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Conflict Management

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Conflict
Management
Chapter Ten
McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Copyright В© 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Constructive Confrontation at Intel
Intel employees learn to fully
evaluate ideas through
“constructive confrontation.” The
objective is to attack the
problem, not the employee, but
some critics claim the process is
a license for some Intel staff to
be bullies.
10-2
Conflict Defined
The process in which one party
perceives that its interests are being
opposed or negatively affected by
another party
10-3
Historically, experts viewed
conflict as dysfunctional
Good
Undermined relations
Conflict outcomes
Is Conflict Good or Bad?: Pre 1970s View
Wasted human energy
Results in job dissatisfaction,
turnover, stress, lower
productivity, less information
sharing
0
Bad
Low
Level of conflict
High
10-4
Is Conflict Good or Bad?: 1970s-1990s View
Dysfunctional to have too little
and too much conflict
Some conflict is good because:

better decisions

reexamine assumptions


Good
Conflict outcomes
From 1970s to 1990s, experts
believed there is an optimal
level of conflict
0
Improves responsiveness to
external environment
Increases cohesion within the
team
Optimal
conflict
Bad
Low
Level of conflict
High
10-5
Is Conflict Good or Bad?: Emerging View
Two types of conflict
Constructive (task) conflict



Conflict is aimed at issue, not parties
Produces benefits of conflict
Upper limit to any conflict, including constructive
Relationship (socioemotional) conflict



Aims conflict a the person (e.g. their competence), not
the task or issue
Introduces perceptual biases
Distorts information processing
10-6
Is Conflict Good or Bad?: Emerging View
Relationship conflict is
dysfunctional
Problem: difficult to separate
constructive from relationship
conflict

Drive to defend naturally
activated when ideas are
critiqued
Good
Conflict outcomes
Lack of constructive conflict is
bad, but some produces
positive outcomes, up to a
point
Constructive
conflict
0
Relationship
conflict
Bad
Low
Level of conflict
High
10-7
Minimizing Relationship Conflict
Three conditions that minimize relationship
conflict while engaging in constructive conflict

Emotional intelligence

Cohesive team

Supportive team norms
10-8
The Conflict Process
Conflict
Perceptions
Sources of
Conflict
Manifest
Conflict
Conflict
Outcomes
Conflict
Emotions
Conflict
Escalation Cycle
10-9
Structural Sources of Conflict
Incompatible
Goals
• One party’s goals perceived to
interfere with other’s goals
Differentiation
• Different values/beliefs
• Explains cross-cultural and
generational conflict
Task
Interdependence
• Conflict increases with
interdependence
• Higher risk that parties interfere with
each other
more
10-10
Sources of Conflict (con’t)
Scarce
Resources
• Motivates competition for the resource
• Creates uncertainty, threatens goals
Ambiguous Rules • Without rules, people rely on politics
Communication
Problems
• Increases stereotyping
• Reduces motivation to communicate
• Escalates conflict when arrogant
10-11
Interpersonal Conflict
Handling Styles
Conflict Management
McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Copyright В© 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Interpersonal Conflict Handling Styles
Forcing
Assertiveness
High
Problem-solving
Compromising
Avoiding
Low
Yielding
Cooperativeness
High
10-13
Problem Solving Conflict Handling at ThedaCare
To resolve conflict between nurses and pharmacists regarding
prescription ordering, ThedaCare management formed a task
force that devised a new system satisfactory to both parties.
They resolved their conflict through problem solving.
10-14
Problem Solving Conflict Handling Contingencies
Problem solving conflict handling is best when…



Interests are not perfectly opposing
Parties have trust/openness
Issues are complex
10-15
Other Conflict Handling Style Contingencies
Avoiding is best when…


relationship conflict is high
Conflict resolution cost is higher than its benefits
Forcing is best when…



You have a deep conviction about your position
Quick resolution required
Other party would take advantage of cooperation
10-16
Other Conflict Handling Style Contingencies
(con’t)
Yielding is best when…



Other party has much more power
Issue is much less important to you than other party
Value/logic of your position is unsteady
Compromising is best when…



Parties have equal power
Quick solution is required
Parties lack trust/openness
10-17
Managing Conflict: Superordinate Goals
Emphasizing common objectives rather than
conflicting sub-goals
Reduces goal incompatibility and differentiation
10-18
Structural Solutions
for Managing Conflict
Conflict Management
McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Copyright В© 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Managing Conflict: Reducing Differentiation
Remove sources of different values and beliefs
Move employees around to different jobs,
departments, and regions
Other ways to reduce differentiation:


Common dress code/status
Common work experiences
10-20
Managing Conflict: Communication/Understanding
Employees understand and appreciate each
other’s views through communication

Relates to contact hypothesis
Two warnings:
1.
2.
Apply communication/understanding after reducing
differentiation
A Western strategy that may conflict with
values/traditions in other cultures
10-21
Other Ways to Manage Conflict
Reduce Task Interdependence



Dividing shared resources
Combine tasks
Use buffers
Increase Resources

Duplicate resources
Clarify Rules and Procedures


Clarify resource distribution
Change interdependence
10-22
Types of Third Party Intervention
High
Mediation
Inquisition
Level of
Process
Control
Arbitration
Low
Level of Outcome Control
High
10-23
Choosing the Best 3rd Party Strategy
Managers prefer inquisitional strategy


Provides consistency and control
Problems: risk of poor decision and less perceived
fairness
But best solution depends on situation, leaderfollower relations, cultural values
Mediation potentially offers highest satisfaction
with process and outcomes
Use arbitration when mediation fails
10-24
Conflict
Management
Chapter Ten
McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Copyright В© 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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