Part - 1
Describe the conflict process
Conflict is not good or bad, it is inevitable. The conflict process can be described as a process through which conflict takes place. There are five stages of the conflict process. These stages are as follows.
a. Incompatibility: this stage is also known as the potential opposition stage. In this stage, conflict tends to arise due to different situations or conditions, along with misunderstandings regarding communication, structure, or even personal variables.
b. Cognition & Personalization: a conflict is a form of perception, i.e., if there is potential opposition or incompatibility exists and both parties feel this, then it can be said that conflict is developing between the parties. There are two reasons as to why conflict arises, i.e., felt conflict and perceived conflict.
c. Intentions: This is the third stage in the conflict process. Here, preference tends to come between individuals’ perceptions and emotions and help those who are participating in the conflict in how to behave. There are five different ways via which a person can respond to conflict, they are accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing, and compromising.
d. Behavior: this is the fourth stage, and here, the conflict becomes prominent through actions, reactions, and statements. Behavior is considered to be the main element of interaction and when it comes to conflict.
e. Outcomes: this is the last stage of the conflict process. Here, the result of the conflict can either be a functional outcome or a dysfunctional outcome (Lumen, n.d.).
What are two of the most common conflict-handling styles?
Conflict is a natural and normal part of the workplace environment. There are 5 ways to handle conflict in the workplace. The two most common conflict-handling styles are as follows.
a. Compromising: this style tries to find ways to satisfy all the parties that are conflicting partially. Here, adjustments are made on both sides so that the conflict can be resolved. This style is used when there is a standstill and a need for a temporary fix or solution (Novak, 2019).
b. Collaborating: this style makes sure to find a solution that would appease all the parties, i.e., it focuses on a win-win scenario. In other words, there is no middle ground solution. The aim is to find a solution that would satisfy everyone. This style is used when the relationships are more important and when all the needs and beliefs of involved parties are essential (Novak, 2019).
Think of a current conflict situation at work. What was the cause, and how did you react to it? How was the conflict resolved?
The most recent conflict took place while I was working on a team for a project. I had a conflict with a team member because that person was not coordinating with me concerning the tasks that needed to be done. The cause of the conflict was a misunderstanding, miscommunication, and lack of coordination.
My reaction at first was to complain about it to the team leader, but instead, I decided to be direct and clarify things with the person so that we both could reach a solution. In the end, the conflict was resolved through compromise so that the project wouldn’t get delayed because of us. We both decided that we needed to communicate and clarify what we expected from each other and what our roles were so that we were on the same page and meet the deadline that was fast approaching us. It would look bad on both our performances if we didn’t finish our tasks on time.
Part – 2
Why is this case about team conflict? What conflicts do you see developing?
This case is about team conflict because the project manager Didier Amrani is too autocratic and controlling, and this is not practical when it comes to working in teams. Didier's leadership creates numerous problems, like there is no trust between the team members, along with cohesiveness that is needed for the completion of the project. There is a lack of communication between the American, and the French teams, the chain of command is unclear, and the mission is also unclear.
Lack of communication and alienation, the conflicts that I see developing in the case scenario, are emotional conflict and task conflict.
a. Emotional Conflict: these conflicts tend to arise due to emotions like insecurity, annoyance, envy, or personality conflicts. In this form of war, the parties tend to hold opposing views and have difficulty hiding their hatred for each other. For example, Frank Lanigan (communication lead) presented a communication plan to the core team at the project's start. Didier, after the meeting, called Frank and stated that nothing would be given to the core team until he has not approved it, which led to Frank becoming angry and frustrated, which led to him withdrawing. He believed that his discretion and expertise were being undermined.
b. Task Conflict: this conflict tends to arise over goals and tasks. For example, the American team and French team were not on the same page, i.e., all the decisions were being made by Didier in consultation with the French team members, and the decisions that were made were communicated back to the American team without their input (Dominick, 2008). And this led to sub-teams falling behind on their schedules.
How is distance affecting team dynamics and performance?
