The paper critically analyses work conflict that is a one event circumstance. The essay gives and describes an event or circumstance that I have experienced in a work place which caused conflict. It will include the causes that led me into such a circumstance, the value or importance of the conflict is also highlighted and finally, the essay tries to unravel what could have done earlier or at that point in time to constructively address the conflict (strategies used to resolve conflicts).
Work conflict has been defined as a special kind of actual or perceived opposition of values, interest, thoughts and need at the place where one works. Conflicts can either be internal or external on the basis of the source and at the same time categorized as substantive conflict or personalized conflict. Generally, workplace conflicts are caused by a myriad of factors, for instance, poor performance, personality clashes, different values and interests, poor communication, scarcity of resources, leadership, management, family issues, substance abuse to mention but a few (Cloke and Goldsmith 2000).
It has been noted that when work conflicts are not constructively and timely addressed, the consequences are far beyond our imagination as it can lead to low productivity, increase psychological stress, distrust, high rates of employees turnover, low quality, reduced creative collaboration and team problem solving, poor customer satisfaction, gossip as well as delayed or missed deadlines. Broadly, the organization will not attain its predetermined desired goals and objectives (Turner, 1983).
On the other hand, when the issue is addressed in a sober manner and accepted, the process can result to better solutions to problems, encourage employee motivation, improves communication, issues are clarified hence curbing such event occurring in the future, leads to greater understanding among employees hence improved workers relationship, low employee turnover, high productivity, reduced psychological hazards (Cloke and Goldsmith 2000).
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The event (work conflict) I have experienced
Sometime back I was in a conflict with my branch manager over the hours I should work, that includes the reporting time and time of departure. The reason that my thought of starting work at a different time rather than that put down by the management was a difference in thoughts between me and my branch manager and it thus caused the conflict. The manager of the branch I worked for always expected all employees to work standard hours. All of us were to report to 8.00am so that the general public is served first thing in the morning hours. Since I had other responsibilities, for instance preparing the kids to go to school as well as ensuring the one who remain home (who is sick) is comfortable, I was of the opinion to report at 9.00am (Wood Et al., 2004).
For this reason, on a number of occasions I reported to work late, this idea did not go down well with my branch manager who was of the opinion that I am deliberately not following the laid down rules and regulations. He later approached me concerning the issue of reporting to work late but he clearly depicted his dissatisfaction openly. Similarly, I felt that the branch manger was going too far, making me feel under the gun, I begun to be defensive because on my on opinion, the branch manager was not fair as well as snappish (Turner, 1983).
Further, the branch manager as a result clearly laid down the rules and regulation; this meant that he was not ready to flex them to fit my situation. He then branded me a lazy employee who only come up with very lame excuses. On the other hand I felt the branch manager was being a bad boss not ready to listen to my grievances and had the intention of witch-hunting me with the aim of bringing me down.
Since the situation was handled by the branch manager by just laying down the rule, things got worse than imagined. I remember on several occasions when I was late for few minutes (10-20 minutes), despite the fact that I had good reasons to defend my lateness, the branch manager always jumped on me with lots of words calling me names, he even went to an extent of telling me that I should not bring my “family problems” at work (Cloke and Goldsmith 2000).
As a result of his actions, I became frustrated and angered as well as suffering psychological stress. I was even contemplating to resign but since this was the only source of income I had, I was to be patient as I strategize what to do next. In addition, during coffee and lunch break I started taking long before getting back at my office. In several instances, I even went as far as faking sickness so that I can be given sick leave (Leaptrott & McDonald, 2000).
The problem continued being worse till my fellow workmates were drag into the scenario. Some although secretly started taking sides, there were those who strongly sided with me as they knew more about my troubles while on the other hand there were those who supported the view of the boss as they argue out that all of us are in the same job group and should be treated equally no matter the circumstances (Wood et al., 2004).
It was eventually clear that perception of my boss and I were true, that of witch – hunting and laziness respectively. Thus the issue at hand, that of reporting to work was left behind the two of us as each of us developed and nurtured a very strong hatred to each other (Turner, 1983)..
Importance and value of the conflict
It is worth noting that the wrangle between the two of us brought a lot of harm to the organization. For instance, bad blood developed between my boss and I, low employee motivation which led to poor customer satisfaction, gossip, indeed after seeing what was going on a two of my fellow workers resigned as they had secured a chance elsewhere, I suffered mental stress which in turn lowered my productivity, reduced collaboration and team problem solving (Budd, 2004).
