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TOPIC: types of conflict individuals at work
TYPE: Essay (any type)
: 03.04.2017 13:30
What are some of the types of conflict individuals may experience at work? Using concepts from the Chapters and supplemental readings â€“ choose one of the following and elaborate â€“ including personal experience, if applicable: ï‚· Emotional contagion ï‚· Bullies in the workplace ï‚· Common outcomes of conflict â€“ positive and/or negative Elaborate and explain using concepts from the chapters covered to date and supplemental reading assignments and resources. Basic information: ï‚· Each paper must be at least 3-5 pages in length ï‚· Double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font, standard margins, black ink ï‚· No cover pages, no folders ï‚· Name, date and topic must be included in the heading at the top of the first page, staple the pages together ï‚· Each paper is due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated ï‚· MLA Style formatting preferred (including 1â€ margins) ï‚· In paper citations and a bibliography are required Grading will be based upon: Criterion Novice (0-5 points) Competent (6-8 points) Proficient (9-10 points) Introduction Organization/Structural Development of the Idea General presentation of material Clarity of thought Use of evidence to support response and address topic Use of acceptable grammar, style, format Conclusion/closing comments Citation/bibliography 7.5 Emotions at Work Learning Objectives Understand Affective Events Theory. Understand the influence of emotions on attitudes and behaviors at work. Learn what emotional labor is and how it affects individuals. Learn what emotional intelligence is. Emotions Affect Attitudes and Behaviors at Work Emotions shape an individualâ€™s belief about the value of a job, a company, or a team. Emotions also affect behaviors at work. Research shows that individuals within your own inner circle are better able to recognize and understand your emotions. So, what is the connection between emotions, attitudes, and behaviors at work? This connection may be explained using a theory named Affective Events Theory (AET). Researchers Howard Weiss and Russell Cropanzano studied the effect of six major kinds of emotions in the workplace: anger, fear, joy, love, sadness, and surprise. Their theory argues that specific events on the job cause different kinds of people to feel different emotions. These emotions, in turn, inspire actions that can benefit or impede others at work. Figure 7.11 According to Affective Events Theory, six emotions are affected by events at work. For example, imagine that a coworker unexpectedly delivers your morning coffee to your desk. As a result of this pleasant, if unexpected experience, you may feel happy and surprised. If that coworker is your boss, you might feel proud as well. Studies have found that the positive feelings resulting from work experience may inspire you to do something you hadnâ€™t planned to do before. For instance, you might volunteer to help a colleague on a project you werenâ€™t planning to work on before. Your action would be an affect-driven behavior. Alternatively, if you were unfairly reprimanded by your manager, the negative emotions you experience may cause you to withdraw from work or to act mean toward a coworker. Over time, these tiny moments of emotion on the job can influence a personâ€™s job satisfaction. Although company perks and promotions can contribute to a personâ€™s happiness at work, satisfaction is not simply a result of this kind of â€œoutside-inâ€ reward system. Job satisfaction in the AET model comes from the inside-inâ€”from the combination of an individualâ€™s personality, small emotional experiences at work over time, beliefs, and affect-driven behaviors. Emotional Labor Negative emotions are common among workers in service industries. Part of a service employeeâ€™s job is projecting a certain image in the eyes of the public. Individuals in service industries are professional helpers. As such, they are expected to be upbeat, friendly, and polite at all times, which can be exhausting to accomplish in the long run. Even when they are having a bad day, they are expected to provide service with a smile. The result is a personaâ€”a professional role that involves acting out feelings that may not be real as part of their job. Emotional labor refers to the regulation of feelings and expressions for organizational purposes. Three major levels of emotional labor have been identified. Surface acting requires an individual to exhibit physical signs, such as smiling, that reflect emotions customers want to experience. A childrenâ€™s hairdresser cutting the hair of a crying toddler may smile and act sympathetic without actually feeling so. In this case, the person is engaged in surface acting. Deep acting takes surface acting one step further. This time, instead of faking an emotion that a customer may want to see, an employee will actively try to experience the emotion they are displaying. This genuine attempt at empathy helps align the emotions one is experiencing with the emotions one is displaying. The childrenâ€™s hairdresser may empathize with the toddler by imagining how stressful it must be for