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Conflict Management Processes

Conflict Management Processes

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Conflict Management Processes

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  1. Conflict Management Processes Chapter 9 Skillful management (not resolution)

  2. Conflict (Van Slyke, 1997) • “Managers who thrive amidst the upheaval, caused by reengineering and downsizing, value conflict. Managers who lead, encourage conflict” • Not win/lose or right/wrong; see it as a puzzle and a potential resource • “I need a raise” may not mean what it seems. • Seek the core motivation: is it really money? • What about status, recognition, etc.?

  3. Conflict Management Processes • Conflict: perception usually negative • Conflict can be negative/destructive or positive/constructive • How can you tell the difference? • Person/issue • On point/off point • Empathic/selfish • System perspective/parochial perspective • Dynamic/static

  4. Elements of Interpersonal Conflict • Situational: context is extremely important • A conflict situation requires: • Interdependent participants • Perception of incompatible goals or favoring mutually exclusive means to the same end • Perception that, without some action, relationship will suffer • Some sense of urgency to resolve (change) • Return to perceived equilibrium

  5. Conflict • Not all conflict is overt, or requires verbal communication • Or even physical presence • Silent treatment, passive aggressive behaviors, avoidance, etc. • Some form of expression is required, however • Perception is all that matters • Usually, we choose to see conflict

  6. Conflict Management Processes • Conflict can be: • Interpersonal • Intergroup • Interorganizational • Boundary spanners must understand all sides • Highly stressful

  7. Conflict Management Processes • Pondy’s five phases of conflict (an ordered sequence): • Latent: potential exists • Perceived: conflict is sensed • Felt: conflict action planning begins • Manifest: the “war” • Aftermath: short and long term effects

  8. *In sum: conflict is expression of the perceived potential consequences between interdependent individuals concerned with perceivedincompatible goalsor incompatible means

  9. Conflict • Normal part of all relationships • The closer the relationship (good or bad): • The more frequent the conflict • The more intense the conflict • The more likely even very small issues trigger conflict • We must see this as normal; we must anticipate this in relationships • Or they will deteriorate (entropy)

  10. Interpersonal Skills • We tend to see ourselves, others, and relationships (ours and others’) as static • Static evaluations • “My boss is an angry guy”; “She’s an optimist”; “Customers are so shallow” • Similarly, we tend to see conflict as a static “event” • We don’t see it’s a process • Events “happen”; processes can be managed

  11. Conflict as Process • A “resolved” conflict (one which moves us to a new place) has five stages: • Prelude to conflict stage • Frustration or latent stage • Triggering event • Initiation phase • Differentiation phase • Resolution phase • Which changes the “history,” and becomes a prelude

  12. Unsuccessful conflict scenarios are those that become diverted at one stage

  13. Common Conflict Cycles: • Confrontation avoidance cycle • A pattern of avoidance (since occasional avoidance is often useful) • Withdrawal at the first hint of conflict • Doesn’t get past stage 2 (the triggering event) • Conflict is bad perception- discomfort concerning a conflict-avoidance-conflict out of control-handle poorly-conflict is bad perception • Either conflict not resolved (hurts relationship), or it builds and erupts

  14. Interpersonal Skills Excessive conflict andexcessive harmony prevent change, which is needed for growth Regular conflict (not excessive) is a sign of a healthy relationship

  15. Conflict as Process • Confrontation avoidance cycle • Special form: “chilling effect” • When one withholds conflict communication out of fear of reaction, or potential loss of relationship • Common when the other has greater power money, options, etc. • Like confrontation avoidance cycle • But unique to a relationship (two people) • Not necessarily true of one’s typical conflict response

  16. Common Conflict Cycles: • Competitive escalation • Fails to advance past the differentiation stage • Divergence rather than integration • Cause: desire to “win” • How to respond? • See conflict communication as an exchange of ideas rather than a competition • Ask yourself: what’s my goal? • To win the argument? • To learn, resolve, repair, heal?