I have also learnt that personalized conflict, which I experienced with my boss, is not good at all. This is because the phenomenon continue to escalate if not addressed as early as possible, since it is fuelled or propelled by nothing but emotion it is difficult to be handled constructively as each of us went further to create or imagine non existing problems. It is also vital to listen and compromise when dealing with conflicts in the work place.
I also learnt that in case the branch manager and I had earlier adopted a strategy of confronting the issue without emotion and motives, thing could not be as worse as it was. For instance, it was well known that during morning hours we had not many customers, the number of clients was high as from 3pm to 5pm, for this reason, we could have a greed to modify working hours in that I could be reporting at ten in the morning and leave at 6pm while releasing my colleagues who had reported earlier. This could have resulted in more satisfied and happier employees which definitely could translate to quality production, customer satisfaction among others (Turner, 1983).
Despite the fact that this kind of conflict (personalized conflict) is deemed to be the worst among all kind of conflicts, the consequences of the same should not close our eyes to see the small benefit it bring with it. for instance, it can make the worrying parties better understand each other more hence very good working relationship, it also bring out better solution to problems, improved communication, release tension, anxiety and even stress, creativity flexibility and innovation also stem from constructive handling of work conflict (Tambe, 1997).
Similarly, although organizations have rules, laws, guidelines and principles that guide their operation, it is important for the management to clearly know their employees as well as their problems and flex such guidelines giving those with different issues a friendlier working environment. If this could be done, some conflicts could successfully be avoided while those that could arise can be handled properly due to prior understanding of your employees (Papero, 1996).
Finally, I have learnt that conflict is a “natural” thing at our working environment and thus inevitable and we should not shun it if it has occurred. What makes organizations and workers cut themselves an edge in this business world is how they handle work conflicts which in turn translates to attainment of such organizations preset goals and objectives and at the same time having a workforce that are happy in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
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Applied strategy to avoid work conflicts
To me the most appropriate strategy which I fostered when addressing my time lateness conflict at my work place, was evaluated through the kind of management scale that I was dealing with, if it may have negative impact on my career and if it may dented my personality and character. Thus the way forward for handling this conflict to my own standard would be first to take time to learn the basic of conflict resolution and adhere to the following pointers which I have devised to combat conflict at the working place (Eynolds & Kalish, 2002).
Always Be Respectful
With this I will develop a personality which is flexible at all kind of negative remarks that may be projected my way by the manager. This attitude would help me to ensure that no matter what I encounter I remain calm and have a cool professional ethics which allows me to be ahead of the game (Ordonez & Benson, 1997). This I will adapt assertiveness but be very polite toward other workmates addressing conflicts with an attitude filled with a desire which main agenda is to improve the relation with the person with the conflict and bring the conflict to an end morally. This I would not confront with the desire of complains and negativity filled with rage and hatred.
Be Solution Oriented
For me to fully encompass the ability to combat conflict I would not only pinpoint the conflict while in a frustrated mood, instead I will try my level best to devise a solution which would fit the description of the conflict (Tambe, 1997). First I will try to root out the cause of the problem and then attempt with the best approach which fits both me and the person with the query resolution and attempt to improve the condition and the friendship that may have been dented by the conflict. This attitude which addresses conflicts focusing on resolution would initiate others to develop such attitude and commune about their differences openly.
Show Willingness to Negotiate
Here I would incorporate the idea of being open minded with compromising spirit which would be induced to others through my action and deeds. This I would adapt with precaution that when approaching a conversation, that I have an aura of confidence on the stand which am taking and having an open mind which fosters negotiation and at the same time assertive on my own ideology. Being flexible also will help me to be able to negotiate my way through and have a conclusion that would leave all the parties satisfied and fulfilled (Stanovich & West, 2000).
Ask a Neutral, Third Party to Mediate
If am feeling that the conversation is getting nowhere then I would negotiate with the other party that we consider a mediator. According to Epstein (1994) notes that third party would facilitate a balanced dialogue and will construe a resolution which is best for both the parties at the centre of conflict. Thus having a third party will be my resolution with a conflicting person whom I feel that is not heeding my remedy for our conflict, also those that are adamant on the fact that they need their differences heard out.
Be Willing to Back Down
When the conflict is heated the first step that I would initiate is backing down so that the person who is at conflict may also calm down. When a conflict is heated the participants are furious thus always there is a bad ending and the outcomes usually surmount to something ugly. Thus I have learned that backing down allows the other party to also clam down, through this channel now we can be able to calmly argue out politely the issue that may have triggered the conflict and know who wronged the other. This I have learned that letting the ego get in the way damages the mutual relationship; this is especially if the person in the conflict is one highly respected (Kahneman, 2003).
