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Conflict is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has or about to negatively affects something that the first party cares about. In organization, conflict can be regarded as a reality of management and organizational behavior and can be related to power and politics. It can also be define as an interactive process manifested in incompatibility, disagreement or dissonance within or between social entitles in an individual, group or organization. Conflicts can be occurs when one parties blocks the goal of achievement of another and become aware of the incompatibility. (Organizational behavior, concept, controversies and applications, fifth edition, Stephen P. Robbin, pg. 428) As for attitudes, the conflicting parties might develop a dislike for each other as unreasonable and develop negative stereotypes of their opposites. (Organizational behavior, understanding and managing life at work, eighth edition, Gary johns, pg. 426) Sometimes, conflicts are always bad for a company. It might help to encourage new solutions to problems and enhance creativity for the company.
Definition of negotiations
Negotiation is the process of making joint decision when the parties involved have different preferences. It can be a way of getting what you want from others in the process of making decisions. (Negotiation, definition and types, manager's issues in negotiation, cultural differences and the negotiation process, micharl mehnert, pg.2) For example, when a job applicant negotiate for starting salaries, employees negotiate for better job assignments and people with sick kids negotiate to leave job early. In this situation, it is an attempt to either prevent conflict or resolve existing conflicts. (Organizational behavior, understanding and managing life at work, eighth edition, Gary johns, pg. 431)
Definition of culture
Culture is an essential part in internal analysis. It is powerful enough to promote or hinder the implementation of strategy an intended purpose. Culture is the collection of values, beliefs, behaviors, customs and attitudes that distinguish one society from another. Everyone will have different culture because we growth in different environment and education. We learn behavior from one member of a society to another for example; parents teach their children table manners. There are few type elements of culture which every business will face when doing business with others especially for those companies who are doing international business.
The main element of culture was language. As language is an important means by which a society's members communication with each other, we must understand their language culture when doing a business with other parties so that we would not misunderstand their meaning. In the other hand, culture difficulty is also most of the international business will face. Words may have different meanings to person with diverse culture background. Religion is also another element of culture. It refers to a specific set of beliefs and practices regarding the spiritual realm. Understanding religions may help to understand how religion affects business practices.
Types of conflicts
There are two types of conflicts which are functional and dysfunctional conflicts.
Functional conflict is a situation in which there is a disagreement between people or group who has different opinions that benefits the organization's performance. People who involve in this type of conflicts are willing to help one another to solve problem and they will be willing to listen to other members even they have their own ideas. There are a lot of advantages that can bring to an organization on these types of conflicts. It not only can lead positive change for the organization, it also can improve the working relationships and team performance of employees. As in functional conflict, they will spread out all their knowledge and develop a better awareness of themselves, in the other hand group members can get to learn a lot of new ideas.
Dysfunctional conflict was an opposite with functional conflict, the people involve are not willing to work together with one another to solve problems. Dysfunctional conflict is a confrontation or interaction between groups that harms the organization or hinders the achievement of organization goals. People in this types of conflict normally only will focus on the conflict itself and the parties involved. Normally it will happen to high-profile conflicts situation. In this situation, they even will come out some threat, deception and verbal abuse to other parties when having conflicts. Management will always try to eliminate this conflict mode as it is not good.
Level of conflicts
There are four levels of conflicts which are intrapersonal conflicts, interpersonal conflicts, intergroup conflicts and inter-organizational conflicts.
Intrapersonal conflict is an actual or perceived pressure from incompatible goals or expectations. It is an internal struggle within an individual. There are three situations of intrapersonal conflicts which are approach-approach conflict, avoidance-avoidance conflicts and approach-avoidance conflicts. Approach-approach conflict is a conflict between two positive goals. (Corporate conflict management, concepts and skills,Eirene Leela Rout, 2007, pg.28) It will occur when an individual has to choose between two attractive. For instance, when a person apply for two jobs that having same job scopes and the company offer him in the same time, he or she have to choose either one of it. Besides, avoidance-avoidance conflict involves a choice between two equal unattractive options. The person has to decide one of them even they are in two negative goals. (Corporate conflict management, concepts and skills,Eirene Leela Rout, 2007, pg.29) For instance, a guy wishes to work as an insurance agent but before that, he has to take a test for his license. Even he do not like it, he still have to take it or else he cannot be an insurance agent. Lastly, approach-avoidance conflict will happen when an individual have to decide whether to approach or avoid a particular goal that are having both negative and positive quality. (Corporate conflict management, concepts and skills,Eirene Leela Rout, 2007, pg.30) This is a very common situation as many goals will have mixed outcomes for an individual. For instance, a student may choose a course that he or she likes that give job assurance after they complete the course. They might find some subjects or syllabus that they do not interest with it.
