Choosing Your Battles
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The conflict phenomenon has great role in all human life conditions, we can see the conflict among people, groups, organizations, and nations. World War I and II are best examples. Many organizations see the conflict as wasting of time and money, and should be avoid it. On the other hand, other organizations translate the conflict as important factor to great constrictive and high performance teams, by transforming the differences to functional conflict. There are many ways to manage the conflict between team members, according to Kinne (2000), we can ensure sufficient discussion between work group if we established a principle for discussion. The conflict can improve decision-making strategy, and the productive teams are the teams who can manage the conflict effectively (Eisenhardt, 1997). According to Thomas (1976), the managers can manage the conflict in the organization if they developed conflict literacy, measured conflict style, build conflict management, and involving top management, as key elements to control the conflict.
How Would You Ensure Sufficient Discussion Of Contentious Issues in a Work Group? How Can Managers Bring Unspoken Conflicts Into The Open Without Making Them Worse? According to Robbins & Judge, (2013), the group members have to feel safe psychologically to discuss the work issues (p, 427), the hesitation is another factor that hinders the individuals expressing their opinion. To ensure sufficient discussion among the group members and everyone has a chance to speak, we may need to divide the group into smaller units because of the individuals have less opportunity to participate in large groups. For instance, group members’ discus in pairs for limited time after that, expand it to four and compare their opinions. This method is a preparation for the general discussion (Kinne, 2000).
The discussion goal should be clear, encourage the group members to engage and sharing their opinions by asking them some questions for example, “what would you do if… ”, “How can we solve this problem…” “Can you be more specific about your idea”, “why do you think this is the best solution”, and summarizing the idea, to make sure we understand the participant (Kinne, 2000). The managers can bring unspoken conflict into the open without making them worse by establishing standards for discussion and make sure everyone follow the rules. The manager can ask the group members to suggest some of the norms, compare it, and make the change if necessary. There are some basic principles the managers need to organize to contain the conflict (Kinne, 2000). Principles For Discussion
1- Listen to the member who is speaking without interrupting. 2- One person can speak at a time, to make sure everyone listen to him/her. 3- The member should ask for the manager permission to speak by rising his hand. 4- When the member disagree with someone he should have a rational reasons. 5- Make sure that criticizing on idea not the persons.
6- Do not underestimate someone when he/she speaking, by laughing. 7- Encourage everyone to engage the discussion.
How Can Negotiators Utilize Conflict Management Strategies To Their Advantage So That Differences in Interests Lead Not To Dysfunctional Conflicts But Rather To Positive Integrative Solutions? The conflict in the organizations inevitable, according to Thomas (1976), the managers spending 18% to 26% of their time dealing with conflict, and that loosing time cost the organization many millions of dollars. The conflict in the organizations is not limited to tasks, the disagreement is another factor that generate the conflict. Key Elements
The organizations can make the conflict management as a strategic advantage, and the differences to functional conflict. By using key elements had been suggested by Thomas (1976). Developing conflict literacy. The people think that the conflict is fighting. The organization needs to establish rules to help people think clearly and effectively regarding the conflict, and make alternative ways to deal with the conflict. Measuring conflict styles. The organizations can’t improve their conflict management if they don’t have a clear idea of their conflict style, the measurement provides information for improvement. The information can be collected online, the organization can use the data to identify the conflict culture (Thomas, 1976).
Building conflict management
Choosing the right conflict mode. According to Thomas (1976), a research shows that collaborating is a strong factor to solve the complex problems, in negotiations, collaborating is more effective than other modes to reach the result win-win negotiations. Collaborating enhance the communication and build trust among individuals. Implementing a mode effectively. The collaborating is very important for the discussion quality, according to Thomas (1976), the individual need to learn key skills for collaborative problem solving by using “firm flexibility”. This strategy is useful when we are trying to find a collaborative solution but the other side trying to take advantage. Firm flexibility clarifies what we need to be firm about. Reducing the cost of mode. Negative consequences, and costs need to be reduced from the mode that we chose. According to Thomas (1976), managers whop lacks to conflict management skills accepting collateral damage. On the other hand, managers who have high conflict management skills finds ways to decrease the cost. Involving top management
The top management should have an effective role to build the organization culture and modeling constructive conflict management. The human resource department can establish training programs on conflict management, and these programs will assist the organizations to make functional conflict (Thomas, 1976). Building openness into the culture. Some organizations translate the conflict as a drain on time and energy, and the conflict should be avoided, other organizations see the conflict as a challenge, and the conflict that generating from disagreement could be used to reach creative decisions. Improving strategic decision-making. The managers who can manage the conflict they can improve their strategic decision making. According to Eisenhardt (1997), the most productive teams were able to manage conflicts and concentrate on the issues instead of personality conflict. Can You Think Of Situations In Your Own Life In Which Silence Has Worsened a Conflict Between Parties?
What Might Have Been Done Differently To Ensure That Open Communication Facilitated Collaboration Instead? Unfortunately what is happening now in my country (Iraq) is a result of silence conflict between minorities. The Iraq is not 100% Arabs or Muslims, Arabs are 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turcoman, Assyrian, or other 5%, the country’s Muslim population 99%, and divided between the Shi’a (60-65%) and Sunni (32-37%), Christian 0.8% (CIA, 2014), it’s divers country religions and nationality, because of the silence conflict between the extreme parties the country became an easy field for establishing a terrorist groups (ISIS). The terrorists take the advantage of the unsolved conflicts between parties and cross the borders. The collaboration and communication are strong factors to solve the conflicts, if the minorities collaborate and agree of solving all issues without thinking of taking advantage from the others, the country would have different circumstances. If the Sunni collaborate by protecting the borders from the west side, Shi’a from the south, Kurdish from the north, and supporting the Iraqi army, no terrorists can cross the borders and terrorizes the people.
Ensuring sufficient discussion between group members by managers is very important to manage the conflict by establishing rules and make sure everyone follow them. The organizations can take advantage of the conflicts and turn differences in functional conflict instead of avoiding it. The collaboration is a strong factor to solve and manage the conflicts among parties. Collaboration enhances the communication and builds trust among individuals.
Central Intelligence Agency, (2014). The world factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/iz.html Eisenhardt, K. M., (1997). How management teams can have a good fight. Harvard business review, 75(4), 77–85. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hrhandbook/copyright.html