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Part 1: Literature Review

Describe about the Conflict Management for Attributes Foreseen in Organizations.

Conflict management is one of the most common type attributes foreseen in different organisations. The discussion on the skilled process of conflict management has been one of the most debatable concepts over the years. According to Bradley et al. (2013), conflicts are based on the work based problems, task allocations, communications, or communicative purposes. The maintenance of the skilled relationship is necessary in order to resolve the conflicting scenario within an organisation. The effective participation of the leaders or the managers is thus one of the most necessary components for maintaining a comfortable environment (Mayer et al. 2012). Moreover, it is the major responsibility of the organisational leaders to communicate with the other employees during any occurrence of the conflicts. The situational conflicts are associated with diversified scenario.

The study is divided into two parts, which contain the discussion of literature review and implementation of the theoretical model. The literature review will be presenting the literature study based on the conflict management process undertaken by the organisations. The role of the organisational leaders will be described in this literature review context. The second part of the study will provide the idea about the theoretical model based on the conflict management. The explanation of the tools and techniques will provide the insightful idea about the underlying concept.

Conceptualised idea of Conflict Management

The conflict management has become of the major concerned areas for the organisation. This section of the study will be focusing on the different typologies of the conflicts that can affect the internal management scenario of the organisation. Booth (2015) implied that the conflict may arise due to several uncertain situations faced by the organisational associates. For instance, the conflicts can arise due to performance, work process, and lack of effective relationships. The roles and the responsibilities of the team are essential for driving the performance management of an organisation. Hence, if there is any performance obligation takes place due to the ineffective maintenance of roles and responsibilities, the conflict may take place. Galuppo et al. (2014) explained that many organisational associates face difficulties or conflicts due to lack of proper relationship with other associates. In many of the cases, it has been observed that the team members or the other subordinates face the lack of communications. Therefore, it affects the interpersonal relationships with the other members.

Conceptualized idea of Conflict Management

Another form of conflict is task-based, which includes the disagreements of the employees in working on any particular task. It is noted that sometimes the employees face issues with the tasks that they need to complete. However, if the employees fail to manage the tasks, it might create the uncertain scenario within the organisation. Saundry et al. (2014) identified a correlation between task-based conflicts and performance-based conflicts. In supporting such statement, Lê and Jarzabkowski (2015) proclaimed that the task-based conflicts are often proved to be much beneficial. The performance-based conflicts and the relationship-based conflicts in an organisation may lead towards the negative influences. On the contrary, the occurrence of the task-based conflicts provides the insight of undertaking innovative techniques and strategies. Therefore, it can be considered that the task-based conflict has the positive contribution on the organisational excellence. The conflicts arise when the different perspectives of the diversified people clashes (Bruk-Lee, Nixon and Spector 2013). In such circumstances, the leaders need to take the proactive actions. Therefore, it is essential to identify the different approaches that are needed to be undertaken for managing the conflicts.

Conflict management is one of the major concerns for each organisation. The pattern of managing conflicts depends on two basic motives (Kerzner 2013). The first motif is to concentrate on own self whereas the other motif is to concentrate on others. Depending on such motives, the necessary approaches or patterns of managing conflicts are needed to be recognised.

  • Dominating: It depicts the idea of concentrating more on self and less on others.
  • Avoiding: Less concentration paid to self and others.
  • Obliging: More focus on others and less on self.
  • Compromising: Moderate concerns for others and self.
  • Integrating: High focus on both self and others.

Concentrating on such patterns, the conflict resolution process can be classified into two diversified dimensions, such as assertiveness or unassertiveness and cooperativeness or uncooperativeness. The different techniques associated with the conflict management process depend on the diversified level of conflicts (Redpath et al. 2013). In order to recognise such techniques of resolving conflicts, it is important to pay the attention towards such diversified techniques. These are as follows:

Incident Level: It is to be noted that the management requires taking the proactive actions when any conflict occurs within the internal management scenario. However, in some of the cases, it is notified that the management fails to address such conflicting scenario and it turns into a situational crisis (Guo et al. 2014). This level of conflict is considered as the Incident level. The sharp and short communication is recognised in such situation.

Discomfort Level: At the initial stage of a conflict, it is seen that some of the scenarios are unacceptable to the associated employees and management. If analysed more closely, it can be interpreted that this type of conflict is easily avoidable once the employees chose to walk away from the situation. According to Shaikh et al. (2014), this typology of the conflicting situation is less harmful for the internal scenario of an organisation.