Some of the recommendations that I would advice those that are in conflict in the work place are, that one should have some defence mechanism which would, evaluate the conflict and know how to evade situation which would have been avoided. Through this recommendation I intend to devise a mechanism that would not only favour me but all the taskforce in general as conflict are rampant not only in the working place but also in social activities (Budd & Bhave, 2010). Some of the defence strategy mechanism which is would advocate that we use to avoid conflict are;
This are tools which act as defence mechanism when relating with other people in the work place, this I would mostly advocate to managers. Here I would attempt to consolidate the desires and needs of other staff workers in the office, this help to build self esteem to others and bonds relationship with the co-workers. Through this mechanism I would also advocate that the pursuant encompasses cooperation and mutual respect without harbouring facets of fear, manipulation and disempowerment (Leaptrott & McDonald, 2000). Thus if I have a higher position in the organization develop a rewarding scheme for those who adhere to this attributes. I would allow that the outcomes of every element of the organization either being left out on promotion dos not bother me. I would also foster a scheme which allows some else to change at will and not through authoritative means.
A conflict free zone only works best where there is love, respect and acceptance without any form of favours. Through this channel I would recur on evaluation of the degree that encompasses the feeling of conditional love with the branch manager and other worker who facilitated their working hours to accommodate my case. The boundaries although seems like a structure that constitute isolation I would devise them in ways which are appealing and emplace then to protect own self from frequent time delays conflicts in future as echoed by Ordonez and Benson (1997)..
Thus I would incorporate boundaries other than rules; this is because I have learned that rules are cohesive and authoritative and they possess a win loose situation, where boundaries possess a win-win situation. Boundaries usually assert more responsibility to the pursuant and thus I have incorporated this form of strategy to combat conflict in the working sphere (Eynolds & Kalish, 2002). This I reasoned that boundaries usually work best than commands, expectation or demands. This I would ensure that I anticipate my own needs as well as fostering others in the process, this I would source for ways to meet other people needs and mitigate the needs of others.
Although there are boundaries I would attempt to mitigate unmotivated behaviour, through this strategy I would incorporate meaningful payoffs on reporting time due to personal issues. Here I intend to negotiate my conflict with the branch manager basing my fact on personal paternal issues. Through communication the branch manager would not have ample time to violate the organizational paternal right which ensures that no matter the outcome human dignity which construes human right be observed at all time with exception to parents with young children (Bell, 2002). Thus I will firsthand empower, listen and negotiate my offer of the time delay that made me to come late at work.
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Work conflict, a special kind of actual or perceived opposition of values, interest, thoughts and need at place where one works. It can either be internal or external (source) and or as substantive conflict or personalized conflict. The one I underwent was a personalized one between my branch manager and me over the issue of working hours.
A conflict at the working places affects both the workers and the productivity of the corporation, thus this longevity is escalated even to the customers. When work conflicts are not constructively and timely addressed, the consequences are far beyond our imagination and blow beyond proportion adding to vices like increase psychological stress, distrust, high rates of employee”s turnover, low quality, reduced creative collaboration and team problem solving and poor customer satisfaction. The organization usually stand to loose if the conflicts are not addressed quickly, thus my conflict with the branch manger was an example of how to combat this from conflict one has to posses patience, compromise and positivity, when one combines this they occasionally wins over the conflict and turn it around with mutual understanding. Within these concepts I won over the conflict I had with my branch manager and managed to come up with attributes which are evaluative to conflict in the workplace.
The strategies which I applied or rather would in addressing the issue include; backing down, being respectful, and inviting a neutral third party for mediation, show willingness to negotiate and being solution oriented.
It is also worth noting that conflict is a “natural” thing at our working environment and thus inevitable and we should not shun it if it has occurred. What makes organizations and workers cut themselves an edge in this business world is how they handle work conflicts which in turn translates to attainment of such organizations preset goals and objectives and at the same time having a workforce that are happy in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
Despite the fact that conflicts are always deemed to be a negative thing, a times it bring positive things into the organization for instance better solutions to problems, encourage employee motivation, improves communication, issues are clarified hence curbing such event occurring in the future, leads to greater understanding among employees hence improved workers relationship, low employee turnover, high productivity, reduced psychological hazards.