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Organizational Conflicts

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Organizational group conflicts refer to the disagreements that may occur in working teams within organizations (Robin, 2007, 26). This could happen in a single team, department or even between companies. The presence of these conflicts in organizations is counterproductive because they result to poor flow of information between players. Since this problem is mostly between employees of the same company (or companies under single parent firm) it is vital that solutions be developed and enforced at the departmental level other than waiting for the senior management to intervene. This problem affects all organizations equally, be they government agencies, profit or non-profit entities (Kolb, 1986, 77). Failure to arrest the problem at the initial stages could lead to declining morale among the affected employees and increase in fiefdoms within organizations. The later is mainly cause by tough wars that develop within organizations of all kinds. The type of group conflict issue to be tacked in this report is the one that affects profit-oriented firms. Subsequent sections of the report will address specific aspects of this organizational problem. The first section shall elaborate on the organizational group conflict present at this writer’s work place. Most of the issues to be address include personal experiences and reports from colleagues, departmental and company managers. This report shall thus serve as solution finding mechanism for the writer’s organization.

Personal Experience

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I am a business analyst for Stowe Woodward(SWC), a publicly traded multi-national manufacturing corporation.¬† My primary job duty is to develop ways to capture key business indicators and design reports that portray the data in a useful format for management. SWC is owned by a company called Xerium Technologies which employs the IT staff.¬† Because the IT department does not report to SWC’s management, IT requests were being delayed or denied.¬† In response SWC hire me to perform the job duties the IT department was not fulfilling. I have developed processes that have dramatically reduced the time it takes all the departments to generate management reports.¬† To add to the conflict I have been fulfilling requests from our sister company Weavexx and parent Xerium to develop similar reporting processes for them.

The managers of Weavexx and Xerium have sent requests to IT to allow me access to their data.  Several of these requests have been met with opposition.  I have requested a meeting with my boss and the new VP of IT to discuss possible solutions to these conflicts. I believe this will give me an excellent vantage point to base my project on.

            There has therefore been widespread denial for employees to be denied access to data within companies owned by a single firm. This is unfortunate because the different units of the same parent company should be building synergy form diversity of talents among the labour force. But this is being denied by the bureaucracy that has been developing within sister companies. Indeed, the problem has been getting worse with time, and does not show signs of abating. Unfortunately, the problem is being cause by employees on different levels within management, from regular employees to heads of departments. Solutions should therefore be developed at all levels in the company.

            This problem has been exacerbated by wanting communication channels between the senior management in these companies. Trying to get the problem fixed by one department, by requesting a manager responsible to open their data systems for analysts has not helped. Senior management in these companies have also been unwilling to help claiming that those who want access should contact the responsible managers.  Further contacting managers at the parent company is simply ruled-out because of the reporting employees cannot do so directly. Instead, they have to request their managers to do so fo9r them. All these constitute a layer of bureaucracy that has affected efficiency within firms’ operations.


            As mentioned in the introduction, the inability of analysts top access data on time is causing a lot of distress and inefficacies in the course of their duty. Tasks are being performed slowly, some of which miss deadlines. This state of affairs have a negative impact on the long run performance of these companies because important analysis is delayed, which also lead to delayed decisions. In addition fact that analysts have to worker under tight deadlines could lead to rushed judgements and thus forward wrongful information to the management.  But is the bureaucracy resulting to turf wars and subsequent stranglehold on data is overcomed? Can employees in different of these companies see each other as partners instead of competitors?

            Given that these companies operate in competitive industries, delayed analysis and decisions lead to loss of competitiveness. This is because the competition would most likely be developing frameworks that ensure quicker information gathering, effective analysis and rapid decision making. All at a time that our sister companies are quarrelling on who can access which data. Fact that analysts cannot access the information without beginning the management is very sorry for these companies, and especially the parent firm. Having the problem get worse instead of improving might soon be reflected in the market, which is when senior management will start running up-and-down looking for quick fix.

