With the ever increasing number of employees, the conflict management process which was adopted errs after the companies creation to address the needs of its 450 employees, mostly centered around compensation and benefits, now faces the challenge to handle disputes from 3000 employees now centered around accountability, roles and responsibility, compensation and benefit, personality differences, communication and decision making process. Although management has been struggling to handle this conflict every time they come up, the conflicts still keep showing up year after year.
Employees within the company have the feeling that their problems are not fully address by management and that is why their problems always end not fully address only to show up again in the nearest future. Management on the other hand believes its doing all it can to handle employees disputes. The company which adopted its conflict management plan in 1999 has not been evaluated since its adoption. As of the time it was adopted, the company had Just 450 workers, and two functional departments, the finance and operations departments.
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As years went by, the number of departments increased. Presently the company is divided into 5 departments namely Finance, Marketing, Legal, Operations and Logistic with the operations department alone having close to 2500 workers. Majority of the disputes in the company come from the operations department. In an earlier attempt to resolve the disputes from the operations department, each zone among the ten zones allocated nationwide was assigned a team leader who acted as a supervisor to the members of each zone that was made up of 250 workers.
All the team leaders reported directly to the operations manager. A few cross sectional disputes were also recorded in other departments. Although these disputes always end up being resolved, managements and staff are still puzzle as to why these conflicts keep showing up again and again. Communication which is a major aspect in resolving disputes should be at the focal point of the company conflict management process. Management should be able to define the roles and responsibility of employees in a clear and explicit manner.
Adopting all five negotiation techniques in managing and resolving conflict would be a plus to make the conflict management process more effective. Problem Statement The reason why conflicts within the company always repeat itself might be as a result of poor conflict settlement, which stems from the fact that the conflict management process which was adopted 4 years after the company was founded and had to deal with the disputes of Just 450 employees, now has 3000 employees to deal with, thus making the conflict management process less flexible taking into account the different kinds of disputes now resulting.
Also, the conflict management plan cannot be ascertain to be working properly since it has not undergone any proper evaluation nice its adoption in 1999 by the company. Conflict Management Process Managing conflict within Osaka security has been one of the company’s topmost priorities. Appendix Ill attached to this paper gives a summarized overview of modern conflict management. The company conflict management process comprises of 5 stages. The flow chart below illustrates the company conflict management process.
Stage 1 opposition/incompatibility Stage 3 Behavior Stage 2 Potential Cognition and personalization Stage 4 Outcome Stage 5 Intentions Source: Osaka security Company Stage one comprises of potential opposition/incompatibility. In this stage, there are potential areas of conflict that could be identified. These usually include communication, structure and personal variables. The second stage is the cognition and personalization stage. This stage actually depends on which factor actually materializes as conflict in the first stage.
There is usually a perception of conflict occurring among employees. This conflict can be felt through stress, anger or frustration. These usually lead us to the third stage, which are intention/decisions. This stage is very important for it provides the strategies to be used to resolve inflicts. These strategies include collaboration, compromising, competing, avoidance and accommodation. The fourth stage is all about behavior. The conflict becomes visible through yelling, fighting or crying.
The stage is usually the most difficult stage, because major issues have to be resolved. Strikes and wars are extreme examples of this stage. The final stage of the company conflict management process is the outcome. This stage classifies the outcome of the conflict which can either be functional or dysfunctional. Research methodology to analyses the conflict management styles This research theology that I have carried out is to enable me to bring out the reason as to why the conflict management process seems not to be effective.
Research design The research design will provide a basic frame work or plan for a study that will guide the collection of data. The research design adopted in this research is descriptive. Descriptive studies as their names imply are designed to describe something. Sampling Plan Data Primary Data Research Design Survey Method Research Instruments Questionnaire Method of Contact Personal/email/telephonic Sampling Method Judgment Sampling Sampling Unit
Zone team leaders and department heads Sampling Area All 10 zones representing Osaka Security Company Sampling size 10 Team leaders 6 departmental heads Scope of Study Conflict management style in a team is proportional to the productivity of the company as a whole. Addressing the conflict management style will enhance the efficiency of the functioning of the zones, departments and the company as a whole. Limitation of study This study was carried out using 10 team leaders and 6 departmental heads.