one so little to be constrained in a chair and be in an unfamiliar environment, and the hairdresser may genuinely begin to feel sad for the child. Genuine acting occurs when individuals are asked to display emotions that are aligned with their own. If a job requires genuine acting, less emotional labor is required because the actions are consistent with true feelings. Figure 7.12 When it comes to acting, the closer to the middle of the circle that your actions are, the less emotional labor your job demands. The further away, the more emotional labor the job demands. Research shows that surface acting is related to higher levels of stress and fewer felt positive emotions, while deep acting may lead to less stress. Emotional labor is particularly common in service industries that are also characterized by relatively low pay, which creates the added potentials for stress and feelings of being treated unfairly. Emotional laborers are required to display specific emotions as part of their jobs. Sometimes, these are emotions that the worker already feels. In that case, the strain of the emotional labor is minimal. For example, a funeral home director is generally expected to display sympathy for a familyâ€™s loss, and it is likely that this emotion will be genuine. But for people whose jobs require them to be professionally polite and cheerful, such as flight attendants, or to be serious and authoritative, such as police officers, the work of wearing oneâ€™s â€œgame faceâ€ can have effects that outlast the working day. To combat this, taking breaks can help surface actors to cope more effectively. In addition, researchers have found that greater autonomy is related to less strain for service workers in France as well as the United Sates. In contrast, for people who have a strong desire to be authentic (being true to themselves) in their interactions, faking one’s emotions was related to worse well-being. Cognitive dissonance is a term that refers to a mismatch among emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior, for example, believing that you should always be polite to a customer regardless of personal feelings, yet having just been rude to one. Youâ€™ll experience discomfort or stress unless you find a way to alleviate the dissonance. You can reduce the personal conflict by changing your behavior (trying harder to act polite), changing your belief (maybe itâ€™s OK to be a little less polite sometimes), or by adding a new fact that changes the importance of the previous facts (such as you will otherwise be laid off the next day). Although acting positive can make a person feel positive, emotional labor that involves a large degree of emotional or cognitive dissonance can be grueling, sometimes leading to negative health effects. Emotional Intelligence One way to manage the effects of emotional labor is by increasing your awareness of the gaps between real emotions and emotions that are required by your professional persona. â€œWhat am I feeling? And what do others feel?â€ These questions form the heart of emotional intelligence. The term was coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer and was popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman in a book of the same name. Emotional intelligence looks at how people can understand each other more completely by developing an increased awareness of their own and othersâ€™ emotions. There are four building blocks involved in developing a high level of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness exists when you are able to accurately perceive, evaluate, and display appropriate emotions. Self-management exists when you are able to direct your emotions in a positive way when needed. Social awareness exists when you are able to understand how others feel. Relationship management exists when you are able to help others manage their own emotions and truly establish supportive relationships with others. Figure 7.13 The four steps of emotional intelligence build upon one another. In the workplace, those high in emotional intelligence have been found to have higher self-efficacy in coping with adversity, perceive situations as challenges rather than threats, and have higher life satisfaction, which can all help lower stress levels. Key Takeaway Emotions affect attitudes and behaviors at work. Affective Events Theory can help explain these relationships. Emotional labor is higher when one is asked to act in a way that is inconsistent with personal feelings. Surface acting requires a high level of emotional labor. Emotional intelligence refers to understanding how others are reacting to our emotions. 