            The current state of affairs is resulting to serious demoralization among analysis, including this writer. It would be something else to be denied access to other companies’ data, but this is data all owned by the same parent companies. Talking to other analysis in the same industries is more hurting because it appears that our competitors have open access data to specified employees. From an analyst’s point of view, it has been hard to hard to plan for future projects, because one cannot predict whether access to data would be allowed at that moment. One has to work on the assumption that data access would be allowed before projects are due.

            Having to deal with non-cooperative colleges is quickly leading to poor working relationships within our companies. For instance, it is hard to have a good working experience with a colleague that has been forced to allow access to data. This becomes worse when departmental heads are part to the data-blocking group because of the possibility of setting score s in the futures. Attempts to develop working relationships that would last for longer durations of time in these companies have been futile. Analysts have to learn survival tactics that would see them from one project to the other. As a result, analysts cannot develop mechanisms that would see them complete next projects with ease.

            In addition, any possibility of developing an organizational culture of transparency on company activities and information has been diminished. Turf wars within departments and other companies has been the main cause. This is leading to a situation where individuals are seen the companies and their departments not as part of one single parent company but as independent entities that have to keep its affairs completely secluded from those of other companies or departments. This mentality seems to be in both employees and management in all subsidiary companies. The parent company has however not exemplified this trait; however, it has been slow in developing solutions.

            The management at the parent company level seem not to understand what analysts are going through in the hands of departmental heads as well as the management in various subsidiary companies. This means that the management in subsidiaries, employees and department head are continuing with their data stranglehold tendencies. It has also meant that this behavior will continue to spread in the less affected departments. In the end, it could be something catastrophic for the parent companies if measures are not undertaken promptly. In rectifying the problem, stakeholders in the conflict (employees and management) should start at accepting the presence of conflicts within work groups, and subsequently embark of finding solutions.


            Organizational group conflicts are not a new phenomenon in organizations of all kinds. According to (Bartels, 2005, p. 26) internal conflicts in organizations starts cropping one the said entities have been established and started performing their actions. This is inline with (Holtz, 1998, p. 4) group conflicts will always happen as long as there were several groups performing entirely different activities in the same of differing organization. Since this is an internal problem, solutions can only be developed from within (Gayle, & Preiss, 1998, p. 280). Therefore, the individuals involves in the conflicts are the best ones who can help their superiors do develop mechanisms that would lead to the eradication of the problem.

However, (Coe, 1997, p. 168) argues that observes stand the best chance of helping organizations overcome the groups’ conflicts that could be affecting their efficiency. This is because the observers have the ability to investigate and analyze the present situation without bias that could be found when the internal mechanisms are used in the conflict resolution process. As a counter argument the two conflicting thinkers, (Doherty, 1988, p. 18) argues that the combination of both measures, internal and external, brings out the best results. This thinker therefore prefers to have organizations facing this problem to develop internal mechanisms that would help in finding solution. After getting the results from these internal mechanisms, the affected organizations should request external help, whose results would be compared with those of internal frameworks.


Causes of the Problem

            The current problem is cause by several reasons that are discussed below in detail:

  1. Bureaucracy: Companies within the conglomerate have a bureaucratic way of dealing with internal operations. Though roles are distributed within organizational labour force, employees have to go though their supervisors to get to the desired data. A person classified as an outsider, such as this analyst, has to go through several layers before being allowed into the desired department. The analyst has to actually deal with several management officials before being allowed to use the data; it could even involve getting permission from employees’ who could be team mantes in the progress of accessing data. Being monitored on the data collected is also a pain that analysis have to persevere.
  2. Absence of Central Database: It happens the conglomerate lacks a central database from where employees can collect data regarding any of the subsidiaries. Individual companies save their data separately and only the internal employees have access. It could even be that individual departments save their own data and only departmental employees have access to the information. This means that analysts have to get fresh permission when moving from one department to another collecting data for analysis. This tedious and ineffective process is replicated within the subsidiaries. In further means analysis will have to get new permission every time they visit another subsidiary and its departments. Doing this on a quarterly basis is not only demoralizing but also resource wastage in the companies.
  3. Poor Communication Channels: The parent company lacks mechanism that analysts and other members of staff should use in expressing their dissatisfaction in the subsidiaries and their departments. Analysts are forced to fight-it-out on themselves every time data access is denied or delayed. As a result, analysts have to use their efforts and time trying to convince management and departmental heads that access to data is really needed for work to be complete. This is the same time that analysts could be using to develop and enforce long-term strategies for their activities in the companies, which means that their talents to the parent companies are being wasted.

