Conflict Management

Introduction

Conflicts come as a result of disagreements. They are part of everyone’s life from childhood with parents, teenagers in school and usually carried on to the work place from home. The trends of business and organizational conflicts which are resulting into their breakdown and loss are an area that needs special attention to preserve and increase their profitability.

The solution to these problems is good management skills which can be implemented. This essay will discuss the conflicts between management and employees in organizations. It will include the eight strategies by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Smith in their book, “Resolving Conflicts at work: Strategies for everyone on the job.”

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The process involves, “organizational change, managing change, change implementation, multicultural, change resistance, readiness for change, coping with change, communication, involvement, middle management, case study, change factors, intercultural management and involving change agents” (Savolaien, 2011, p. 1).

Causes of Conflict

The process of conflict management in organizations requires determination and participation of two parties, employees and the management.

In this essay leadership skills in management are emphasized to create efficiency. Poor communication within the work place where those employed are never involved or asked of their opinion is one source of conflict. This causes the employees not to rely on the employer but rather on the gossip.

Employees need a good working environment with adequate working equipment; with each employee’s work clearly defined. Failure of management to provide appropriate working conditions may lead to disagreement between the employees. The employees should also learn to understand each other, with respect while appreciating their work and personality.

This builds a strong team. If the leadership fails by being unfair or having poor values in an organization or business, this would be another source of conflict. To enhance harmony and team work the above factors must be put at the right place by the management (McNamara, n.d.).

Change the Culture and Context of the Conflict

National culture affects organizations. For an organization to grow it must keep on changing the old ways so as remain competitive. A problem in leadership management may be in form of failure of leaders to have adequate information on the business; thus lowering their competitiveness.

If employees complain of the problems in the working place without supervisors addressing the issue, the conflict continues to build pressure. The work and procedures of the business activities have an influence by values from the community (Cloke & Goldsmith 2005).

The cultures of societies are characterized by conflicts which come from various circles that shape our behaviors e.g. racism and economic conflicts (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2005). The beliefs of the people are usually taken to the organization. This is what brings differences between different countries with the same type of business organizations.

From research, it became clear that culture has an influence on organizations implying that there will be a great difference between organizations established in different places.

Failure of supervisors to involve other employees in decision making may bring conflict. This however may be as a result of the culture of the local people. The supervisors who like the way operations are run and not willing to change can be a hindrance to solving any problem.

To change the culture and involve the employees, while insisting on open communication and flexibility is a good way forward in solving organizational conflicts. The organization should decide to change, by implementing the changing strategies of their conflict approach (Savvolaien, 2011).

Listen Actively and Responsibly

Communication is vital in every organization. Employees can bring success of the business. Satisfaction of the employees motivates them to have a greater output. Management concern about them will help them to have confidence in what they do. Listening to the employees is one of the greatest virtues that a manager can do to promote higher output of the employee (Business, 2010).

Openness of employees to management would help the managers to always get first hand information in most cases whether good or bad. Being clear on expectations of employees on their work enables them to avoid any confusion. This helps employees to become more responsible. Guidance in their work builds confidence in their work and helps increase their efficiency (Business, 2010).

Acknowledge and integrate emotions to solve problems

After listening to the employees, the manager should have in mind that the employees are meant to implement the plan for change. Appreciating information given by employees help them to respond positively to the strategy that is laid in place. The manager should design a strategy that helps the employees to fulfill their needs as they promote growth of business organization.

Visiting the employees at their working place is the starting place to promote openness. It is important that a manager should know how they feel about the work and what they wish the management could do for them.

A manager should be keen to evaluate performance of employees. It is recommended for managers to discuss with their employees regarding their goals and hear their views and how they feel about their progress. Furthermore, the employer should be empathetic to the employees and should be concerned of any problem with their employees (Business, 2010).