  17. Confrontation Process • Preparation: • Identify problem/needs/issues • Not simple; perhaps the most important step • Self-talk needed: who, what, when, etc. • How serious is it, who’s responsible, me? • Important: decide what you want • Use imagined interaction: be ready for responses • But do it with their point of view in mind, too • Self-fulfilling prophecies can affect outcomes

  18. Confrontation Process • Express desire to talk • Agree on a time, don’t demand it, resist the need to do it NOW (don’t wait too long either) • Pick a place appropriate for the talk • Consider the impact of others, pressure of the environment, etc. • Free of distractions

  19. Confrontation Process • Confront • Assertiveness is important (but be careful) • Maintain comfortable eye contact (not too much or too little) • Speak in a controlled manner, but firmly • Explain your concerns (without judging the other), but find points of agreement, too • Avoid abstractions, exaggerations, absolutes, it statements, you statements

  20. Confrontation Process • Listen with an open mind • Empathy, genuine listening (not just “hearing”), respect and protect face issues • Provide good, and honest, feedback • Speak about what YOU think or feel, don’t tell the other what he/she thinks, feels, etc. • Anticipate informational reception apprehension • Respond: rephrase, ask about wants, supply answers when none are provided

  21. Confrontation Process • Resolve • Be sure the agreement is mutual (are you sure?) • Put it in writing? Sometimes • Be specific about what you’re agreeing about • Specific, observable actions, not vague concepts • Follow up • Set a time and place to talk again • Make sure enough time has passed; be reasonable • Balance negative feedback with positive • Stay on track; don’t allow minor issues to trigger new conflict situations

  22. Options During Conflict • Respond in one of three basic ways • Other-centered, self-centered, relationship-centered (*Not mutually exclusive) • Use one of four options: • Non-assertive, passive-aggressive, aggressive, assertive (*Not mutually exclusive) • Options lead to outcomes: • Lose-lose, lose-win, win-lose, win-win • Each outcome contains strategies • Verbal and nonverbal

  23. *Ad Hominem Argument • Responding to another’s argument by addressing characteristics of the person rather than addressing the issue: • “Joe’s proposal is worthless; he doesn’t even have a marketing degree.“ • “He’s a great speaker, he looks good, and he seems confident; he’ll probably be a great candidate for the new position

  24. High • Competition • Collaboration • Win/Lose • Win/Win • Lose/Win • Concern • for • self • Compromise • Lose/Lose • Accommodation • Avoidance • No Game • Lose/Win • Low • High • Concern for others

  25. Conflict Management Processes • How realistic are these models? • Is the individual the only determining factor of conflict? • Do individuals use a single approach? • Is a two-dimensional model sufficient? • Concern for political, system, subgroup, profession, etc. • Is the model too dependent on verbal behaviors? • Aren’t the organization and the organizational context critical to conflict activity?

  26. Conflict Management Research • Gross et al (2004) studies show: • Controlling style judged inappropriate when used by others, but appropriate when used by the self (*self-serving bias) • Kassing’s research on dissent as a conflict response • E.g. Employees more likely to express dissent about colleagues and organizational practices than about safety and ethical concerns

  27. Conflict Management Processes • Bargaining/negotiation • Formal process (rules) • Use of party representatives is common • Often applied to resolve interorganizational or intergroup conflict • Distributive or integrative approaches • Vary in goals, issues, processes, outcomes

  28. Conflict Management Processes • Distributive bargaining: • Maximize gain/minimize loss (win/lose or compromise only) • “Fixed pot” mentality (like a labor dispute) • Communication: deception, withheld information, “debate” approach • Integrative bargaining: • Maximize gain for all (win/win) • Search for creative solutions; “bigger pot” mentality • Communication: open disclosure, listening, multiple channels

  29. Conflict Management Processes • Third-party conflict processes • Often needed when resolution unlikely • Could be internal (a manager) or external (a mediator, arbitrator, judge, etc.) • Managers could act as: • Inquisitor: control process and outcome • Judge: control outcome but not process • Mediator: counsel only to both sides • Motivator, investigator, etc.

