Management: When a New Leader Takes Charge
Most people spend up to a third of their adult life at work therefore the topic on workplace issues and conflicts draws lots of attentions from the management of organizations. More often than not, conflict arises when two or more personalities clash, employee dissatisfactions and failure to progress or get promoted and also due to conflict of interest among the team members. Conflicts are usually long term resulting from a continuous situation. This is different from a dispute which occurs once or twice and isn’t ongoing. However disputes will lead into a conflict if left unsolved. Unsolved dispute is the perfect ingredient for a less conducive and dangerous workplace environment (Turner & Weed 1987). A transparent and straight forward management decisions need to be made in order to address issues of workplace conflicts. This paper covers conflicts resulting from employment and promotion and the possible solutions.
Conflicts at the workplace can be divided into either functional or dysfunctional conflicts. There are conflicts that are in line with the greater goal of the organization. Such conflicts leads to increased performance and desirable outcomes and are known as functional, constructive or cooperative conflicts. On the other hand dysfunctional conflict leads to interference of the normal operations of an organization and as a result causes poor performance. The difference between the two conflicts is actually based on the ultimate interests and priorities of the organization. Dysfunctional conflicts are uncalled for and it is the duty of the management to try to eliminate them. For instance a conflict between the management of the Airbus Company due to the complexity of laying down the electrical installations led to executive meetings led by Rüdiger Fuchs which resulted in a solutions being met. In other words conflicts can be resolved in a functional or dysfunctional manner (Kinicki 2009).
Dysfunctional conflicts can result from many situations that occur at the workplace. Such situations include: Personalities that are incompatible, unclear job boundaries, poor communication, irrational policies and unresolved conflicts. These conflicts can be divided into three categories which are Personal conflicts based on conflicts of interests or varying view points among individuals. Cross cultural conflicts arising from employees from different cultural backgrounds brought together through joint ventures, outsourcing and alliances. Last but not least is intergroup conflict due to disagreements among teams, departments or workgroups (Sternberg & Dobson 1987).
This brings us to my case where the military commander decided to appoint a new supervisor from outside to fill in a post instead of employing one from the military. This has progressively led to unbearable work conditions with subordinates and leaders disagreeing. This is a good example of dysfunctional conflict for it is leading to the deterioration of duties of the military personnel. According to Stanford’s Jeffrey Pfeiffer, one of people centered practices associated with successful companies including careful hiring which should be in line with the employees’ culture. In the company, it is evidenced that the military commander sidelined this practice thus leading to a conflict. Pfeiffer continues that this new management trend disregards the workers and views them as cost and not assets. This harms the relationship between the employees and the management (Euwema 1994).
The military calls for dedicated servicemen to carry out their duties to the latter in a disciplined and accepted manner. Military operations are entirely coordinated from within and therefore it is expected that opportunities are available within in areas like: supplies, people and finance. Promotion to work in a certain field is entirely on merit and discipline. Therefore it goes against the normal norm for the commander to employ somebody new instead of promoting the existing ones. Employees need to be motivated to work through rewards otherwise known as feedback. The feedback should be satisfactory and show appreciation for good work done. Feedback can be instructional or motivational. Herby instructional feedback leads to learning something new while motivational feedback leads to a reward. Cases where the hard work of employees are bypassed leads to lack of motivation and poor performance and can be a good reason for a conflict.
It goes without saying that the dysfunctional conflict caused by the commander causes more harm than good and need to be resolved. This can be achieved through conflict management and negotiation. First and foremost integration needs to be done. This is identifying the root of the problem and solving it. This leads to a complete solution; addressing the problem rather than its symptoms. It leads to a longer lasting solution even though it is a long process. Therefore the military commander together with the employees or soldiers and the management should come up with a consensus that resolves the conflict. Both parties involved should vouch for added value negotiations by clarifying interests, identifying options, designing alternative deal packages, selecting the deal and lastly perfecting and implementing the deal (Kinicki 2009).
Once the conflict is resolved the management should strive to prevent another occurrence of the same. This will be achieved by reviewing the decision making process. Simon’s normative model is a good example of a non rational decision making model that can be employed in this scenario. This is because the decision will be influenced by a bounded rationality which includes factors like environmental which are beyond the decision makers’ control. I addition this model leads to making satisfying decisions. In other words, decisions which are regarded good enough to address the issue at hand. In addition the military commander and other managers should observe people centered process which comprises of exclusive training, proper hiring, generous rewards, genuine feedback, job security and building trust.
Organizations like the military (where I work) need to have in place a set of standards in which work related conflicts and disputes are put under control. These standards are known as management standards and usually cover areas leading to reduced performance, lower productivity and poor health. These standards cover relationships, demands, expectations, control, support, change and role. Proper management standards illustrate acceptable practice via orderly risk assessment criteria. In addition it fosters active and involving discussions with the employees in coming up with improvements and changes (Forsyth 2009).
Workplace conflicts are a common phenomenon at every place of work. It can either be functional or dysfunctional. The latter hampers the performance of an organization and should be resolved as soon as possible. It can be resolved by integration or problem solving process, avoiding, compromising, obliging or dominating depending on the degree of complexity of the conflict. Effective decision making should also be employed in addressing conflicts. In addition managers need to observe people centered processes at the place of work (Kinicki 2009).
Turner. S. and Weed. F. (1983). Conflict in Organizations. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Sternberg, R. J., & Dobson, D. M. (1987). Resolving interpersonal conflicts: An analysis of stylistic consistency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 794-812
Van de Vliert, E., & Euwema, M. C. (1994). Agreeableness and activeness as components of conflict behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 674–687.
Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group dynamics (5th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Kinicki A., Kreitner R. (2009). Organizational Behavior: Key Concepts, Skills & Best Practices, 4/e. Arizona: Arizona State University.