The distance between both the teams affects team dynamics and their performance (especially the American team). Even though technology like online video conferencing has made it possible for teams to work together regardless of where they are operating from, in this case, one group is located in the US and the other in France. However, distance can still create issues in communication, making it hard to collaborate in real-time. In other words, teams working in different locations are faced with communication deterioration, misunderstanding, and lack of cooperation (Neeley, 2015), which in turn, leads to distrust between teams, and this is happening in the case, i.e., the American team is not trusting the French team. Because the French team is not cooperating and communicating correctly with the American team, this has led to a decrease in all the team’s performances because the sub-teams are not completing their tasks on time.
One thing that also needs to be kept in mind is that geographically dispersed teams tend to feel a power imbalance, and they often perceive that there are in-groups and out-groups (Neeley, 2015). For example, the core team of the project is both the US and the French teams. But during one team teleconference where both the teams discussed necessary data fields and explored the implications of change, Didier stopped the discussion and announced that the core team does not need to concern itself with this particular issue because the core-core team would handle this issue themselves. This remark further reinforced the sense of alienation. In other words, the French team was considered an in-group, whereas the American team was an out-group.
What do you think about the decision to appoint sub-team sponsors? What problem can it solve? Which situations might it not solve?
The decision regarding the appointment of sub-team sponsors is a bad one because the team working on the project is big and has been divided into two teams, i.e., the American team (that focuses on communication, validation (i.e., testing), and training) and the French team (that focuses on quality and compliance, global information system, and global user lead, along with 5 sub-teams. In other words, the team structure is too big and already very complex. Adding two more sponsors for sub-teams would become even more confusing.
a. Problems solved: the issues that can be solved by adding sponsors to the sub-teams would be mediation between the American and the French team. And these sponsors can help with decreasing the negative impacts of Didier’s decisions. And they can also help with improving the flow of communication, along with sharing information needed for the completion and the success of the Vigilance Project.
b. Problems not solved: the addition of sponsors can add more layers when it comes to communication. Communication between the core teams and the sub-teams is deteriorating because the French team is not communicating with the American team. The American team does not have the required information it needs to relay down to the sub-teams. Adding more layers to their already complex structure would further alienate the American group and increase conflicts between both teams. And the conflicts can trickle down to the sub-teams as well. For example, the sub-teams were already feeling the tension and were becoming frustrated. Some team members walked out of the meeting because they could not comply with what they were asked to do on short notice or did not have sufficient information to perform their tasks. Adding more people to this mix would be a disaster, further delaying the project (Dominick, 2008).
In addition to technical skills. What does this case say about the kinds of skills that must be considered when staffing important projects?
Technical skills are crucial for the Vigilance project, but only having technical skills would succeed in addition to technical skills. These skills need to be considered when vital staffing projects are as follows.
• Leadership skills: the leader needs to have skills so that they can lead their team, along with managing them. The leader needs to inspire and motivate the members to perform their best.
a. Communication skills: for a team to unify, there is a need for free-flowing communication. It is with the help of communication that conflicts can be resolved, and information is shared. Communication needs to be clear so that there is no misunderstanding between teams and their members.
b. Problem-solving skills: for teams to be a success, there is a need for problem-solving skills. Having such skills would come in handy in mediating and resolving conflicts in the teams (Doyle, 2019).
c. Teamwork: the team members need to work together if they want the team to unify and succeed. Therefore, team members must collaborate and cooperate, listen to one another’s ideas, and be open to taking feedback to improve their performance.
d. Motivation skills: there is a need for motor skills because it would help the team members to remain focused, along with helping them to develop relationships.
What are conflict negotiation skills most appropriate for this case?
Negotiation is a discussion that helps resolve a conflict or an issue in a way that appeases both parties. In the negotiation process, both parties try to persuade each other to agree with the other’s point of view. Negotiation makes sure that there is no argument between the parties. Instead, both parties compromise and come to a solution that is acceptable to them both (Kenton, 2020). When it comes to this case, the negotiation skills that are the most appropriate are as follows.
