Conflict Negotiation at the Work Place

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Introduction

The most common attribute about conflict is the fact that it is an inevitable component of our day to day life as a result of the different values as well as points of view that create tension among the peers. The most apposite definition of conflict is that it encompasses the disagreements that are prevalent among two or more parties, groups or organizations. The majority organizations face numerous cases of some backbiting along with infighting among the employees furthermore across business groups. The conflicts that arise from the workplace are some of the greatest attributes that lead to the employee stress. The implementation of the diverse, simple steps to resolve the conflicts that arise immediately can thwart numerous workplace conflicts from growing.

The stress that the employee encounters, as well as the numerous related healthy grumbles and the workers’ compensation moreover bullying claims, can be avoided when managers act quickly to decide issues between co-workers and between themselves and co-workers. Conflicts encompass the ordinary situation that happens in human nature and is normally varies as well as a dynamic that individuals who have a similar perception about a thing could end up having conflicts with the other groups holding a divergent view. People base their perceptions on their culture, values, beliefs, information, and gender experience along with the other variables. The essay implements an assessment of the diverse issues that contribute to the conflicts in an organization along with the diverse strategies that apply to the resolution of the conflicts, with negotiations being the chief strategy.

 

The development of the management theories from systematic by Frederick W. Taylor whereby employees were considered as production objects, to the theory of bureaucracy by Max Webber with its systems has seen huge changes. The additional development of the management theories has further seen the progress from the tasks and hierarchy theory to behavioral by Mary Parker Follet as well as the value drove management theories (Avrich & Mitchel, 2013). In these developments, the employees are considered to have needs along with values that need to be satisfied, leading to the realization people are different and that they additionally exhibit complex behaviors that need additionally sufficient management tactics. It is possible to define diversity as encompassing the acknowledging, accepting, understanding, valuing and consequently celebration of the differences that are prevalent among people on age, physical, ethnicity, class, gender (Lundrigan, Tangsuvanich, Wu & Mujtaba, 2012).

It additionally encompasses the mental ability, sexual orientation, race, spiritual practice, along with the public assistance status. The subject of workplace diversity addresses the issue of focusing on the differences of people that are evident in the workplace. If the issue is well managed and consequently organized, the diverse workplace should be a good force and additionally offer an organization with an industrious partnership, resourcefulness, extensive option for recruitment along with an increased productivity (Behrma, 2012). Diversity is frequently understood to encompass dimensions that impact the identities along with perspectives that people bring, as the profession, parental status, education, and geographic location.

One of the most evident facts of life is that people will on most occasions possess different points of view. People possess unique standards hierarchies, exclusive design assessments of reality, and consequently, institute diverse customs on how they will act in diverse social settings. All together organizations are the living systems that stipulate vibrant, instead of stagnant, association among their employees (Carter, 2011). In this case, the assessment imputes that employees at, Western Technical College, Ernst & Young Time, along with other organizations should frequently agree on the new work arrangements, amend the company’s premeditated direction, and consequently renegotiate the allotment of inadequate resources required to carry out their jobs.

The fact that it is difficult to possess identical viewpoints in an organization along with the fact that there is the need to regulate regularly to changes, conflicts are bound to occur. In the case of a conflict, one party considers that his or her interests are being rejected or negatively affected by a different party. The conflicts could occur when one party hinders or plans to hinder another’s goals in a certain way. The best example is that of a baby-boomer manager who faces conflict with Gen-X or Gen-Y employees that is spending most of their time text messaging since the manager considers the behavior to be interfering with the goal of departmental implementation targets on time. The employees who are Text-messaging experience conflict with their boss since according to them; this form of communication is an excellent mode of networking, keep informed, also, to achieving departmental objectives which are divergent from the perception of the boss. Conflict is eventually dependent on the party’s perceptions in that it exists when one party considers the other could obstruct their efforts, irrespective of whether or not the other party intends to carry out the intended act (Cupach, Canary & Spitzberg, 2010).

 

 

 

Is Conflict a Valid or Bad Thing for an Organization?

For the past century and beyond, most of the experts have been holding the debate of whether the conflict is a necessary attribute that could support the effectiveness of an organization.  Most of the stakeholders on the issue have however supported the position for the assertion that conflict is bad for an organization.  Although the proponents of the assertion that conflict-is-bad viewpoint is currently considered over simplistic, many studies argue that conflict could probably weaken team cohesion, decision making, information sharing along with employee well-being regarding an increase in stress furthermore lower job satisfaction (Dickinson, 2013). It additionally appears that it distorts perceptions and consequently increases politics in an organization. The common position is that conflict distracts workers from their work and, in various cases, motivates these to hold back precious knowledge along with other resources. People who face conflict are less encouraged to correspond as well as try to comprehend the other party; an attribute that further soar the conflict since each side increasingly relies on the imprecise perceptions along with stereotypes. One survey approximates that 42% of the manager’s time is used in dealing with the workplace conflict along with the assertion that conflicts trigger most voluntary moreover unintentional employee turnover (Jones & George, 2014).