Approaches of Conflict Management

Tension Level: In some of the cases, it has been noticed that the management or the associated leaders are unable to resolve the situational crisis occurred within an organisation. In fact, when the conflict is addressed to the higher authority, it remains unclear and unsolved. This type of conflict level leads to tension, which can create the negative impact on the organisational productivity. Wallensteen (2015) implied that this type of conflict can create the worst scenario for the existing employees since people fail to understand the proper method of resolving this.

Mix-level: The mix level of conflict occurs when there is the huge misunderstanding takes place between the comfort level and incident level of conflicts. This particular typology of conflict is sometimes much troublesome to manage since the level of misunderstanding reaches to the extreme height. However, it is observed that the utilisation of the negotiation process would be less influencing for resolving such scenario.

Crisis level: Snyder and Diesing (2015) defined that when the conflict reaches to the extreme point of edge, the level becomes much critical. This level of conflict has the high probability of harming the organisational scenario. Along with the employees’ performance parameters, the morale of the leaders is also affected (Lerbinger 2012). The relationship between the employees and the organisation can be much affected due to the occurrence of such type of conflicts. In such circumstances, it has been noticed that often the employees end up losing their jobs. Hence, the organisation requires identifying the proper solution of resolving such conflict at the initial stage.

The recognition of such different level of conflicts is specifying that it is the responsibility of the authority to pay attention towards the minimal level of conflicts. If the management fails to address such conflicting scenario, it may reach to the extreme level where it can create several negative consequences. Both the employees and associated management personnel would be harmed due to such extreme level of conflicts. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the importance of resolving such uncertain issues.

Recognition of the root cause of the conflicting situation is essential for each of the organisation. It becomes unpredictable to analyse the major reason once the conflict reach to the extreme level. The time management is thus one of the most necessary aspects for the management. The importance of managing the internal conflicts is thus described further.

Establishment the effective team bonding: The conflicts between the team members create the negative impact on the organisational productivity. The use of the proper techniques of resolving the arising issues between team members would be helpful to strengthen their bonding with each other. The assimilation of the shared ideas and innovative skills would be preferable for achieving organisational excellence (Ram and Montibeller 2013). Therefore, it is essential to keep the focus on the satisfaction of the employees’ interests. The agreement between the team members would be effective enough in building the team strength.  

Necessity of Managing the Conflicting Scenario

Increasing the Organisational Performance Parameter: Reason (2016) suggested that the conflict resolution is necessary since such uncertainties can create the negative impact on the organisational performance. It is to be indicated that the establishment of the effective conflict management process would be helpful enough in removing disagreements among the employees. Moreover, resolving the conflicts provides the opportunity to establish the effective relationship between the associated employees. Building such effective relationship between the people serves as the motivational purposes, which helps in increasing the organisational performance parameter. In such regards, the leaders have to take the initiatives to maintain such cooperation.

Establishment of the Organisational Reputation: The maintenance of the sequential and strategic steps is essential for establishing the effective organisational reputation. Similarly, if any organisation requires dealing with conflicting scenario, it would affect the internal management system (Binder 2016). Hence, it is necessary to structure the proper strategy that can increase the goodwill of the organisation.

The Conflict Model of Thomas-Kilmann

Conflict is the general consequences that people face in their regular lives, as the individuals find differences between their desires and expectations. In an organisation, the conflicts may arise in achieving goals, securing values, and determining different styles of approaching (Riasi and Asadzadeh 2015). However, many experts have suggested focusing on the positive side of such of the conflicts to make it fruitful for the organisational reputation. In order to achieve such goal, it is necessary to structure an appropriate model that can be used for resolving the conflicts. Thomas-Killman introduced such conflict management model that includes 5 types of the instruments along with two different dimensions.

  Conflict Management of Thomas-Killman

Figure 1: Conflict Management of Thomas-Killman

(Source: Trippe and Baumoel 2015)

Altmäe, Türk and Toomet (2013) explained that the five types of conflict management style in this model are accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing, and compromising. The description of these styles is provided further.

1) Accommodating

This particular approach is determining the high degree of self-cooperativeness. When the conflict arises against the own goals and desired outcomes, this approach is needed to be undertaken. If concentrated on the model based approaches, it can be suggested that the help derived from the third party professional would be much fruitful to construct such model. Moreover, it can also be predicted that such particular style would be much helpful in strengthening the future relationship with the other parties. This style is appropriate when the competition is much higher and the internal performance styles are required to be changed. Often it has been seen that during such change performance management process, the company faces challenges and conflicts in managing the existing employees. For example, retail companies face such competitions, since the demands of the retail products are much higher. In such consequences, if the third party involves with such scenario, it would be helpful enough in resolving such conflict.