Supporting Concepts

            This sub-section deal with insights that will help make sense of the causes of group conflicts and leadership problems in may organization. Evidence that the aforementioned problems occur in the company is that this analysis has had firsthand information. As listed in the introduction, the analyst collect and analysis data from companies under a conglomerate. Being allowed access ton the data by these independent companies and their departments has been a serious hustle. Indeed, it sometimes takes begging just to convince some employees and their managers that takes that were to be performed are vital to the long run existence of these companies and the owning conglomerate. Secondly, other analysts in the company have also expressed their concerns with the data was jealously protected by some individuals within the conglomerate.

Even employees from another department or company that needed access to the information have to go through hard time in accessing what they wanted. The illustration that this analyst and colleagues are not the only ones faced with the problem is testament that the entire conglomerate has a growing problem that needs immediate attention. Even the departmental heads and managers are not safe from this problem facing virtually every company in the conglomerate. Indeed, this analyst has been approached by some departmental heads that have experienced similar problems. These departmental heads expected that this analyst, in his position as the individual responsible for data analysis would be in a position to help. Understanding the analyst, too, was grossly affected by the problem was a shocker to the privileged employees. However, having the complaining department heads understand there was a problem in the conglomerate could serve as the first step into enabling the management to understand the urgency of the matter at hand. It can only be hoped that word on urgency would spread throughout the conglomerate.

Assumption Driving the Behavior

            The current problem in the conglomerate is being cause by several factors that will be discussed in this sub-section; they are explained below in detail:

  1. Lack of Organizational Culture: Failure of the conglomerate to develop a working organizational culture to guide employees and the management in day-to-day running of activities is a major factor behind the spread of this problem among member companies. As it happens now, members of the labour force have their goals parallel to those of their employer. These results to individual organizations have goals that are not consistent with those of their parent company. As a result, the entire organization lacks a common fabric to hold all stakeholders together by aligning their goals. Development of organizational culture can help align employee goals with those of the organization.[1]
  2. Poor Integration: Companies forming the conglomerate are not well integrated with each other. As a result, employees in different firms see their colleagues not as partners in the production process, bust as competitors. Some of the employees that understand connection between the different companies under one roof seem to ignore the connection between the companies, and thus concentrate on their wing. Others compete for attention from the conglomerate. Unfortunately, management at the conglomerate level have done little to ensure proper integration of working system. Taking such measures could help reducing the rivalry that currently exists between the companies under the conglomerate.
  3. Turf Wars: There is tendency of employees in the conglomerate to protect their work areas against ‚Äėintruders‚Äô from other companies. This also happens at the departmental level, where members of the company have to go through rigorous process before they gain access to data or documents vital to their work projects. Reciprocity tendencies also seem to be developing among employees, where members of the one department block other employees of department(s) that had blocked them. Allowing this behavior to continue in the company could lead to a situation where nobody in the company would access data of another department.
  4. Lack of followups: This matter has been reported to the management at departmental, company and conglomerate level but nothing has been taken as of yet. Result, following up on claims has not been not been done by the relevant management. At the departmental level, which could be most effective in addressing the issue, officers have only been saying that they will look into the matter. Though the matter has been reported to the management at the conglomerate level, it remains to be seen whether actions would be taken soon. Failure by the responsible stakeholders to take action will mean continued projects delay, inefficiencies, decreasing moral and poor team work among the labour force.
  5. Poor Overall Communication Channels: Other than having a common data depository for the entire organization, the conglomerate is suffering from lack of communication between senior management within the companies. As results, there is no mechanism for senior management to discuss challenges faced while contacting other departments or management in other companies. Had such a system existed, it would have been possible for the affected employees to inform their managers, who would then pass that information to their colleagues. Dealing with this issue at such a higher level would be more efficient rather than leaving it to individual employees to chart their way into such challenges.