10.4 Conflict Management Learning Objectives Understand different ways to manage conflict. Understand your own conflict communication and resolution style. Learn to stimulate conflict if needed. There are a number of different ways of managing organizational conflict, which are highlighted in this section. Conflict management refers to resolving disagreements effectively. Ways to Manage Conflict Change the Structure When structure is a cause of dysfunctional conflict, structural change can be the solution to resolving the conflict. If the conflict is at an intergroup level, such as between two departments, a structural solution could be to have those two departments report to the same executive, who could align their previously incompatible goals. When problems originate from a matrix structure in which an individual reports to multiple people, clearly defining the zone of authority for each manager may be useful. Change the Composition of the Team If the conflict is between team members, the easiest solution may be to change the composition of the team, separating the personalities that were at odds. In instances in which conflict is attributed to the widely different styles, values, and preferences of a small number of members, replacing some of these members may resolve the problem. If thatâ€™s not possible because everyoneâ€™s skills are needed on the team and substitutes arenâ€™t available, consider a physical layout solution. Research has shown that when known antagonists are seated directly across from each other, the amount of conflict increases. However, when they are seated side by side, the conflict tends to decrease. Create a Common Opposing Force Group conflict within an organization can be mitigated by focusing attention on a common enemy such as the competition. For example, two software groups may be vying against each other for marketing dollars, each wanting to maximize advertising money devoted to their product. But, by focusing attention on a competitor company, the groups may decide to work together to enhance the marketing effectiveness for the company as a whole. The â€œenemyâ€ need not be another companyâ€”it could be a concept, such as a recession, that unites previously warring departments to save jobs during a downturn. Consider Majority Rule Sometimes a group conflict can be resolved through majority rule. That is, group members take a vote, and the idea with the most votes is the one that gets implemented. The majority rule approach can work if the participants feel that the procedure is fair. It is important to keep in mind that this strategy will become ineffective if used repeatedly with the same members typically winning. Moreover, the approach should be used sparingly. It should follow a healthy discussion of the issues and points of contention, not be a substitute for that discussion. Problem Solve Problem solving is a common approach to resolving conflict. In problem-solving mode, the individuals or groups in conflict are asked to focus on the problem, not on each other, and to uncover the root cause of the problem. This approach recognizes the rarity of one side being completely right and the other being completely wrong. Consider the Role of Mood Research shows that negotiators in positive moods tend to be more cooperative and less likely to engage in conflict as well as even come to agreements that are more advantageous to all parties. It may be that being in a positive mood allows negotiators to engage in more creative problem solving. To the degree that this generalizes to other situations at work, creating a culture where positive mood is valued may help avoid conflict. Conflict-Handling Styles Individuals vary in the way that they handle conflicts. There are five common styles of handling conflicts. These styles can be mapped onto a grid that shows the varying degree of cooperation and assertiveness each style entails. Let us look at each in turn. Figure 10.5 Conflict-Handling Styles Avoidance The avoiding style is uncooperative and unassertive. People exhibiting this style seek to avoid conflict altogether by denying that it is there. They are prone to postponing any decisions in which a conflict may arise. People using this style may say things such as, â€œI donâ€™t really care if we work this out,â€ or â€œI donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any problem. I feel fine about how things are.â€ Conflict avoidance may be habitual to some people because of personality traits such as the need for affiliation. While conflict avoidance may not be a significant problem if the issue at hand is trivial, it becomes a problem when individuals avoid confronting important issues because of a dislike for conflict or a perceived inability to handle the other partyâ€™s reactions. Accommodation The accommodating style is cooperative and unassertive. In this style, the person gives in to what the other side wants, even if it means giving up oneâ€™s personal goals. People who use this style may fear speaking up for themselves or they may place a higher value on the relationship, believing that disagreeing with an idea might be hurtful to the other person. They will say things such as, â€œLetâ€™s do it your wayâ€ or â€œIf itâ€™s important to you, I can go along with it.â€ Accommodation may be an effective strategy if the issue at hand is more important to others compared to oneself. However, if a person perpetually uses this style, that individual may start to see that personal interests and well-being are neglected. Compromise The compromising style is a middle-ground style, in which individuals have some desire to express their own concerns and get their way but still respect the other personâ€™s goals. The compromiser may say things such as, â€œPerhaps I ought to reconsider my initial positionâ€ or â€œMaybe we can both agree to give in a little.