“10% of conflict is due to difference in opinion and 90% is due to wrong tone of voice.” — Unknown
While the above quote may have been uttered by an anonymous person, its significance in conflict management cannot be denied. Whether it’s a conflict at your workplace or a tiff with your roommate, the root cause is not just the issue itself but the way you approach and try to resolve the said issue is problematic.
As students of MBA and managers of the future, you will be responsible for resolving all the conflicts that are faced by the employees of the company you work in. But before you get there, your professors will ask you to create a comprehensive case study on conflict resolution to test the kind of future leader you’ll be.
Don’t panic at the thought of it. You might be feeling a little clueless as to how to go about writing one, but the good thing is — we’ve got your back.
Right here, right now we’ll be discussing the steps to writing a conflict management case study so that you can submit an A+ grade-worthy copy to your professor.
Step #1: Writing the Abstract
The first element of your case study is the abstract. In this section, you give your readers a brief idea of your case study, touching upon your topic and how you plan to sort out the issue you’ll be presenting in your paper. You’ll also be mentioning the conclusion you’ll arrive at on the basis of your study. Write it in italics or whatever format your university has specified.
Tip: It’s best to write the abstract, right at the end after you’re done with the entire paper.
(P.S. For your convenience, we’ll be writing the samples for each section in italics so that you can easily distinguish between the sections)
The following paper, which you’re about to read is based on these statements:
Resolving conflict is an essential part of leadership skills, which requires thorough training. A manager who lacks proper education and training will not be equipped to handle conflicts, which can consequently blow out of proportion.
How a conflict is resolved depends on the individual’s way of dealing with it. In this case study, a conflict situation will be presented within the work sphere. Strategies to put an end to it as well as the outcome of the strategies will also be discussed.
Step #2: The Introduction
The introduction is supposed to provide a background to your topic. The thesis statement will be a part of it. It is very similar to the abstract but is more elaborate and self-explanatory. You’ll also have to state the purpose of your article and create a seamless flow from the introduction to the main body. In the introduction, it’s a good idea to explain the concepts related to your topic.
Tip: You’ll do better if you write the introduction after the main body as it’ll give you a clear idea of what exactly to write about. This’ll also help you in crafting a powerful introduction, which most assessors look for.
Conflicts have been a part of all our lives since time immemorial, and they might be a common part of the street culture now, but they are no less common behind closed doors. Particularly, office conflicts have gained footing due to a large number of people that are employed by big multinational corporations. The daily interactions that take place among co-workers may not always go smoothly, giving rise to tiffs and animosity between the employees. Such tension can have negative behavioral, psychological as well as physiological results. Consequently, the conflicting parties may be completely and unwilling to resolve the issues on their own. However, they can if they develop the right skills and attitude.
Therefore, it is an absolute must for the employees to develop the right approach to resolving the issues they face at the workplace. This study aims to support this through the analysis of a simulation of a particular conflict.
In the case study below, I will be putting across strategies on how employees can resolve their conflicts as well as the outcomes of those strategies.
The purpose of this paper is-
- To give a general idea of the effects of the conflict in office
- To illustrate strategies that can help deal with them
- To present the results of the strategies employed
- To analyze what can be learned from the results of the study.
Step #3: The Case Study
Now is when you actually go ahead and write the case study. Make sure you use clear, concise and formal language and that your vocabulary and terminology in the paper are well-suited to the tone of your study. If you are giving stats and data, ensure that they are authentic and accurate. Maintain a proper structure while writing, and make sure your case study is not based on a shaky premise. Also, be confident in your stance. A hesitant tone defeats the entire purpose of the study.
Tip: If you’re confused how to put forward the situation, make a list of certain questions pertaining to your study. That should help you out.
I will now be putting forward a sample scenario of a typical office conflict-
Samuel is sitting in his cubicle, and he just got a call from his girlfriend. Jacob is sitting in the cubicle right next to his and is trying hard to concentrate on finishing the report right in front of him. Meanwhile, Samuel has already spent five minutes on the call, and he seems to be speaking louder and louder.