             This section deals with the most appropriate measures that should be applied in solving the problem; there are three distinct subsections that deal with distinct issues: alternative measures; consequences in case of failure to act; and several recommendations.

Alternatives Measures

            The conglomerate should embark on measures that would lead to decreasing of the problem facing the companies currently. First, senior management should develop a policy of data accessibility to specified members of staff, especially analysts. A single blanket policy should be implemented; it will mean that analysts have access to data in any department of any company regardless what employees or heads of those sections might think. This blanket data access should indeed be provided to members most employees in all the companies. When this happens, it shall be possible to collaborate in projects sine more employees would have access to the data. In addition, it is important that the conglomerate develops a central database, where all companies and departments would save their data. After the development of central database, the IT departments shall be grated the authority to provides passwords to members of the labour force, such as analysts and departmental heads.

The IT departments will be told on which employee can access certain data and the period by which such action would be in place. When this happens, analysis would not bother to knock on every departmental head door requesting for permission to access data; all information would be accessed remotely from the database. This policy will save time that analysts would have been haggling with managers and departmental heads. It would therefore mean that analysts would have more time at their disposal, and be able to concentrate on most pressing issues in the duties. Managers in the companies and their departmental heads will also be in a position to develop long-run strategies that would prove beneficial in the companies’ long term future. On the overall, the time saved shall help increase productivity in their relevant companies. Since this is a profit-oriented firm, the accruing benefits would help the company though higher profits and employees through better remunerations and excellent working environments.


            Failure to take action would have disastrous consequences on the long run performance of the individual companies in their relevant markets. The continued poor work ethic, where employees feel they got rights to control data access in their relevant departments will only lead to de-motivation of the affected employees.

Let to continue, the much power that departmental heads have over data would continue to frustrate analysts’ goal to complete projects in time and forward their findings to the relevant individuals for decision making. In addition, the lack of team work that has been increased in the conglomerate would mean that employees will always fee unease while working with their peers. The current tendency of seeing other members of the organization as rival competitions instead of partners in the production process shall continue to affect the company’s efficiency. Should the management fail to take the necessary measures, individual companies could be sacrificing themselves in the hands of their market competitors. It is therefore vital for individual companies to take matters into their own hands and provide analysts and other members of the organization’s labour force with data access.  This is because waiting for solutions to come from the top could affect short and long term strategies of these companies.

            The management of individual companies and departments suffering from this problem should embark on having regular meetings regarding the progress being made in their attempts to open data on each other. Having two or three companies’ open their data networks could help incite others in joining-in. The formation of such nucleus should serve as the beginning point of greater data freedom in the conglomerate. Reason: enlarging circle of data sharing would most likely be seeing and recognized by conglomerate’s management, and thus lead into influencing other parties into following suit. Analysts should be at the forefront of creating such a sphere of influence, failure of which they will continue suffering in the hands from their current data access pains.

            Apart from developing a central database system described earlier in this section, senior management should ensure of developing a policy that will make data access policies same fro all companies and departments. This will especially apply to sensitive data that can only be accessed by specific employees and at specific period of time. The access to sensitive organizational or departmental documents should be treated in a similar manner. This will mean that analysts and employees that need access will have to follow similar procedure in all departments. This shall help save time and quicker solutions to organizational or departmental issues.


            Senior management at individual companies and the conglomerate should embark on undertaking measures that would make this problem a thing of past. This sub-section stipulates some of the measures that should be taken for the long run strength of these establishments in the market place. In order for the recommendations to be fruitful, their impacts should especially be on the internal working of each department and company, and then in the relationship between employees within the conglomerate. This is what the recommendations included in this sub-section are directed at achieving. Again, the affected individuals (analysts) should be at the forefront of seeing that the goals are achieved. Senior management and other employees should be involved in this process. The major recommendations are listed below in detail:

Development of Organizational Culture: The development of organizational culture that will bind goals of employees, management and the organization all together will aid in changing the current state of affairs in the company (Nation’s Business. 1999, p. 24). Since it would the first time the conglomerate would be developing an organizational culture, it is important that the management seeks help from the professionals. In this case, it is important that the management considers seeking help from the professional and involving employees in the development process. Successful organizational cultures are those developed in conjunction with all employees in mind.