â€ In a compromise, each person sacrifices something valuable to them. For example, in 2005 the luxurious Lanesborough Hotel in London advertised incorrect nightly rates for Â£35, as opposed to Â£350. When the hotel received a large number of online bookings at this rate, the initial reaction was to insist that customers cancel their reservations and book at the correct rate. The situation was about to lead to a public relations crisis. As a result, they agreed to book the rooms at the advertised price for a maximum of three nights, thereby limiting the damage to the hotelâ€™s bottom line as well as its reputation. Competition People exhibiting a competing style want to reach their goal or get their solution adopted regardless of what others say or how they feel. They are more interested in getting the outcome they want as opposed to keeping the other party happy, and they push for the deal they are interested in making. Competition may lead to poor relationships with others if one is always seeking to maximize their own outcomes at the expense of othersâ€™ well-being. This approach may be effective if one has strong moral objections to the alternatives or if the alternatives one is opposing are unethical or harmful. Collaboration The collaborating style is high on both assertiveness and cooperation. This is a strategy to use for achieving the best outcome from conflictâ€”both sides argue for their position, supporting it with facts and rationale while listening attentively to the other side. The objective is to find a winâ€“win solution to the problem in which both parties get what they want. Theyâ€™ll challenge points but not each other. Theyâ€™ll emphasize problem solving and integration of each otherâ€™s goals. For example, an employee who wants to complete an MBA program may have a conflict with management when he wants to reduce his work hours. Instead of taking opposing positions in which the employee defends his need to pursue his career goals while the manager emphasizes the companyâ€™s need for the employee, both parties may review alternatives to find an integrative solution. In the end, the employee may decide to pursue the degree while taking online classes, and the company may realize that paying for the employeeâ€™s tuition is a worthwhile investment. This may be a win-win solution to the problem in which no one gives up what is personally important, and every party gains something from the exchange. Which Style Is Best? Like much of organizational behavior, there is no one â€œright wayâ€ to deal with conflict. Much of the time it will depend on the situation. However, the collaborative style has the potential to be highly effective in many different situations. We do know that most individuals have a dominant style that they tend to use most frequently. Think of your friend who is always looking for a fight or your coworker who always backs down from a disagreement. Successful individuals are able to match their style to the situation. There are times when avoiding a conflict can be a great choice. For example, if a driver cuts you off in traffic, ignoring it and going on with your day is a good alternative to â€œroad rage.â€ However, if a colleague keeps claiming ownership of your ideas, it may be time for a confrontation. Allowing such intellectual plagiarism to continue could easily be more destructive to your career than confronting the individual. Research also shows that when it comes to dealing with conflict, managers prefer forcing, while their subordinates are more likely to engage in avoiding, accommodating, or compromising. It is also likely that individuals will respond similarly to the person engaging in conflict. For example, if one person is forcing, others are likely to respond with a forcing tactic as well. What If You Donâ€™t Have Enough Conflict Over Ideas? Part of effective conflict management is knowing when proper stimulation is necessary. Many people think that conflict is inherently badâ€”that it undermines goals or shows that a group or meeting is not running smoothly. In fact, if there is no conflict, it may mean that people are silencing themselves and withholding their opinions. The reality is that within meaningful group discussions there are usually varying opinions about the best course of action. If people are suppressing their opinions, the final result may not be the best solution. During healthy debates, people point out difficulties or weaknesses in a proposed alternative and can work together to solve them. The key to keeping the disagreement healthy is to keep the discussion focused on the task, not the personalities. For example, a comment such as â€œEnrique’s ideas have never worked before. I doubt his current idea will be any betterâ€ is not constructive. Instead, a comment such as â€œThis production step uses a degreaser thatâ€™s considered a hazardous material. Can we think of an alternative degreaser thatâ€™s nontoxic?â€ is more productive. It challenges the group to improve upon the existing idea. Traditionally, Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP was known as a â€œniceâ€ organization. Throughout its history, HP viewed itself as a scientific organization, and their culture valued teamwork and respect. But over time, HP learned that you can be â€œnice to death.