  30. Conflict Management Processes • Managers often take the inquisitor, mediator or motivator • Not equally effective: mediator seen as more fair • Third-party resolution • Mediator: advice and control, but no decision power • Arbitrator: control of process, and has binding decision-making ability

  31. Conflict Management Processes • Threat of lawsuit: positive or negative? • Factors influence the process • Personal • Personality: aggressive, passive, argumentative, etc. • Gender/race/etc. changes assumptions, processes, expectations

  32. Conflict Management Processes • Relational Factors: • Power • Competitive is more common when dealing with subordinates • Collaboration more common with superiors • Perceptual congruence differs • View of topic, perceived importance, ability to predict

  33. Conflict Management Processes • Cultural factors • Intercultural versus intracultural • Ethnicity and race • Disney example: “family” versus “show business” metaphors • Alternate views: • Critical gender studies

  34. Reasoning Fallacies Any unsound mode of argument that may appear true, but uses false reasoning

  35. Argument Example • Claim: Bicycle helmets for adult riders should be required by law • Evidence: Research shows that when a rider hits his or her head in a bicycle accident, permanent injury occurs in most cases • Response?

  36. Argument Example • Either/or Argument (false dilemma) • Reducing choices to only two • “Support for this proposal reflects no concern for the rights of workers” • Appeal to ignorance: • “That can’t be right because I’ve (or we’ve) never heard of it before!” • “You can’t prove that”

  37. Fallacies of Arguments • Popular appeal (ad populum or bandwagoning): • Persuasive appeal by famous people • Apple ad example (cool people use Macs) • Attractiveness in ads • Misused statistics • “Your idea was tried last year, and we had a return rate of only 8%; we need a different approach”

  38. Fallacies of Arguments • Overgeneralization: • Example: “That won’t work; I know two other marketing departments that have tried that idea with no success” • Analogy: • “Our new application uses the same basic approach as many Fortune 500 companies”

  39. Fallacies of Arguments • Arguing in a circle: • The premise of the argument is essentially the same as the conclusion it intends to prove • “The new proposed changes should be avoided because they’re not effective” • That proposed constitutional amendment should be rejected because it isn’t constitutional • “Written assignments in college classes shouldn’t be required: they aren’t necessary”

  40. Fallacies of Arguments • Fallacy of cause • “Ever since the new CEO was appointed, our profit has fallen; she’ll have to be replaced.” • Time sequence alone is not enough to demonstrate causation • Computer sales are highly related to sneaker sales: computer users are health conscious!”

  41. Fallacies of Arguments • Ambiguity: • “We only hire intelligent people” • “We guarantee a rapid response!” • “Our hair product has twice the brilliance!” • Verbalism: • Intentionally or unintentionally using words so that the meaning is difficult or impossible to ascertain • “We need a mission statement that matters!”

  42. Fallacies of Arguments • Incomplete comparison: • “This new board is unquestionably more effective.” • Ignoring the issue: • Not addressing the opposition’s argument • Slippery slope: • “If we allow the managers to search our desks when they feel there’s a security threat, they’ll next want to install cameras in our homes!”

  43. Fallacies of Arguments • Straw argument (straw person): • Refuting an argument that doesn’t exist or that your opponent did not advance • “Vote for me for SGA president; I won’t ignore the rights of my fellow students”

  44. Fallacies of Arguments • Pseudoquestions: • Asking loaded or ambiguous questions, questions based on false assumptions “Would you support a new tax plan that is more fair?” • “Have you stopped cheating on exams?” • “Do you support the unfair legislation that is currently under debate?”

  45. Fallacies of Arguments • Appeal to tradition: • “This is the way we’ve always run the business!” • Non Sequitor: • A conclusion which does not follow from the evidence: • “Evidence shows that many people cannot afford health care, so the government should provide it free”

  46. Change and Leadership Chapter 10

  47. Change and Leadership • Dealing with “change” • Old style: rely on known processes and best practices • Modern style (book): • React to environmental changes • Now (not in book) • React to changes in environment, but also: • Anticipate changes (educated guess) • *Those that wait to react are often already too late • Inaccurate guess: possible (even likely) failure • No guess: almost certain failure

  48. Change and Leadership • Models of organizational change: • Organizations go through “natural” cycles • Startup, growth, harvest, decline • Reaction to change is a key factor • Anticipation of change in now more important • Destabilizing forces-adjustments-changes-feedback-cycle • Requires proactive management

  49. Change and Leadership • Three basic problems emerge: • Lack of managerial support, forced change, inconsistent action (ownership tension) • Resistance of other stakeholders (ownership tension applied to employees), unrealistic expectations • Uncertainty, often caused by poor communication of purpose, responsibilities • Even negative information is seen as better than none

  50. *Uncertainty Reduction Theory Charles Berger