Search beneath the surface for hidden meaning

Conflicts cause people to act against their wishes. For example people may speak and act against what they think. This is because of thinking that there may be no solution to the problem encountered. “Conflict processes dark, hypnotic, destructive power: the power of attachment when it is time to leave…” (Cloke & Goldsmith 2005, p. 21).

This means that management should work from the grassroots to solve any problem and not just superficially. Knowing the root cause of the problem helps in effective planning as one realizes, “ If you listen closely, you will discover that beneath every insult and accusation lies a confession, and beneath every confession lies a request” (Cloke & Goldsmith 2005, p. 8).

This helps in building mutual trust and respect. This relationship can only be build by having effective communication between the employees and the management (Business, 2010).

Separate what matters from what gets in the way

The concern of management should focus on the future. Unnecessary questions on who was right or wrong should not come between the management and employees. This means the management should keep focus on the solution to the problem but not concentrating on non beneficial arguments (Perkins, 2010).

Stop rewarding and learn from difficult behavior

The action taken by management to solve a conflict between employees should always seek the best and just action. Managers should speak straight to the point; to the person who causes a conflict. Those who fail to do right after repeated counsel should be fired and leave the rest of the workers with peace.

Listening to employees gives direction to deal with the opponents, by stopping to reward them and learning from their difficult behaviors (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2005). This means seeking for new strategies to deal with the opponents so as to stop rewarding them. Failure to plan and apply new strategies to solve problems makes the conflict to have deep roots in the organization as well as creating a bad culture (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2005).

Solve Problems creatively, plan strategically, and negotiate collaboratively

To manage conflicts in an organization, management should have clear values, vision, mission and objectives. Seeing opportunities to solve the problems; with a positive attitude assists in effective implementation. It requires a lot of effort to deal with an opposition.

The management should therefore work so as to reach a certain goal of an agreement or disagreement (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2005). This means they should have a plan of talking to the employees as well as the necessary action to the opponent employee with fairness and justice.

Explore resistance, mediate, and design systems for prevention

Conflict management means dealing with the conflict till the end of it. If any resistance is seen in the process of solving a conflict it is a good opportunity to dismiss fears of employees. It is an indication of dissatisfaction; probably they were not included in the implementation or they were not involved in the process. If employees feel they had been undermined, they can bring resistance. Thus, communication remains paramount in the whole process of solving a problem (Nermin, 2011).

Conclusion

Business organizations will always encounter conflict from one time to another. Employees and management culture can be a hindrance to conflict management. Culture should therefore be considered in the planning of resolving any conflict. Managers should enhance transparency in their organizations and good leadership skills in conflict management. This would result in justice as well as the growth of business organization.

References

Business . (2010). How to actively listen to your employees. Retrieved on 1st June 2011from: http://www.businessknowledgesource.com/blog/how_to_actively_listen_to_your_employees_025614.html

Cloke, K & Goldsmith, J. (2005). Resolving conflicts at work: eight strategies for everyone on the job. New York, NY: John Wiley and sons.

McNamara, C. (n.d). Basics of Conflict Management. Retrieved on 1st June 2011 from: http://managementhelp.org/intrpsnl/basics.htm

Nermin, A. (2011). Enhance Your Leadership Skills- Build Trust & Resolve Conflict. Retrieved on 1st June 2011from: http://www.becomeanengagedemployee.com/2011/05/enhance-your-leadership-skills-build-trust-resolve-conflicts/

Perkins, K. (2010). Proactive Steps to turn around workplace disputes. Retrieved on 1st June 2011 form: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/articles/23996/1/Proactive-steps-to-turn-around-workplace-disputes/Page1.html#http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/articles/23996/1/Proactive-steps-to-turn-around-workplace-disputes/Page1.html#

Savolaien, T. (2011). Challenges of Intercultural Management. Change Implementation in The Context of National Culture. Retrieved on 1st June 2011from: http://uef.academia.edu/TainaSavolainen/Papers/398527/Challenges_of_Intercultural_Management_Change_Implementation_In_the_Context_of_National_Culture