• Confronting the difference directly
• Focusing on relationship-building dialogue
• They are making sure that interests and values are considered separately (Pon Staff, 2019).
Part – 3
Laura has planned to take a day off this week.
The style used to handle the conflict is compromising, i.e., there was a compromise between Laura and Tara. Tara wanted Laura to reschedule her day off due to high demand on that day, promising her that Tara would provide Laura with flexible time and that Laura can leave as soon as the job is finished. Compromising style helps with finding solutions that would appease both parties. This level needs a moderate level of cooperation and assertiveness. This style is used when there is a need for a temporary fix or when both the parties have equally important goals, i.e., for Laura, it was an off day, and for Tara, it was the completion of the tasks.
Two talented but aggressive teammates.
The leader used the collaborating style to handle the conflict in this situation, i.e., both the teammates are talented and aggressive and want to show their worth to their leader. The team leader understands that if both of them work together, the tasks can be achieved quickly, and the project would be a success, thus the use of collaboration. In collaboration style, both the parties are paired together to achieve their goals, i.e., by taking credit for the work and advancing one’s ideas. Collaboration would help the leader break the win-lose paradigm and focus on a win-win situation, i.e., both the parties would not be disappointed with the outcome (Amaresan, 2019).
A company picnic is planned.
The collaborating style was used to resolve the conflict between the two subgroups, i.e., one group was focusing on group activities for the company picnic. In contrast, the other was focusing on individual activities. At a communication meeting, both the groups expressed their desire to work with each other; this showed that both teams were willing to compromise and reach a solution that provided them with a win-win scenario instead of a win-lose one. For example, both subgroups wanted to make sure that the picnic was a success and fun for everyone. Therefore, this led them to consider the other’s ideas and opinions regarding the picnic activities and combining them to create fun-filled activities for the company picnic.
Responding to the rumor mill.
Avoiding style needs to be used to handle this conflict, i.e., Latisha witnessed an argument between Mary and Alyssa. Mary was confronting Alyssa concerning rumors that were being spread concerning her love life. Mary was relentless and mad about the situation. In this situation, Latisha and Alyssa need to use the avoiding style so that conflict can be resolved. Avoiding style is used when one wants to avoid the issue. This style works when the matter is trivial; in this case, it is a rumor (Amaresan, 2019). This style is also effective when the atmosphere is emotionally charged, and there is a need to create some distance. Latisha and Alyssa need to do that because Mary is highly emotional and fuming with anger regarding rumors about her love life.
Mario works as a front-line employee.
The style that needs to be used in this situation would be compromising, i.e., there is a need for Mark and Mario to come to an understanding. In other words, they both need to find a solution so that Mario can go home and relieve his wife to get to her work on time. The compromising style focuses on finding a temporary solution that would appease both the parties, for example, Mark can rearrange the shifts and can let Mario go so that he can take care of his son. And Mario, at a later date, can complete his transformation.
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Amaresan, S. (2019). 5 Conflict Management Style for Every Personality Type. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://blog.hubspot.com/service/conflict-management-styles
Dominick, P G. (2008). The Vigilance Project – Case Overview. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.shrm.org/Membership/student-resources/Documents/The%20Vigilance%20Project_Student_Workbook_Final.pdf
Doyle, A. (2019). Important Team Building Skills That Employers Value. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/list-of-team-building-skills-2063772
Kenton, W. (2020). Negotiation. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/negotiation.asp
Lumen. (n.d.). The Conflict Process. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-organizationalbehavior/chapter/the-conflict-process/
Neeley, T. (2015). Global Teams that Work. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://hbr.org/2015/10/global-teams-that-work
Novak, M C. (2019). 5 Most Effective Conflict Management Styles (+When to Use Each One). Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://learn.g2.com/conflict-management-styles
Pon Staff. (2019). Four Conflict Negotiation Strategies for Resolving Value-Based Disputes. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/dispute-resolution/four-negotiation-strategies-for-resolving-values-based-disputes/