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Chapter 11 Conflict in Organizations

Chapter 11 Conflict in Organizations

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Chapter 11 Conflict in Organizations

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  1. Chapter 11Conflict in Organizations

  2. Learning Goals • Define conflict and conflict behavior in organizations • Distinguish between functional and dysfunctional conflict • Understand different levels and types of conflict in organizations • Analyze conflict episodes and the linkages among them

  3. Learning Goals (Cont.) • Understand the role of latent conflict in an episode and its sources in an organization • Describe a conflict management model • Use various techniques to reduce and increase conflict • Appreciate some international and ethical issues in conflict management

  4. Chapter Overview • Introduction • Functional and Dysfunctional Conflict • Levels and Types of Conflict in Organizations • Conflict Episodes • Conflict Frames and Orientations • Latent Conflict: The Sources of Conflict in Organizations

  5. Chapter Overview (Cont.) • Conflict Management • Reducing Conflict • Increasing Conflict • International Aspects of Conflict in Organizations • Ethical Issues in Conflict in Organizations

  6. Introduction Conflict: What does the word mean to you? Conflict Conflicto Conflito Conflit

  7. Introduction (Cont.) • Definition • Opposition • Incompatible behavior • Antagonistic interaction • Block another party from reaching her or his goals Range of conflict behavior Doubt or questioning Annihilation of opponent

  8. Introduction (Cont.) • Key elements • Interdependence with another party • Perception of incompatible goals • Conflict events • Disagreements • Debates • Disputes • Preventing someone from reaching valued goals

  9. Introduction (Cont.) • Conflict is not always bad for an organization • Do not need to reduce all conflict • Conflict episodes: ebb and flow of conflict • An inevitable part of organization life • Needed for growth and survival • Conflict management includes increasing and decreasing conflict • Major management responsibility

  10. Introduction (Cont.) Brazilian Saying(Ditado popular, Portuguese) Toda unanimidade é burra. (“It’s dumb if we all agree.”) Special thanks to Gustavo Sette Rabello, Graduate Student, The Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management, 1996

  11. Functional andDysfunctional Conflict • Functional conflict: works toward the goals of an organization or group • Dysfunctional conflict: blocks an organi-zation or group from reaching its goals • Dysfunctionally high conflict: what you typically think about conflict • Dysfunctionally low conflict: an atypical view • Levels vary among groups

  12. Functional andDysfunctional Conflict (Cont.) • Functional conflict • “Constructive Conflict”--Mary Parker Follett (1925) • Increases information and ideas • Encourages innovative thinking • Unshackles different points of view • Reduces stagnation

  13. Functional andDysfunctional Conflict (Cont.) • Dysfunctionally high conflict • Tension, anxiety, stress • Drives out low conflict tolerant people • Reduced trust • Poor decisions because of withheld or distorted information • Excessive management focus on the conflict

  14. Functional andDysfunctional Conflict (Cont.) • Dysfunctionally low conflict • Few new ideas • Poor decisions from lack of innovation and information • Stagnation • Business as usual

  15. Levels and Typesof Conflict Type of conflict Level of conflict Organization Within and between organizations Group Within and between groups Individual Within and between individuals

  16. Levels and Typesof Conflict (Cont.) • Intraorganization conflict • Conflict that occurs within an organization • At interfaces of organization functions • Can occur along the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the organization • Vertical conflict: between managers and subordinates • Horizontal conflict: between departments and work groups

  17. Levels and Typesof Conflict (Cont.) • Intragroup conflict • Conflict among members of a group • Early stages of group development • Ways of doing tasks or reaching group's goals • Intergroup conflict: between two or more groups

  18. Levels and Typesof Conflict (Cont.) • Interpersonal conflict • Between two or more people • Differences in views about what should be done • Efforts to get more resources • Differences in orientation to work and time in different parts of an organization

  19. Levels and Typesof Conflict (Cont.) • Intrapersonal conflict • Occurs within an individual • Threat to a person’s values • Feeling of unfair treatment • Multiple and contradictory sources of socialization • Related to the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Chapter 5) and negative inequity (Chapter 8)

  20. Levels and Typesof Conflict (Cont.) • Interorganization conflict • Between two or more organizations • Not competition • Examples: suppliers and distributors, especially with the close links now possible

  21. Conflict Episodes Simple conflict episode Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict aftermath

  22. Conflict Episodes (Cont.) • Latent conflict: antecedents of conflict behavior that can start conflict episode • Manifest conflict: observable conflict behavior • Conflict aftermath • End of a conflict episode • Often the starting point of a related episode • Becomes the latent conflict for another episode • Conflict reduction: lower the conflict level

  23. Conflict Episodes Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict reduction Conflict aftermath

  24. Conflict Episodes (Cont.) The antecedents of conflict Example: scarce resources Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict aftermath

  25. Conflict Episodes (Cont.) • Some latent conflict in the lives of college students • Parking spaces • Library copying machines • Computer laboratory • Books in the bookstore • School and other parts of your life • University policies

  26. Observable conflict behavior Example: disagreement, discussion Conflict Episodes (Cont.) Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict aftermath