Part B: Model of Conflict Management

2) Avoiding

In some of the cases, many organisations just avoid the issues. These organisations simply eliminates the participation of the other parties and focus on fulfilling the own determined objectives. When one organisation has no chance of winning, it becomes more interested in avoiding the situation instead of involving other parties. It is found that most of the monopolistic businesses use such conflict model style where the competition is avoidable. For example, Apple Inc. operates in a business market where the competition is much lower. Hence, the company can avoid such circumstances.

3) Collaborating

The conflicts can be managed by collaborating two or more organisations. Especially, it is noted that one organisation pairs up with another party in order to achieve the similar objective. It helps the organisations to be free from the ‘win-lose’ mentality and ensure the ‘win-win’ paradigms. Day (2015) suggested that usually this style signifies more complex situations. However, maintaining the appropriate style would be more helpful in resolving the issues and simplifying the scenario. In addition to this, it is also noted that collaborating with other parties is helpful enough in re-framing the challenges and structure the business functionalities accordingly. This style is even especially helpful for synthesising the ideas altogether with the help of other associated business partner. For example, during the merger and acquisition process, employees feel insecure about their job stability. The participation of the merged companies would be thus helpful in such circumstances for re-structuring the performance management.

4) Competing

According to Cai (2016), the competing style in this model signifies the ‘win-lose’ approach more specifically. It is noted that each organisation holds the insight of dealing with the specific scenario in order to achieve the pre-determined goals. Similarly, the organisations required facing the competitiveness in order to ensure growth. Therefore, it is essential to take the participation in the competitive scenario by undertaking the decisive action more frequently.

5) Compromising

This type of style is highlighting the ‘lose-lose’ scenario, which determines that the organisation will not be able to achieve the perceived objectives. Trippe and Baumoel (2015) suggested that in such scenario, the organisations need to maintain an appreciable level of assertiveness. Even though the scenario is temporary, it may create impact on the organisational morale. The associated members in the organisation become much fond of achieving their personal goals as well. Hence, in order to eliminate such conflicting scenario, people chose to compromise. In fact, it is perceived that compromising with the situation would be perfect for leading towards better solutions.

The Conflict Model of Thomas-Kilmann

 Steps for decision making to resolve conflict

Figure 2: Steps for decision making to resolve conflict

(Source: Created by Auhtor)

The above analysis is highlighting the different scenario that the organisations usually face during the conflicting situations. It is to be indicated that the identification of the scenario is necessary to resolve the issues. Analysing the above context, it is noted that the dealing with the conflicting situation, it is much important t concentrate on the interpersonal cues. If it is linked with the real life scenario, it can be seen that during such situational crisis, the body language of the people changes. For example, during conflicts, the face turns red, the stomach tightens, and pulse rises. More specifically, the people associated with such conflicting scenario, usually start talking in high pitched voice. Therefore, the people involved with resolving such conflicts are needed to be calm and quiet at first. It is important to identify the real issue beyond the reflective scenario. The communication with both the parties will then decide the proper steps that can be undertaken to resolve such conflicts. The power of judgment is necessary in such cases. The roles of the leaders are thus necessary in such regards. The leaders are required identifying the underlying issues and accordingly need to undertake the relevant decisions. However, some of the organisations take the help from the third party mediator for resolving the issues.

Each of the organisations needs to identify the proper procedure of resolving the underlying issues and resolve the associated conflicts. The leaders of an organisation requires following five steps in order to resolve the conflicts. These steps are descried further.

Identification of the source

The leaders need to be aware of source of conflicts as soon as soon they receive the information. The identification of the proper issue will be ensuring the relevant steps that are needed to be undertaken to resolve the conflicts (Snyder and Diesing 2015). The relational aspect of these issues is necessary for making any relevant decision.

Looking beyond the Incident

In some of the cases, it may happen that the situation is not responsible for the conflicts; rather the perspectives of highlighting the situation can be the major reason. In such cases, the leaders need to look beyond the incident to undertake the relevant judgement for resolving the conflicts (Saundry et al. 2014). The irrelevant perspectives may lead towards more hazardous scenario. Therefore, judgement should be based on the actual scenario of conflicts.

Requesting the Solution

Collecting the view point of both the parties, the leaders need to understand the real scenario behind such conflict. Depending on such scenario, it will be clarified that which of the situations can be changed properly to resolve the issues. The questions also can be asked to the parties if required.

Identification of the solution for the support

When once the solution is identified, it should be addressed to both the parties for approval. It is noted that the leader or the person who is going to solve the issue requires identifying the relevant course of action. If the solution is beneficial for the organisation and both the parties, the process can be undertaken accordingly.

