want to hear. Employees are afraid to admit they need help or that they have made mistakes. When decision makers focus more on reaching agreement rather than arriving at the best decision. When managers focus more on getting along rather than accomplishing objectives. Managers place more emphasis on not hurting feelings rather than making quality decisions. Managers place more emphasis on being popular than on high job performance and competitiveness. Turnover rate is unusually low. Employees, supervisors, and managers avoid proposing new ideas.

11 Summary Internal politics consists of activities undertaken to gain advantage or influence organizational decision making in ways that intend to serve a purpose other than the best interests of the overall organization. Internal politics consists of the games people play to promote decisions that are based on criteria other than merit. Overcoming Territorial Behavior: 1. Avoid jumping to conclusions: Talk to employees about territoriality versus cooperation. 2. Attribute territorial behavior to instinct rather than people: Reward cooperation and apply negative reinforcement to territorial behavior. 3. Ensure that no employee feels attacked: Put employees at ease. 4. Avoid generalizations: Deal with the individual who exhibits the behavior. 5. Understand irrational fears: Be firm but patient with employee fears. 6. Respect each individual’s perspective: Let employees explain their perspectives, even if you do not agree. 7. Consider the employee’s point of view: Sensitivity and patience with employee view are critical when trying to overcome territorial behavior. Conflict should be stimulated when: Employees always agree with you and tell you only what you want to hear. Employees are afraid to admit they need help or that they have made mistakes. When decision makers focus more on reaching agreement rather than arriving at the best decision. When managers focus more on getting along rather than accomplishing objectives. Managers place more emphasis on not hurting feelings rather than making quality decisions. Managers place more emphasis on being popular than on high job performance and competitiveness. Turnover rate is unusually low. Employees, supervisors, and managers avoid proposing new ideas.

12 Home Work Answer Questions 1, 8, 9 on pages Define internal politics. 8. Explain the strategies for overcoming territorial behavior. 9. When should conflict be encouraged in an organization?


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