Monday, April 23, 2012

Memo on Financial Leverage

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Dispute Resolution Paper

Workshop #4

It is commonplace for organizations today to work in teams. Whether they are leader-driven teams or self-directed teams; the hope is that productivity, creativity, and results will be greater in a team environment. While this is a proven approach, any time you bring together people from differing backgrounds and experiences, it is inevitable that conflict will occur. Many people and organizations view conflict as a negative, or something to be avoided. Conflict, differences, or disagreements are a natural result of people working together. The following will describe a workplace dispute and I will apply various theories and assessments tools for resolving conflict.

A potential workplace conflict can result from something as simple as team members who do not listen to each other and tend to internalize things on a personal level. An example of this type of conflict occurred when I worked for an advertising/public relations agency. The agency I was employed with was competing for the Nissan automobile account. Nissan wanted to implement a marketing plan geared towards African-American consumers. During the brainstorming session, my team members and I researched the demographics (between the ages of -4, college graduate, listen to urban music, hobbies include movies, theatre, reading sports and traveling) of this particular consumer.

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A conflict became apparent when one of the team members mentioned that the consumers could not possibly be college educated, simply because they listened to “urban music”. This particular statement sounded racist at first because it implied that people who listen to “urban music” more than likely would not be a college graduate. There were quite a few individuals in the group who regularly listen to R&B and rap music and graduated from college. The team member who made the statement became embarrassed not because of the statement he made, but how the statement was perceived. He tried his very best to explain his statement, but he was unable to explain to the team members who were deeply offended by his statement.

This situation resulted in an emotional conflict, which is personal, defensive and resentful (Leigh Thompson, Eileen Aranda, Stephen P. Robbins and others 000). This type of conflict usually centers on personality clashes, ego, personal friction anger and tension. The negative outcomes that occurred were that some people felt defeated and demeaned, the distance between people increased, a climate of mistrust and suspicion aroused, individuals focus on their own narrow interests and resistance rather than teamwork developed.

In management, individuals usually tend to use five styles for dealing with conflict. They are 1) avoidance, ) accommodation, ) compromise, 4) forcing and 5) collaboration (Judith R. Gordon 187).

When people withdraw or avoid from a situation they act in a manner that does not satisfy their own or the other party’s concerns. This strategy may work best when people face trivial challenges and do not have a chance to satisfy their own personal concerns. One of two things may occur, as a result of the conflict communication may breakdown completely between the two individuals or parties or an outside party may resolve the conflict effectively.

People who use the accommodation strategy tend to demonstrate a willingness to cooperate in satisfying the concerns of others, while at the same time forgetting their own personal needs. They tend to smooth over conflict. This strategy may help to build social alliances for upcoming issues, creates an atmosphere of harmony and satisfies others.

The art of compromise is a strategy that shows a balance between assertiveness and cooperation. It may include sharing each other’s perceptions by putting themselves in someone else “shoes”. This may help each party to gain a better understanding of how and why they feel a certain way. It works well when goals are important, such a meeting a client’s needs on a project, but not more important than the individual or group as a whole. When two parties share equal responsibility, such as in the team group, or when significant time pressure exists, this strategy may be readily utilized.

There are times when one party may try to compete strongly with another party and makes an effortless attempt to satisfy the other’s concerns. In competition one party exerts his own individual concerns without any consideration to others. This strategy may work in emergency situations, on situations that may call for unpopular actions, or in cases where on e party has greater authority over the other. In general, when one uses this strategy they are in fact forcing their beliefs on others.

The collaborating strategy emphasizes problem solving with a goal of maximizing satisfaction for both parties. Each party will demonstrate both assertive and cooperative behavior. Both parties will see conflict as being natural, showing trust and honesty toward others, and encouraging the sharing of attitudes and feelings. This strategy is useful when the objective is to learn, use information from other sources and to find a collaborative solution.

The desired outcome of this conflict would be for both parties to listen to each other. The team members who were offended by the statement should express openly how they feel. Especially if they felt that the comment was racial and not based on any concrete evidence. The person who made the comment should be allowed to express why he made that statement and explain how he feels about the way in which it was perceived. This will allow both parties to “step in to each others”.

One scenario is that the team member who made the comment is unwilling to discuss the other party’s viewpoints. This is in direct conflict with the collaborating strategy and is a challenge. Another scenario would be if the party who made the comment tried to force his authority on others. This would be another challenge to the strategy.

Conflict usually arises when working in teams. Some conflicts are viewed as negative, but some can be positive. Anytime there are individuals with various backgrounds and differing opinions, there is bound to be some conflict. There are various tools for assessments than can be utilized for conflicts. The five styles discussed previously are used for dealing with conflicts. Disputes can be resolved if these assessment tools are utilized.


Judith R. Gordon (187). A Diagnostic Approach To Organizational Behavior; Allyn

and Bacon, Inc.

Leigh Thompson, Eileen Aranda, Stephen P. Robbins and others (000). Pearson

Custom Publishing

George H. T. Thompson. The Role of Top Management Team Conflict. A Redistribution of Power? Retrieved February 5, 00

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