  27. Manifest conflict Conflict Episodes (Cont.) Latent conflict Residue of a conflict episode Example: compromise in allocating scarce resources leaves both parties with less than they wanted Conflict aftermath

  28. Conflict Episodes Latent conflict Perceived conflict Felt conflict Manifest conflict Conflict reduction Text book Figure 11.1 Conflict aftermath

  29. Conflict Episodes (Cont.) • Perceived conflict • Become aware that one is in conflict with another party • Can block out some conflict • Can perceive conflict when no latent conditions exist • Example: misunderstanding another person’s position on an issue

  30. Conflict Episodes (Cont.) • Felt conflict • Emotional part of conflict • Personalizing the conflict • Oral and physical hostility • Hard to manage episodes with high felt conflict • What people likely recall about conflict

  31. Relationships AmongConflict Episodes • Episodes link through the connection of conflict aftermath to latent conflict • Effective conflict management: break the connection • Discover the latent conflicts and remove them

  32. Relationships AmongConflict Episodes (Cont.) Conflict reduction Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict aftermath Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict aftermath Latent conflict Manifest conflict Conflict aftermath

  33. Conflict Framesand Orientations • Conflict frames • Perceptual sets that people bring to conflict episodes • Perceptual filters • Remove some information from an episode • Emphasize other information in an episode

  34. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) Conflict frame Relationship-Task Cooperate-Win Emotional-Intellectual

  35. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) • Conflict frame dimensions • Relationship-Task • Relationship: focuses on interpersonal relationships • Task: focuses on material aspects of an episode • Emotional-Intellectual • Emotional: focuses on feelings in the conflict episode (felt conflict) • Intellectual: focuses on observed behavior (manifest conflict)

  36. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) • Conflict frame dimensions (cont.) • Cooperate-Win • Cooperate: emphasizes the role of all parties to the conflict • Win: wants to maximize personal gain

  37. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) • Conflict frames • Limited research results • End an episode with a relationship or intellectual frame: feel good about relationship with other party • Cooperation-focused people end with more positive results than those focused on winning

  38. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) • Conflict orientations • Dominance: wants to win; conflict is a battle • Collaborative: wants to find a solution that satisfies everyone • Compromise: splits the differences • Avoidance: backs away • Accommodative: focuses on desires of other party

  39. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) • Can change during conflict episode • How firmly the person holds orientation • Importance of the issues to the person • Perception of opponent's power • Collaborative orientation: more positive long-term benefits than the others

  40. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) Conflict orientation and the conflict aftermath Avoidance Accommodative Dominance Compromise Collaborative No residue High residue Conflict aftermath

  41. Conflict Framesand Orientations (Cont.) • Combinations of conflict orientations in a group • Dominance, avoidance • Dominance, dominance • Avoidance, avoidance • Dominance, collaborative, compromise • Collaborative, compromise, avoidance • Collaborative, compromise, avoidance, dominance, accommodative

  42. Latent Conflict: The Sources of Conflict in Organizations • Antecedents to conflict episodes • Many natural conditions of organizations act as latent conflicts • Lurk in the background; trigger conflict when right conditions occur • Does not always lead to manifest conflict • Give us clues about how to reduce dysfunctionally high conflict

  43. Latent Conflict: The Sources of Conflict in Organizations (Cont.) • Some representative latent conflict • Scarce resources: money, equipment, facilities • Organizational differentiation: different orientations in different parts of organization • Rules, procedures, policies: behavioral guides that can cause clashes • Cohesive groups: value and orientation differences among groups

  44. Latent Conflict: The Sources of Conflict in Organizations (Cont.) • Some representative latent conflict (cont.) • Interdependence: forces interaction • Communication barriers: shift work and jargon • Ambiguous jurisdictions: areas of authority not clearly defined • Reward systems: reward different behavior in different parts of the organization Sales on commission; manufacturing rewardedfor meeting schedules. Communication differences.

  45. Conflict Management Model • Maintain conflict at functional levels • Not complete elimination • Reducing to functional levels • Increasing dysfunctionally low conflict • Choose desired level of conflict based on perceived conflict requirements • Varies in different parts of an organization • Manager’s tolerance for conflict plays a role

  46. Conflict Management Model (Cont.) Organizational culture Product or service Fast-changing environment Perceived conflict requirements Desired conflict level

  47. Conflict Management Model (Cont.) Dysfunctionally low conflict Dysfunctionally high conflict Normal Increase conflict Decrease conflict Text book Figure 11.2

  48. Conflict Management Model (Cont.) • Symptoms of dysfunctionally high conflict • Low trust • Information distortion • Tension/antagonism • Stress • Sabotage of organization’s product or service

  49. Conflict Management Model (Cont.) • Symptoms of dysfunctionally low conflict • Deny differences • Repress controversial information • Prohibit disagreements • Avoid interactions • Walk away from conflict episode

  50. Reducing Conflict • Overview • Lose-lose methods: parties to the conflict episode do not get what they want • Win-lose methods: one party a clear winner; other party a clear loser • Win-win methods: each party to the conflict episode gets what he or she wants