The senior management should take advantage of professionals who understand how to prepare successful culture that serve organizations well in the long run. Indeed, it has to be considered that these professionals have had experience in many other fields. Combining their experiences in the current would lead to one of the best practices in the industry. The process of recruiting professionals for their services should be done through help from other organizations in the industry that have successful organizational cultures. The human relations department should also be involved in the process of getting professionals to help in the process. The first requirement for these individuals should involve wider knowledge in the activities of companies that constitute the conglomerate. It would be counterproductive for the conglomerate to deal professionals who only understand how to create cultures for some companies and leave others out. In this regard, professionals should be vetted on their abilities to integrate all the necessary traits of cultures among the companies under one umbrella. This could mean getting a team of professionals to collaborate in the process.

After enrolling the help of these individuals, it is important that members of the labour force get involved in the process of drafting organizational cultures they would like to see in their departments, companies and in the conglomerate. Employees should feel obliged to cooperate in this process. Since the consultants involved in the process understand the importance of these mechanisms, they should do their best to ensure that employees at the departmental level are invited to work with the drafting teams. This means that the department shall agree on what they want included in the organizational culture; representatives would express these views during drafting meetings.

The involvement of employees in this process makes them that they completely own the process and therefore do all they could in achieving organizational goals, vision and mission. The conglomerate and individual companies shall benefit from increase work ethic from these dedicated employees. Indeed, members of the labour force would embark on running company processes using the techniques in the new culture that will define their organization. Since all employees will now understand how they are supposed to behave in their capacities, it shall be possible for them to talk to each other when some seem to go astray. This shall be a good way of changing behavior before matter get out of hand.

            There are two types of culture that would benefit the conglomerate’s attempts to improve organizational performance and consequently eliminate the access to data phenomenon that has crippled operations within the parent organization and its subsidiaries. The first one if individual culture that stands for the way each member of the conglomerates labour force shall conduct affairs during the production process. Individual culture helps employees to develop the tendency to harmoniously with others and effectively when working alone, meaning that little or no supervision will be required. This saves the management a lot of time that would have otherwise be used in monitoring employee performance. On seeing that they are not being monitored by the management, members of the labour force are more likely to increase have increased courage in dealing with challenges faced in the course of their operations. This courage shall mean taking matter pertaining to organizational responsibilities into their own hands. It shall now be possible for employees to see something going wrong in the organization and ensure to make changes or inform the relevant members of the management team. For instance, the increased responsibility that employees have in the company mean that they will leave nothing to chance when they see their colleagues from other sister companies being intimidated in the attempts collect data. It shall be possible for the employees to follow up with progress being made by their management regarding the opening of data systems for analysts and employees from other sister companies.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Since the organizational culture will mean that all stakeholders ion the conglomerate would have similar goal of helping the parent company achieve its goal, vision and mission, the collaboration between members of staff in the organizations shall be heightened. Indeed, it shall be possible for analysts to collaborate with employees in the relevant departments and companies regarding projects. The increased collaboration will help in destroying the wall of resistance that had previously existed in the companies. In the end, employees form different sister companies will now see each other‚Äôs departments just like extensions of their own, all to the benefit of stakeholders in the conglomerate‚ÄĒof which employees are key components.

            This later aspects of personal culture would lead to the second form: team cultures, which mean more successful teamwork within the conglomerate. Team culture helps members of a working group to successfully collaborate on various projects. Since individuals in a working group understand organizational expectations, it is possible that they would be in apposition to perform their tasks with ease. Coming into workgroups upholding personal culture means that members would be able to efficiently meat deadlines and present high quality works. Working in successful teams also helps the organizational employees to learn from each other. This is aided by at the diversity of knowledge and skills represented and joined together by the new organizational culture that comes to provide a new identity to the organization.

