University of Phoenix
Team Dynamics for Managers
June 20, 2005
Negotiation in a democracy is key to the success of that democracy. At a lower level such as the corporate governance, negotiation is no less necessary for success. We constantly negotiate, manage, and resolve conflict throughout all of our professional and personal lives. The question remains as to whether the desired results through conflict are achieved at the end of the day.
Conflict Is Not All Bad Conflict management in the workplace is an issue that every leader, manager, or employee has to deal with at one time or another. The basics of conflict management include improving communication, teamwork, and a systematic approach to solving the disagreement. Conflict as defined by Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman is the process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party (1998, p. 362). This paper will identify conflict-managing approaches used in some organizations and touch upon the importance of leadership is the success of that endeavor.
Good Versus Bad Conflicts, whether they are negative or positive, will arise in organizations whenever interests collide and when these differences affect the relationship between interdependent people, they must be constructively managed (Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, p. 365). An example of conflict as a positive force is that the creation and resolution of conflict may lead the company to constructive problem solving. Other positive outcomes of conflict are, creative alternatives, increased motivation and commitment, high quality of work, and personal satisfaction (Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, p. 365). Just as workforce conflict can be a positive force, organizations have to deal with the negative side. For example, conflict may divert efforts from goal attainment or it may deplete resources such as time and money. Indeed, conflicting workplace ideas may lead to anger, tension, and anxiety. Deep and lasting conflicts that continue without conflict management may even lead to violence between employees and others (Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, p. 365). Therefore, it would be fair to say that conflict may sometimes be a benefit and at other times destructive. Company managers must be aware of the consequences of conflict. According to Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, some ways to manage conflict include: the “forcing style”, the “accommodating style”, the “compromising style”, and the “collaborating style”. The forcing style refers to “assertive and uncooperative behaviors and reflects a win-lose approach to interpersonal conflict” (Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, p. 374). The forcing style relies on coercive power and dominance to resolve the conflict. The accommodator tries to reduce tensions and stresses by reassurance and support (Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, p. 376). The compromising style refers to “behaviors at an intermediate level of cooperation and assertiveness” (p. 377). This style is based on give and take. The collaborating style refers to “strong cooperative and assertive behaviors. It is the win-win approach to interpersonal conflict handling” (Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman, p. 376). No matter the style being used, it is imperative to have strong leadership to accomplish whichever style.
Jex (2002), one issue that often comes up, particularly among those who work in organizations, is the distinction between management and leadership. A manager is typically defined as an individual who engages in traditional administrative behaviors such as planning, helping to organize the work of subordinates, and exerting control over their behavior. A leader, on the other hand, is a person who not only fulfills required administrative