â€ In fact, in the 1990s, HP found it difficult to partner with other organizations because of their culture differences. During role plays created to help HP managers be more dynamic, the trainers had to modify several role-plays, because participants simply said, â€œThat would never happen at HP,â€ over the smallest conflict. All this probably played a role in the discomfort many felt with Carly Fiorinaâ€™s style as CEO and the merger she orchestrated with Compaq Computer Corporation, which ultimately caused the board of directors to fire Fiorina. On the other hand, no one is calling HP â€œtoo niceâ€ anymore. OB Toolbox: How Can You Stimulate Conflict? Â© Thinkstock Encourage people to raise issues and disagree with you or the status quo without fear of reprisal. An issue festering beneath the surface, when brought out into the open, may turn out to be a minor issue that can be easily addressed and resolved. Assign a devilâ€™s advocate to stimulate alternative viewpoints. If a business unit is getting stagnant, bring in new people to â€œshake things up.â€ Create a competition among teams, offering a bonus to the team that comes up with the best solution to a problem. For example, have two product development teams compete on designing a new product. Or, reward the team that has the fewest customer complaints or achieves the highest customer satisfaction rating. Build some ambiguity into the process. When individuals are free to come up with their own ideas about how to complete a task, the outcome may be surprising, and it allows for more healthy disagreements along the way. Key Takeaway Conflict management techniques include changing organizational structures to avoid built-in conflict, changing team members, creating a common â€œenemy,â€ using majority rules, and problem solving. Conflict management styles include accommodating others, avoiding the conflict, collaborating, competing, and compromising. People tend to have a dominant style. At times it makes sense to build in some conflict over ideas if none exists. 10.3 Causes and Outcomes of Conflict Learning Objectives Understand different causes of conflict. Understand jobs at risk for conflict. Learn the outcomes of conflict. There are many potential root causes of conflict at work. Weâ€™ll go over six of them here. Remember, anything that leads to a disagreement can be a cause of conflict. Although conflict is common to organizations, some organizations have more than others. Figure 10.4 Potential Causes of Conflict Causes of Conflict Organizational Structure Conflict tends to take different forms, depending upon the organizational structure. For example, if a company uses a matrix structure as its organizational form, it will have decisional conflict built in, because the structure specifies that each manager report to two bosses. For example, the multinational power company with headquarters in Switzerland, ABB Ltd., is organized around the world in a matrix structure based on the dimensions of country and industry. This structure can lead to confusion as the company is divided geographically into 1,200 different units across 100 countries and by industry into 50 different units. Limited Resources Resources such as money, time, and equipment are often scarce. Competition among people or departments for limited resources is a frequent cause for conflict. For example, cutting-edge laptops and other devices are expensive resources that may be allocated to employees on a need-to-have basis in some companies. When a group of employees have access to such resources while others do not, conflict may arise among employees or between employees and management. While technical employees may feel that these devices are crucial to their productivity, employees with customer contact such as sales representatives may make the point that these devices are important for them to make a good impression to clients. Because important resources are often limited, this is one source of conflict many companies have to live with. Task Interdependence Another cause of conflict is task interdependence; that is, when accomplishment of your goal requires reliance on others to perform their tasks. For example, if youâ€™re tasked with creating advertising for your product, youâ€™re dependent on the creative team to design the words and layout, the photographer or videographer to create the visuals, the media buyer to purchase the advertising space, and so on. The completion of your goal (airing or publishing your ad) is dependent on others. Incompatible Goals Sometimes conflict arises when two parties think that their goals are mutually exclusive. Within an organization, incompatible goals often arise because of the different ways department managers are compensated. For example, a sales managerâ€™s bonus may be tied to how many sales are made for the company. As a result, the individual might be tempted to offer customers â€œfreebiesâ€ such as expedited delivery in order to make the sale. In contrast, a transportation managerâ€™s compensation may be based on how much money the company saves on transit. In this case, the goal might be to eliminate expedited delivery because it adds expense. The two will butt heads until