When this culture is used in working groups that constitute employees from different departments or companies, it becomes possible for the conglomerate to help its labour force to intermingle with each other, a factor that leads to the creation of a community feeling within the organization. Indeed, this should form the key basis of establishing an organizational culture in our conglomerate. Reason: working in an environment that has a community feeling helps new employees to adapt quickly and become part of team players in an organization. The establishment of team cultures should not be left to employees alone; senior management should also form their working groups; from where they will address the interrelationships between conglomerate’s companies. In fact, the management should be at the forefront of ensuring that personal and team cultures have become integral parts of their departments’ operations.

            In order to ensure that the established organizational culture has been successful in dealing with data access issues among other problems in the conglomerate, it is vital that the management ensure the undertaking of regular studies on the progress being made. The professionals that had helped with the establishment of organizational culture should be at the forefront of undertaking these studies. The most effective way of doing it should involve asking analysts whether the process of getting data has been better than it used to be. The other route should involve asking employees to fill questionnaires regarding new efficiency in the organization.


            Other than the establishment of organizational culture that would help in establishing new ways and attitudes of performing tasks in the organization, senior management should consider decentralizing decision making processes to the lowest level possible. This should serve the organization well because members of the labour force understanding their roles and can now adhere to the guidelines provided by the organizational culture. Having the lowest ranked employee to make decisions touching on their activities would be one of the most effective measures to control the current problem in the organization. As it happens now, it is the senior management and middle level manager’s ion departments that make key decisions. When this is changed, the organization will be able to rely more on member of staff to perform their tasks effectively. At the same time, management at all levels will be left with more extra hours of developing strategies that would chart the long run growth path for their organizations. In regard to the analysts, the newly gained efficiency in getting data quickly and acting on it would help increase their productivity. The high-quality results of their findings would also be incorporating in developing competitive strategies that would position individual companies better in their relevant markets.


            The assignment has made it possible to put into perspective what this analyst has gone though at his place of work. Researching and writing about the topic has indeed provided some reflective moments on day-to-day running of analysis activities in the organization. This report has further made it possible to understand the true extensity of group conflict in the employing organization. Amazingly, it is not until embarking on the project that it became clear that management and most other stakeholders were being bothered by the problem but none has taken the initiative to search for solutions.

            Research conducted during this project has brought the understanding that many other organizations are suffering from this problem. Indeed, it is now easy to understand that organizational group conflicts are something that organizations fight in their daily activities. Overcoming the challenge is therefore not an overnight matter; it is something that would take long to develop and ensure its maturity. This analyst now understands that being part of the solution to the problem leading to job inefficiencies is the best remedy one could take. Sitting down, complaining and claiming that the management is doing nothing about the problem only ends up exacerbating the issue. This analysis has learnt on new processes of conflict resolution in an organizational setting. For instance, the analyst has learnt the importance of researching on how other organizations have deal with a similar problem and use their experience to design strategies that would have a lasting impact on the employing organization.

            In addition, the opportunity to prepare a written report for the project has been of great use in these analyst’s academic endeavors. This is because of the educational challenges that this project has provided. The major reason has been the understanding of what goes into a good academic writing, including referencing, arrangement, research, preparation and presentation among others. The skills gained can equally be applied in business writing.


Bartels, N. 2005. Culture Wars. Manufacturing Business Technology.,  Vol. 23, pg. 26

Coe, B. 1997. How structural conflicts stymie reinvention. Public Administration Review,

1997; pg. 168

Doherty, A. 1988. Resolving Cultural Conflicts During the Merger. Chief Executive.

1988 45, 18.

Gayle, B. & Preiss, R. 1998. Assessing Emotionality In Organizational Conflicts.

Management Communication Quarterly, 1998; 12, pg. 280 

Holtz, S. 1998. Getting along with IT; it’s the right thing to do. Communication World,¬† 15, pg. 29

Kolb, D. 1986. Getting to Know Your Conflict Opinions. The Personal Administrator.

31, pp 77.

Nation’s Business. 1999. ¬†When corporate cultures clash. Nation‚Äôs Business. May 1999,

  1. 24

Robin, F. 2007. IT Intelligence. Third Sector. 479, p 26.


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