Managing conflict at Schneider National MaykNazaryan Marc Neary Mark Muller
What Is conflict • Conflict Defined • Essientially a disagreement, differing of opinion, points of view, or ideas. • Encompasses a wide range of conflicts that people experience in organizations • Incompatibility of goals • Differences over interpretations of facts • Disagreements based on behavioral expectations
Views of Conflict • Traditional View – “all conflict is bad and must be avoided” - Based on poor communication, lack of openness, failure to respond to employees needs • Human Relations View of Conflict – conflict is natural and is an inevitable outcome in any group situation • Interationist View of Conflict – believes that conflict is a positive force and is absolutely necessary for a group to perform effectively and its optimal level
View toward Conflict • Question 1: What view does Lofgren support? Explain. • Lofgren takes on the Human Relations View of Conflict and the Interactionist View of Conflict. • Supports the functional conflict to improve his organization. To mediate the points of conflict, the executive group has had to learn how to work together. By making the executive group work together this supports functional conflict because it supports the goals of the group and improves its performance.
Transition of Leadership • Question 2: Explain why the transition in leadership from Don Schneider to Chris Lofgren was relatively conflict free? • The change from Don Schneider to Chris Lofgren was conflict-free, or is also called a form of functional conflict. • Functional Conflict: conflict that is resulted from decisions that will help the company in the long-run and will make it a better company as a whole. • The conflict management strategy used was yielding. • Yielding: accepting the fact that you are an employee of the company and you will make important business decisions based on the company’s views and needs and not your own.
TRANSITION OF LEADERSHIP • Schneider International is classified under the “No Conflict” category for the following reasons: • Lofgren worked under his successor, Dan Schneider, as his Vice-President for six years before being appointed COO, and two years later, CEO. • Lofgren was familiar with the company and its employees. • Lofgren’s co-workers-turned-employees knew him well and trusted him.
Types of Conflict Task Conflict – content and goals Relationship Conflict – interpersonal relationship Process Conflict – how work gets completed Perceived Conflict – the awareness of the differences in opinions that create opportunities for conflict Felt Conflict – emotional aspect in which conflicts creates negative tension, anxiety,or frustration.
Creating Conflict“conflict around business is the most healthy thing” Cognitive Conflict – subtle, indirect, highly controlled for of tension, disagreements/ polite objections using a positive opposing idea to support and improve the groups performance. • Functional and Constructive– generates more alternatives, led to better decision making, more acceptance of decisions, ownership of decisions • Schneider National Goal - Put together a team of six individuals with skills, experience, and ideas that are bigger and better than that of Don Schneider. • Diversity – healthy conflict in which ideas are promoted and critiqued to find the best possible solution • Negotiation – discussion of ideas in which everyone focuses on the main goal; choosing/creating the best opportunity to improve the companies performance
Reducing Conflict“Conflict between people or group relationships is not positive” • Dysfunctional and Destructive Conflict – hinders group performance, emotional and aimed towards a person • Affective Conflict – personality incompatibilities and disputes, leads to poor decisions, lower levels of acceptance • Schneider National – executive group has learned to work together • -have brought outside counselors to help them listen and understand each other • Focus debates on critical business issues • Take the enterprise solution and functions of business so there in no need for a referee for tension
Managing conflict • Lofgren has taking the following initiatives to manage conflict: • Executive group learning to work together • Brought in outside counselors • Focus debate on critical issues • Clear intentions, cooperating, collaboration, accommodating, compromising and integrative bargaining to create win-win situations.
References • www.ctp.bilkent.edu.tr/~meltem/CONFLICTNEGOTIATION.ppt • http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Fuimano14.html • http://conflicttheory.com/ • Nancy Langton, Stephen P. Robbins, Timothy A. Judge (2010). Fifth Canadian Edition: Organizational Behaviours; Concepts, Controversies, Applications.