the company resolves the conflict by changing the compensation scheme. For example, if the company assigns the bonus based on profitability of a sale, not just the dollar amount, the cost of the expediting would be subtracted from the value of the sale. It might still make sense to expedite the order if the sale is large enough, in which case both parties would support it. On the other hand, if the expediting negates the value of the sale, neither party would be in favor of the added expense. Personality Differences Personality differences among coworkers are common. By understanding some fundamental differences among the way people think and act, we can better understand how others see the world. Knowing that these differences are natural and normal lets us anticipate and mitigate interpersonal conflictâ€”itâ€™s often not about â€œyouâ€ but simply a different way of seeing and behaving. For example, Type A individuals have been found to have more conflicts with their coworkers than Type B individuals. Communication Problems Sometimes conflict arises simply out of a small, unintentional communication problem, such as lost e-mails or dealing with people who donâ€™t return phone calls. Giving feedback is also a case in which the best intentions can quickly escalate into a conflict situation. When communicating, focusing on behavior and its effects, rather than the person is one strategy that may prevent well-intentioned feedback from creating conflict. In a corporate example, the Hershey Company was engaged in talks behind closed doors with Cadbury Schweppes about a possible merger. No information about this deal was shared with Hersheyâ€™s major stakeholder, the Hershey Trust. When Robert Vowler, CEO of the Hershey Trust, discovered that talks were underway without anyone consulting the Trust, tensions between the major stakeholders began to rise. As Hershey continued to underperform, steps were taken in what is now called the â€œSunday night massacre,â€ in which several board members were forced to resign and Richard Lenny, Hersheyâ€™s then CEO, retired. This example shows how a lack of communication can lead to an escalation of conflict. Now, let’s turn our attention to the outcomes of conflict. Outcomes of Conflict One of the most common outcomes of conflict is that it upsets parties in the short run. However, conflict can have both positive and negative outcomes. On the positive side, conflict can result in greater creativity or better decisions. For example, as a result of a disagreement over a policy, a manager may learn from an employee that newer technologies help solve problems in an unanticipated new way. Positive outcomes include the following: Consideration of a broader range of ideas, resulting in a better, stronger idea Surfacing of assumptions that may be inaccurate Increased participation and creativity Clarification of individual views that build learning On the other hand, conflict can be dysfunctional if it is excessive or involves personal attacks or underhanded tactics. Examples of negative outcomes include the following: Increased stress and anxiety among individuals, which decreases productivity and satisfaction Feelings of being defeated and demeaned, which lowers individualsâ€™ morale and may increase turnover A climate of mistrust, which hinders the teamwork and cooperation necessary to get work done Is Your Job at Risk for Workplace Violence? You may be at increased risk for workplace violence if your job involves the following: Dealing With People Caring for others either emotionally or physically, such as at a nursing home. Interacting with frustrated customers, such as with retail sales. Supervising others, such as being a manager. Denying requests others make of you, such as with customer service. Being in High-Risk Situations Dealing with valuables or exchanging money, such as in banking. Handling weapons, such as in law enforcement. Working with drugs, alcohol, or those under the influence of them, such as bartending. Working nights or weekends, such as gas station attendants. Sources: Adapted from information in LeBlanc, M. M., & Kelloway, E. K. (2002). Predictors and outcomes of workplace violence and aggression. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 444â€“453; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (1997). Violence in the workplace. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/violfs.html; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2006). Workplace prevention strategies and research needs. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2006-144/. Given these negative outcomes, how can conflict be managed so that it does not become dysfunctional or even dangerous? Weâ€™ll explore this in the next section. Key Takeaway Conflict has many causes, including organizational structures, limitations on resources, task interdependence, goal incompatibility, personality differences, and communication challenges. Outcomes of well-managed conflict include increased participation and creativity, while negatives of poorly managed conflict include increased stress and anxiety. Jobs that deal with people are at higher risk for conflict. Book Organizational Behavior v2.0 Talya Bauer, Berrin Erdogan Chapter 10 and chapter 7