Interpersonal conflict is a process that occurs when one person, group or an organizational subunit frustrates the goal attainment of another. (Organizational behavior, understanding and managing life at work, eighth edition, Gary johns, pg. 426) It is a natural outcome of human interaction because everyone will have their own attitudes, behaviors and preferred goals. Lack of clarity understanding expectations, misunderstanding and unclear performance expectations may easily intensify interpersonal conflicts and undermine sustainability of healthy relationships. (Organizational behavior in health care, second edition, Nancy Borkowski, pg.290)
Intergroup conflicts will occur among members of different teams or groups. It is a very common conflict when a team or group works together. Due to everyone will have different ideas, they will have opposition and clashes when they having discussion. Intergroup conflict can become complicated when members of a single group hold varying views about the conflicts. (Organizational communication, approaches and process, fifth edition, Katherine miller, pg. 161)
Inter-organizational conflicts will normally happen in competition and rivalry that characterize firm operating in the same markets, between unions and organizations employing their members, between government regulatory agencies and organizations subject to their surveillance and between organizations and suppliers of raw materials. The more interesting inter-organizational conflicts may be those among organizations that are working together, perhaps in joint operating agreements or community consortiums. It is particularly stressful because they have to understand the needs of both insiders and outsiders of the organizational who are negotiating with them. (Organizational communication, approaches and process, fifth edition, Katherine miller, pg. 161)
Definition of organizational culture
Organizational culture is a common perception held by the organization's member. (Organizational behavior, concept, controversies and applications, fifth edition, Stephen P. Robbin, pg. 572) Although people may not be aware consciously of culture, it still has a pervasive influence over their behavior and actions. (Management an organizational behavior, laurie J.Mullins, pg.891) Culture of an organization is also often likened to the personality of an individual. Different organization will have different organizational culture. It included share beliefs, values and assumptions that exist in an organization. A strong and healthy culture would be where organization can have growth and active changefulness with innovativeness and problem-solving adequacy. (Organizational culture and performance, R.K.Dwivedi, first published 1995,pg.9)
Change management - Kurt Lewin Model
Psychologist Kurt Lewin Model is one of the most influential thinkers in an organization development. He argued that organizations typically include a mixture of forces change and forces resisting change. (pg. 124, organizational behavior and change management, select knowledge, university of Cambridge, Margaret Sinclair-Hunt) Every organization will face change most of the time due to internal or external sources of pressure. Sometimes change can be good for a company for instance when they having a goal that not so useful and change to a new goal which can help more to the organization. Apart of that, change can also be provoked by forces like low productivity, conflicts and absenteeism. This may cost employees job satisfaction or even will effect to the organization profits. In this change model, it helps organization to understand the process in one change makers for easier progress in a future change. Changes involved a sequence of organizational events or a psychological process that occurs over time. (Organizational behavior, understanding and managing life at work, eighth edition, Gary johns, pg. 534)
In the Kurt Lewin model, it able to use for all types of change and it provide a lot of evaluating progress towards the change. He suggested that this sequence or process involves three basic stages which are unfreezing, change and freezing. On the stage unfreezing, it is about members getting ready to the change and understands the change to move away from the current ways. It normally occurs when organization realizes that current ways do not help for the company or they dissatisfy with it. Some conditions like crisis or unexpected strike will force organization to move in this stage too. Managers will often predict the problems and to start changing it before crisis happen.
On the next stage, change will occurs when the plan has implemented to move the organization to satisfaction stage. Due to this stage will have a lot of new things that employees haven make use with it, manager should provide them some training or coaching on what had changed to let employees understand the new ways and make use with it. But of course, need time for it and mistake will appear. On the last stage, refreezing will be occurs after the change of new development. It must be a long-term part for an organization and managers must make sure that all the change are used all time and they are incorporated into everyday business. On this stage, it will show is the change useful of the organization. (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_94.ht, viewed at 31st October 2012, lewin's change management model)
Culture and conflicts
Handy four dimensions and Thomas Kilmen Model
Handy's four dimensions of organizational cultures classified into four major types which is power culture, role culture, task culture and person culture. He points out that these types of organizational culture are usually tied to particular structure and design of an organization. Every organization will have different culture, especially in a large business. It even can have a mix cultures in a same department. This is because people wish to enjoy their work in different types of organizational culture. They will feel satisfy with their job if they like the organization culture.
In power culture, Handy definite power culture by using a spider's web. He put all important spiders sitting in the centre. The closer you are to the spider, the more influence you have. Power culture can usually found in small organizations or family-manage business. (intergrated management, 2009 edition, CIMA, Oxford, pg.98) Who are in power culture normally have more power orientated and politically minded, they able to take risk and do not rate security highly. These types of culture can be change easily due to it is adaptable, informal and decision-making is quick. Nonetheless, size is a problem for power culture. For instance, Franchise.