Agreement of the Solution

Once the issue is explained to the mediator, the situation identification is necessary. Depending on such situation, the mediator will undertake the necessary step to resolve the issue. After undertaking the proper decision, the mediator needs to let both the parties know about their agreements (Bruk-Lee, Nixon and Spector 2013). It is noted that some of the mediators make an agreement paper, which is required to be approved by both the parties. This process is one of the most effective steps to resolve the conflict.

Conclusion

The study has been reflecting the idea of the conflict management process. It is noted that the conflicts are one of the most recognisable incidents that people have to deal with in their regular life. Each of the organisations faces such conflicting scenario and accordingly requires undertaking the relevant steps to resolve the issues. The five levels of conflict management process is much helpful to eliminate the negative situations and bring the efficiency to the organisational performance. The use of the Thomas-Killman model is relevant enough in resolving the underlying issues that may affect the organisational productivity.  However, recognition of the specific issues and the actual scenario is necessary. The contextualised idea about the conflict management scenario is reflecting in the literature review section. The identification of the specific issue will be providing the insightful ideas about the solutions of the issues.

References

Altmäe, S., Türk, K. and Toomet, O.S., 2013. Thomas-Kilmann's Conflict Management Modes and their relationship to Fiedler's Leadership Styles (basing on Estonian organizations). Baltic Journal of Management, 8(1), pp.45-65.

Binder, J., 2016. Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders. CRC Press.

Booth, S.A., 2015. Crisis management strategy: Competition and change in modern enterprises. Routledge.

Bradley, B.H., Klotz, A., Baur, J.E. and Banford, C.G., 2013, January. When Does Conflict Improve Team Performance? A Review of Evidence and Framework for Future Research. In Academy of Management Proceedings(Vol. 2013, No. 1, p. 17093). Academy of Management.

Bruk-Lee, V., Nixon, A.E. and Spector, P.E., 2013. An expanded typology of conflict at work: Task, relationship and non-task organizational conflict as social stressors. Work & Stress, 27(4), pp.339-350.

Cai, D.A., 2016. Conflict Styles and Strategies. The International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication.

Day, G.E., 2015. Successfully managing conflict. Leading and Managing Health Services: An Australasian Perspective, p.273.

Galuppo, L., Gorli, M., Scaratti, G. and Kaneklin, C., 2014. Building social sustainability: multi-stakeholder processes and conflict management. Social Responsibility Journal, 10(4), pp.685-701.

Guo, Y., Tjosvold, D., Wong, A. and Li, X., 2014, January. Conflict between Leaders and Employees: The Role of Transformational Leadership. InAcademy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2014, No. 1, p. 13673). Academy of Management.

Kerzner, H.R., 2013. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Lê, J.K. and Jarzabkowski, P.A., 2015. The role of task and process conflict in strategizing. British Journal of Management, 26(3), pp.439-462.

Lerbinger, O., 2012. The crisis manager. Routledge.

Mayer, C.H., Louw, L., Mayer, C.H. and Louw, L., 2012. Managing cross-cultural conflict in organizations. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 12(1), p.3.

Ram, C. and Montibeller, G., 2013. Exploring the impact of evaluating strategic options in a scenario-based multi-criteria framework. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 80(4), pp.657-672.

Reason, J., 2016. Managing the risks of organizational accidents. Routledge.

Redpath, S.M., Young, J., Evely, A., Adams, W.M., Sutherland, W.J., Whitehouse, A., Amar, A., Lambert, R.A., Linnell, J.D., Watt, A. and Gutiérrez, R.J., 2013. Understanding and managing conservation conflicts.Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 28(2), pp.100-109.

Riasi, A. and Asadzadeh, N., 2015. The relationship between principals’ reward power and their conflict management styles based on Thomas–Kilmann conflict mode instrument. Management Science Letters, 5(6), pp.611-618.

Saundry, R.A., Latreille, P., Dickens, L., Irvine, C., Teague, P., Urwin, P. and Wibberley, G., 2014. Reframing Resolution-Managing Conflict and Resolving Individual Employment Disputes in the Contemporary Workplace. Acas Policy Discussion Papers, pp.1-21.

Shaikh, P.H., Nor, N.B.M., Nallagownden, P., Elamvazuthi, I. and Ibrahim, T., 2014. A review on optimized control systems for building energy and comfort management of smart sustainable buildings. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 34, pp.409-429.

Snyder, G.H. and Diesing, P., 2015. Conflict among nations: Bargaining, decision making, and system structure in international crises. Princeton University Press.

Trippe, B. and Baumoel, D., 2015. Beyond the Thomas–Kilmann Model: Into Extreme Conflict. Negotiation Journal, 31(2), pp.89-103.

Wallensteen, P., 2015. Understanding conflict resolution. Sage.
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