Jacob goes up to him and says, “Will you please keep it down?” Samuel just ignores him and continues talking.
Jacob, a little agitated, now taps Samuel on his shoulder but Samuel behaves as if nothing happened, speaking to his girlfriend in a louder tone than before.
Jacob now is really angry. The clock is ticking, so he yanks Samuel by the shoulder to get his point across. Samuel gets angry too and screams at Jacob, saying “What’s the problem, buddy?”
Jacob snatches the phone from Samuel’s hand, cuts the line and stomps away to sit in his cubicle.
Samuel sits down, flustered and embarrassed at the scene that has been created.
Step #4: Strategies to Resolve the Conflict
The next stage in this case study would be to present the possible strategies that can help resolve this conflict and save both Jacob and Samuel from having bad blood beneath them. Be sure that the tactics you present are sound and doable. Again, maintain a confident stance in your writing and do not hesitate or falter.
Tip: This is where you can show your deep understanding as well as your in-depth knowledge of the study. To this end, avoid appearing confused or disorganized in this section.
In the above situation, both Jacob and Samuel are at fault to a certain extent. Jacob should have kept his cool and Samuel should have politely accepted Jacob’s request instead of ignoring it. However, the following strategies can help them solve this same issue in a more peaceful manner-
- Jacob could’ve maintained a politer stance- Instead of saying it in a disturbed tone, Jacob should’ve been friendlier in his approach to Samuel. Saying it with a smile and a ‘thank you’ could’ve gone a long way.
- Samuel should’ve accepted Jacob’s request- Jacob wouldn’t have lost his cool had Samuel accepted his request in the first or even maximum at the second go.
- Jacob should’ve kept his cool- It was difficult for Jacob not to get angry when Samuel had pushed him over the edge, but staying calm would’ve helped in keeping the situation under control.
- Samuel should’ve spoken in a softer voice and kept the phone after a couple of minutes- By speaking on the phone during work hours, Samuel was already breaking the rules. He was also a nuisance to others by talking loudly.
- They could’ve both apologized to each other after the fiasco- As hard as it may seem, both Jacob and Samuel could’ve ended their conflict gracefully if they had apologized to each other for the mistakes each of them committed.
- The manager should’ve helped both of them- Lastly, the company’s manager should have interfered and tried to make peace between the both of them. This could’ve effectively resolved the conflict.
The manager can also create a cheecklist of points for both of them and use it for further conflicts between them. This would help the manager analyse the behavorial aspects of both of them during any conflict.
Step #5: The results of the Case Study
Congratulations! You’ve now entered into the second last phase of your case study assignment, which means it has been quite a successful journey so far. In this section of your paper, your central aim is to present the results you drew from your observation and the lessons you’ve learned. This can be confused with the conclusion, but the difference lies in the fact that the results are not a summary of your entire article.
Tip: Write the results in bullet points so that it is easier for your assessor to comprehend as well as to go through them.
Conflict management strategies can be very effective in reducing stress and unwanted tensions between fellow employees in the work sphere. In fact, these strategies have both long-term as well as short-term benefits.
The results are:
- Better relations with peers
- Harmony and peace in the work environment
- Lesser number of complaints among employees
- Increased job satisfaction
- Increased productivity at work
Step #6: The Conclusion
You’re finally at the finish line. You’ve done well. Now it’s the time for you to wrap it all up with a solid conclusion that perfectly sums up the point you’ve been trying to prove through your case study.
Tip: Keep your conclusion short and crisp, and avoid introducing any new concepts as that may seem inconclusive.
A collaborative approach to resolving conflicts can help in the formation of symbiotic relationships at work. It can also help in overcoming obstacles by eliminating obstacles that can lead to the positive growth of not just the employees but even the company they are a part of. However, further research into the long-term effects of conflict management can further help in coming up with new strategies that can help erase conflicts from the map of work culture.
We hope now it’ll be easier for you to write an ideal case study that can help you do well in class. Once you’re done, though, take a break and revisit your case study the next day to edit and proofread it. Make the necessary changes, double-check the referencing and then confidently submit it to your professor.
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