In addition, Handy used a building supported by columns and beams to describe role culture. These organizations that use role culture have consistent system and are very predictable. It main power source was position, likewise the rules and produces are the main methods of influence. The work of the functional areas and the interactions between them are controlled by rules and procedures for instance, government rules. Role will find it more difficult to adapt the change compare to power culture. Organizations that using role culture needs an expert power because the power will derives from the personal position.
Besides, task culture is job-or project-oriented, Handy definite it by using a net. It usually happen when the organization have a project. In task culture, those people who are highly skilled and specialized in their own area of expertise will group together for a projectIt can be a difficulty for an organization to control because everyone will have different ideas.Lastly, person culture is also known as support culture. Not every organization can exist or produce person culture because not every individual will feel that he or she is the best. It is an unusual culture. The organization would have a person culture when appear group of people decide that it is in their own interests to band together to do their own thing.
Moreover, Thomas-Kilemann Models is a conflict mode which included avoiding, accommodating, competing, compromising and collaborating. These approaches to managing conflict are a function of both how assertive and how cooperative you are in trying to satisfy.
Avoiding is a conflict management style characterized by low assertiveness of one's own interests and low cooperation with the other party. (Organizational behavior, understanding and managing life at work, eighth edition, Gary johns, pg. 430) Some people definite it as ''hiding the head in the sand'' response. This is because avoiding takes place when a person put the problems on hold or withdrawal the conflicts. Their goal is to delay. Before applying avoiding approve to conflicts, the projects or program manager should determine it whether the issue it is possible to delay and will it be a risk if hold on it. They must clearly know if they delay it will it be influence to the next steps of decisions.
Accommodation is the willingness of one party in a conflict to place his or her opponent's interests above his or her own. (Organizational behavior, concept, controversies and applications, fifth edition, Stephen P. Robbin, pg. 436) It also known as smoothing. In accommodation, it has low concern with personal goals but high concern with relationships. The person who is accommodation will cooperate with other party rather than asserting its own interests. Normally their goal is to meet the needs of the other person.
In addition, competing in Thomas-Kilmann model has high concern personal goals but low concern with relationship. It is an approach which identified with win-lose intention or with forcing behavior to win one's position. In competing, people will not concern for the other party opinions, they expect a competitive mode of bargaining. An individual will choose this approach when fighting for a principle at any cost and managers will use this mode when a quick and decisive action is needed.
Next, compromising is in moderate concern for both personal goals and relationships which works well in situation in temporary agreements that needed to reach quickly. This approach will occurs when the have an interest in achieving a particular outcome but not to a point where they are willing to invest the time or effort to fully collaborate or compete. It is more on short-term solutions. The people in this approach believe that continued disagreement is more costly than compromising.
Lastly, collaborating has high personal goals and relationships. It is a situation where the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concern of all parties. (Organizational behavior, concept, controversies and applications, fifth edition, Stephen P. Robbin, pg. 435) Collaborating approve is a problem-solving rather than problem-generating. It is a win-win approach to resolving conflicts whereby other parties may take advantages of this conflicts resolution.
Change management and conflicts management
As mention earlier, change will be happen in every organization due to internal or external forces. Organization must have good management of change for employees because change can lead to conflicts. Although changes in an organization are to have a better goals and objectives but employees might need time to make use with it.
Conflicts can be a natural part of life which will happen to an individual or an organization. There are few types of conflicts which may occur in a business which are task conflicts, relationship conflicts and process conflicts. Task conflicts will happen over content and goals of the work within a group or team. Conflicts will happen because members have different opinions on the goals. They will fight for their own point of view, objectives and goals. In the other hand, relationship conflicts will always happen on interpersonal relationships, it also known as personality clashes. It is very common to see this kind of conflict in a big organization. Racist is one of the examples with it. Process conflict is conflict over how works get done. It involves argument on how work should be organized and accomplished. For instance, when a group of people discussing about projects.
Moreover, conflicts will also happen when an organization change something new. As all the employees had makes use with the old goals they do not use with the new goals of way by doing their works. Conflicts will also happen when members could not find the same common values on the new goals so that they will not cooperate with it. Organization should provide enough training for them to prevent them to have productivity gaps comfortably. In the other hand, conflicts can also be occurs when change in leadership. Employees might feel dissatisfaction with the new leader style as they have to change from the old style of doing things to follow the new leadership. Leadership or managers should have good communication and relationship with employees so that they will understand the purpose of your goals and they will follow it.
Change is often harder for employees to adopt as they need times to make use with the new change. It is very important for manager to solve conflicts between employees. When changing of something new, manager should list out clearly on what is the purpose of changing. Managers must inform who will be participating in the change process and provide knowledge to guide them for the change process.
Apart of that, different culture background can also be a reason why conflicts occur. As mention earlier in definition of culture, everyone will have different culture as we grown up in different environment and education is different. In the same time, their attitudes will be different too. Sometimes people might feel that some attitudes are actually not really serious but the other parties might feel different. Different culture will have different style of doing business. Because of this, conflicts will always happen when each other works together in a same project.