Data Analysis The pie charts below summarize the information gotten from the questionnaire as preference in appendix V to analyses the conflict management style and types of conflict recorded as of the year 2000 to 2013. From the data analysis, it could be seen that Just 2 styles of conflict management style is been used out of the 5 existing styles in the company conflict management process as referenced in appendix VI figure 1 . Competing style accounts for 75% of the company’s conflict management style since 2000 to 2013 and avoidance accounts for 25% over the same period.
These strategies have mostly been used to resolve conflicts resulting from roles and responsibility which recorded 50% of the overall conflict, communication which recorded 25%, compensation and benefits accounting for 15% and finally personality differences which accounts for 10% as referenced in appendix IV figure 2. If we are to compare FIG 1 and FIG 2, we would find out that for the past years the company has been using force/competing style and avoidance style to resolve conflicts resulting from roles and responsibility, communication, compensation and benefit and personality differences.
Analysis of the conflict management strategy In the past years, company has been using the competing style. Using force to pressurize and intimidate employees only goes to calm down the conflict, which will later on show up in the future. This explains why although the conflicts are being resolved they still show up sometime in the future. Pro (competing strategy) Cons (Competing strategy) It brings the spirit of competition among employees as a means of solving problems and achieving success. Team leaders are able to strategically use their competitive energy and skills for personal and professional benefits.
Through these, employees are able to achieve their goals by being better than their leagues or the companies external competitors It can lead to misuse of power, fraudulent acts and unethical or illegal activity as we have seen in political events shown over the news. There is no much consideration for feeling, views goods of employees within the company as a result of this strategy. The goal here is always to win or succeed in achieving ones desired outcome when cited against that of another employee. Avoiding conflict also accounts for one of the techniques use.
A traditional proverb has it that, “he that fights and run away, may live to fight another day”. Avoiding inflict has been one of the reasons why some of these conflicts show up later on in the future. Avoiding conflict shows a feeling of powerlessness, indifference to results, resignation and one party taking what the other party is willing to offer. Pro (avoidance) Cons (avoidance) Avoiding conflict helps to resolve a conflict when there is no opportunity to constructively address the problem. It gives the opportunity to buy time, while allowing angry people to cool down, so that tensions can be reduced.
It allows for appropriate parties to take the right decision It can put parties in a lose/ SSE relationship It makes one low in assertiveness and in cooperation It’s a poor leadership skill for team leaders who have been using these style to resolve conflict for it shows signs of being powerless Conflicts are not fully resolved within the company Alternative conflict management strategy for the company In other to fully resolve conflicts, all negotiation strategies should be taken into consideration. Before this is done, employees involve in a conflict should be able to communicate with each other.
Communication: Conflict cannot be fully discussed without linking it to communication. Hooker and Willow (1985, P. 20) state that ‘Communication is central element in all interpersonal conflict’. Blake and Mouton (1984) Communication permits us to get causes but the cause is not in communication. Communication is the first place to start, taking into consideration that it has a crucial role to play in bringing parties together. Effective communication will help to eliminate misunderstanding and bring employees in understanding their respective roles and responsibility.
Through effective communication, employees will be able to air out their personality differences. Setting up a medium through which their differences and complains can be channeled is very essential for the company. Negotiation: Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise. Conflict and Negotiation sometimes do exist together, especially when both parties can come into terms with one another. With parties being able to negotiate to a common term, the integrative or collaborative/problem technique is the best strategy to adopt here.
Integrative bargaining or negotiation is a win – win cooperative, collaborative negotiation where parties negotiate so that each party’s objectives are met. In these way conflicts are fully resolved. In using the integrative negotiation style, parties should focus on the context and process of negotiation in other to get the cooperation and commitment from all parties. The process to be followed when using this technique include; A) There should be free flow of information. B) There should be an understanding of real needs and objectives of employees.
