Monday, February 4, 2008

Conflict and Negotiation

Conflict and Negotiation
Conflict is when two or more values, perspectives and opinions are contradictory in nature and haven't been aligned or agreed about yet, including:
1. Within yourself when you're not living according to your values;
2. When your values and perspectives are threatened; or
3. Discomfort from fear of the unknown or from lack of fulfillment.Conflict is inevitable and often good, for example, good teams always go through a "form, storm, norm and perform" period. Getting the most out of diversity means often-contradictory values, perspectives and opinions.
Intergroup Functional Conflict

Functional conflict: a confrontation between groups that enhances and benefits the organization’s performance.

When conflict focuses on tasks, constructive debate can improve decision making and work outcome.

Functional conflict can be thought of as a type of creative tension.
Intergroup Dysfunctional Conflict

Dysfunctional conflict: any confrontation or interaction between groups that harms the organization or hinders the achievement of organizational goals.

Management must seek to eliminate dysfunctional conflict.

Such conflict can negatively influence performance by shifting group members’ attention away from important tasks.

Conflict and Organizational Performance.
Conflict may have either a positive or a negative

impact on organizational performance, depending on:

The nature of the conflict

How the conflict is managed
Intergroup Conflict and Group Productivity

Researchers have identified three types of conflict that can influence group functioning:

Task conflict: members having differences in viewpoints and opinions pertaining to the group’s task.

Relationship conflict: being aware of interpersonal incompatibilities between group members than can lead to feelings of dislike, tension, irritation, and frustration.

Process conflict: an awareness of controversies regarding how tasks will be accomplished.
Why Intergroup Conflict Occurs

Work Interdependence

Pooled interdependence: requires no interaction among groups because each performs separately.

Sequential interdependence: requires one group to complete its task before another can complete its task.

Reciprocal interdependence: requires each group’s output to serve as input to other groups in the organization.

Differences in Goals

Limited resources: when limited resources must be allocated, mutual dependencies increase, and any differences in group goals become more apparent.

Reward structures: intergroup conflict is more likely to occur when the reward system is related to individual group performance rather than to overall organizational performance.
Managing Intergroup Conflict Through Resolution

Ø Problem solving
Ø Super ordinate goals
Ø Expansion of resources
Ø Avoidance
Ø Smoothing
Ø Compromise
Ø Authoritative command
Ø Altering the human variable
Ø Altering structural variables
Ø Identifying a common enemy
Cross Cultural Negotiations

Ø Culture influences negotiation practices.
Ø The negotiation approach is affected by:
Ø Individualism
Ø Uncertainty avoidance
Ø Power distance
Ø Masculinity
Ø Communication and language barriers influence negotiation outcomes.
Group Negotiations

Group negotiation takes place whenever one group’s work depends on the cooperation and activities of another group over which the first group’s manager has no control.
Managing Intergroup Conflict Through Negotiation

Ø Pre-negotiation Tasks
Ø Understand the other side
Ø Identify all the options
Negotiation Tactics

Ø Good guy/bad guy team
Ø The nibble
Ø Joint problem solving
Ø Power of competition
Ø Splitting the difference
Ø Low-balling
Alternatives to Direct Negotiation

Mediation: using a third party to mediate the dispute; parties are not bound by the proposed resolution.

Impartial person works with each side to reach an agreement that benefits them both and the organization as a whole.

Bringing in mediator early enough allows conflicts to be resolved before group hostilities set in.

Arbitration: using a third party to resolve the dispute; parties are bound by the arbitrator’s decision.

Arbitrators have authority to render a decision in favor of one group, both groups, or to ask for more information.

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