1. Conflict and Negotiation
Question: The opening readings for Chapter 10 on “Eduardo Saverin: You’re Out” have many different types of conflict and negation scenarios that are noted between Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in their conflict for control of Facebook.
What direct and indirect conflict management techniques did these players employ? Drawing examples from your own work and personal experience, what conflict resolution strategies have you employed? Which ones have you seen be successful? What are the effects of unaddressed conflict?
One of the indirect conflict management techniques used was reduced interdependence where Saverin’s share and authority in the company were reduced. This implied the use of direct techniques such as assertiveness where Mark Zuckerberg asserted his own concerns. Similarly, this implied the use of competition and authoritative command where Zuckerberg, being the founder of Facebook, asserted his authority and got the support of the other shareholders in reducing Saverin’s stake in the company.
On his part, Saverin filed a lawsuit against Facebook, which was also his way of asserting his concerns. I would assume that in the process of trying to arrive at a settlement, both parties made use of the Appeals to common goals technique where they had to prioritize the goals of the company over their own personal goals. In the end, they used the technique of compromising where everyone’s concerns were partially satisfied and acceptable solutions were established. In this compromise, Saverin was acknowledged as the co-founder of Facebook and was given a 5% share of the company. In turn, Saverin signed a non-disclosure agreement (“Facebook’s Complicated Ownership History,” 2011), which ensured that he remained silent about the issues.
Personally, I have tried techniques such as the Appeals to common goals in conflicts where the issues become more emotional than substantive in nature, that is, when personalities and feelings become the main concern instead of focusing on more important things such as how to ensure the successful completion of a project. In these cases, I also used assertiveness in pointing out that work objectives should be considered more important than personal differences. As well, I have used hierarchical referral when I escalated issues to my superiors when I and the other party can no longer resolve the issue on our own.
In addition, I have used avoidance when I let go of conflicts if they’re just trivial. In particular, if the issue is not very important to me then I use accommodation by letting the other person have their way. I also use compromise if the issue is important to me but the situation allows me to give in to some of what the other person wants. Lastly, if I and the other person determine that we can work towards the same goal then we employ the technique of collaboration and problem solving.
When a conflict is not addressed, ill feelings are not resolved. Although the conflicting parties may remain civil with each other, the relationship remains tarnished, which means that there are higher chances of the conflict or issue recurring in the future. Worse, not only interpersonal relationships are affected as even the work output may be affected. By not being able to resolve the conflict, it will always be something that will keep hanging in the air so-to-speak. This then will lead to frustrations and eventually create a negative atmosphere within the workplace.
2. Organizational Communication
Question: It seems common in many of today’s workplaces that people don’t actually talk to one another frequently. We rely on e-mail, or the even less rich communication channel of text messaging. The benefits of moving lots of information quickly around an organization and between individuals are real. However, people can too frequently “hide behind” their computers and send messages electronically that they might otherwise censor or re-think in face-to-face communication. What approaches would you recommend/implement as a new manager taking over an organization to improve communications without abandoning the use of e-mail?
One strategy would be to have an open plan for the office place by employing designs such as team-oriented bullpens, low-paneled cubicles, and clusters or pods, which would allow employees to easily see and talk to each other without them having to stand up. This will then make it easier and more convenient for them to talk face-to-face. In addition, this will allow them to build trust and camaraderie with each other, which will hopefully encourage them to communicate face-to-face more.
I will also encourage regular department meetings to be held as this will provide employees with a venue to discuss their concerns as a team through face-to-face interactions. As well, I will encourage team building activities among the different teams. These will provide them with fun ways to bond and communicate with each other, which will help them establish rapport and trust towards each other, which will make them more comfortable with face-face communication in the workplace setting.
Facebook’s complicated ownership history explained. (2011, April 15). Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/facebooks-complicated-ownership-history-explained-20110415-1dgi5.html