C) Giving more importance to employee’s common interests rather than on their differences and employing cooperative behaviors intended to pursue mutually favorable resolutions for all. Integrative management implies an attempt to come to the best or at least an acceptable elution for all parties to a conflict. Collaboration/cooperative(characteristics) pros Cons It involves high cooperation as well as high level of assertiveness by parties involved in a conflict. Incorporates multiple view points and insights from differing perspectives; leads to consensus and commitment It leads to a win/win outcome.
It is preferred when the issues are very complex, the parties involve have mutual trust and are open. It identifies each parties objectives, finding common interest and strategies to develop trust. Personal relationship between employees can improve because both parties care for ACH other. Parties walk away from a conflict feeling satisfied and positive. This style finds the root to a problem such as personal conflicts and attends to all situations in the least to mention from communicating face-to-face, gathering information, dialogue, negotiating, team building, having focused group discussions and searching for alternatives.
It requires plenty of time to share information. There is a chance that the other party can use the information shared to their advantage. The win/win model is possibly the most useful and it contains the most elements in resolving conflicts. These can be illustrated in the diagram below You in the diagram can’t successfully negotiate aggressively unless the other party capitulates. Similarly, the other party in the diagram can’t negotiate aggressively successfully unless you capitulate.
In between these two extremes that suit only one of the parties is an area model called win-win. It’s where the parties work together to achieve mutually advantageous outcomes. Compromising(characteristics) Compromising style searches for and bargains for solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties involved in a conflict. Provides definitive resolution. Everybody agrees to do their part to solve conflict Seceding personal ambitions, compromising may not work at all if the demands are too great for an employee or all parties to agree.
Accommodation(characteristics) Accommodation technique involves high cooperation as well as little level of assertiveness by parties involve in a conflict. When you recognize that the fight isn’t over, you give in and the conflict is over quickly. It is both assertive and cooperative, concentrating on appeasement. It encourages a lot of self-sacrifice, yielding to the other party and acquiescing. One party involved in the conflict basically gives in to another’s concern without trying to achieve one’s own.
Some parties to a conflict have to take off their demands on others, which may not benefit the accommodating parties but it settles the conflict. It provides only short-term solutions. The disadvantages of accommodating people during conflict are that one side doesn’t get their point across and problems affecting them might continue in the future to come Conflict management action plan Based on my findings as earlier mentioned, the implementation of a conflict management plan will help to improve the conflict management process.
The table below outlines a proposed conflict management action plan for the company. Proposed Osaka Security Company Conflict Management plan of action 2014/2015 Recommendation Communication which is a major aspect in conflict resolutions should be at the focal point of the company conflict management process. Defining the roles and responsibility of employees in a clear and explicit manner should be taken into consideration when communicating their roles and responsibilities.
Although the competing approach is widely used in the company, it is appropriate to use it in tuitions where a quick decision and actions is needed, when the outcome is critical and cannot be compromise, when management believes that the action taken is the right one in resolving the conflict, when being right matters more than preserving the relationship with the other party, when important but unpopular rules or administering discipline and when implementing strategic change calls for confident and strong leadership skills.
Avoiding the conflict should be able to give the opportunity to buy time while allowing angry people to cool down, so that tensions can be reduced. It should allow for appropriate parties to take the right decision. Incorporating the use of other strategies in the conflict management strategies such as accommodation, compromising and collaborating will help to make the management process more flexible, problem solving and effective. Conclusion The management process though working seemed not to have been effective due to the type of strategies been used in the pass to resolve conflict.
Managers and team leaders should be able to incorporate other types of strategies in managing conflict within the company. This will successfully eliminate conflicts and resources allocated awards resolving conflict that’s show up every time would be saved for other purposes. The key to resolving conflict with a positive outcome includes looking for a win-win situation, cutting losses when necessary, formulating proactive conflict management strategies, using effective negotiation and communication and addressing employee’s personal differences.