Constructive and Relationship Conflict

Constructive conflict encompasses a situation whereby people base the focus of their discussion on the main issue and at the same time ensures that they show respect for the people who possess divergent points of view. The conflict is referred to as “constructive” since the different positions are requested so that ideas along with recommendations can be redesigned, clarified, moreover tested for rational soundness (Behrman, 2012).  Ensuring that the debate is solely focused on the issue aids the participants to reexamine their assumptions along with beliefs devoid of triggering the desire to defend one’s position. It is connected to the unenthusiastic emotions as well as ego–defense mechanism behaviors. Teams along with organizations who have very low levels of productive conflict are less efficient.

On the other hand, constructive conflict, relationship conflict bases its focus on the people instead of the issues, as the main source of conflict. The parties, in this case, refer to interpersonal dissimilarities as such as the clashes of personality instead of the genuine dissimilarity of opinion concerning the different tasks or decisions at hand. Every party makes an attempt to demoralize the other’s assertion via questioning their competency. The attack on an individual’s credibility and showing an aggressive reaction towards the person elicits defense mechanisms along with a competitive direction (Mujtaba & McCartney, 2010). The party receiving the verbal attacks turns out to be less motivated to communicate and consequently share information, thus making it harder for the parties to realize common ground and eventually resolve the conflict. As an alternative, they ever more rely on the distorted discernments and stereotypes, which tend to aggravate the conflict.

The Separation of Constructive From Relationship Conflicts

The present standpoint that there are chiefly two models of conflict contributes to the logical assertion that it is imperative that we encourage constructive conflict and at the same time work towards the minimization of the relationship conflict. The recommendation appears good in theory, but latest evidence posits that the separation of the two models of conflict is not an easy. The majority of us normally experience the certain degree of relationship conflict during as well as after any positive debate. In this case, the assertion is that any endeavor to employ constructive conflict, regardless of how calmly furthermore rationally, could still propagate seeds of relationship conflict (Jones & George, 2014). It follows that the stronger the intensity of the debate Moreover the more the subject is joined to the individual’s self- perception, the superior the possibility that the constructive conflict is going to develop into relationship conflict (Dickinson, 2013). However the management experts have made an assessment of the three core strategies that should be employed in probably minimizing the degree of relationship conflict in the course of the constructive conflict episodes:

  1. Emotional intelligence.

It follows that the relationship conflict is less probably going to occur, or is less likely to augment when the members of a team possess high degrees of emotional intelligence. In this case, the emotionally intelligent employees are better capable of regulating their emotions throughout the debate, and as a result lowering the risk of increasing standpoints of interpersonal hostility (Dickinson, 2013). Individuals with elevated emotional intelligence are additionally more likely to consider a co-worker’s emotional response to important information concerning the individual’s needs along with expectations, instead of as the personal attack.

  1. Cohesive team.

The common standpoint is that relationship conflict is censored when the disagreement occurs within a team that is highly cohesive. In this case, the longer people work jointly, get to know each other, and consequently build up reciprocated trust, the more autonomy they give each other to demonstrate emotions without being individually offended. The strong cohesion additionally permits each to be aware and consequently take part and predict the behaviors along with emotions of teammates (Jones & Georg, 2014). The additional benefit is the assertion that cohesion develops a stronger social uniqueness with the group. Thus, the team members are motivated to shun escalating relationship conflict throughout otherwise emotionally unstable discussions.

  1. Supportive team norms.

Diverse team rules can hold relationship conflict at bay throughout the constructive debate. If the norms of the team encourage honesty, members of the team learn to understand honest conversation without individually reacting to the emotional shows during the disagreements. Other norms could discourage the members of the team from exhibit pessimistic emotions in the direction of co-workers. The team norms additionally persuade tactics that scatter relationship conflict when it first appears (Jones & Georg, 2014). Research demonstrates that teams with that indicate low relationship conflict employ humor to preserve optimistic group emotions, thus offsetting the negative feelings team members may propagate towards certain the co-workers in the course of the debate.

Selecting the Best Conflict Handling Models

The biggest likelihood is that one has a preferred conflict-handling approach. One might have a propensity towards the avoiding as well as yielding since the disagreement makes one feel uncomfortable furthermore is contradictory with the individual’s self-concept as an individual who likes to get by with everyone. Conceivably one could prefer the negotiation as well as compelling strategies as they mirror an individual’s strong desire for accomplishment and control over the environment (Jones & Georg, 2014). In this case, people settle toward one or two favored conflict management styles that go with their personal, personality as well as cultural values, along with the experience. Nevertheless, most people assert that it is imperative that they employ different conflict management styles in different situations.

Negotiation and Conflict Management in an Organization

Although it could sound apparent, any of endeavor that is meant to offer a discussion on the way out of a conflict position always encompasses a conversation with one or more parties as well as ensuring that one wins their interest in what they have to say. An individual will rarely attain success in doing this they are negative or manipulative in their approach (Mujtaba, 2014). It is imperative that one, therefore, at all times bear in mind the main factor encouraging their debate as it is often primary attribute in people’s mind and that they should try to assess the conflict negotiation being done from the other individual’s point of view.

Negotiation takes place each time two or larger conflicting factions try to resolve their conflicting goals via redefining the stipulations of their interdependence. In this case, people engage in negotiations when they believe that the conversation can create a more acceptable arrangement favoring them. It is thus evident that negotiations are not a reserve of the management bosses when they are hammering collective agreements. People participate in negotiations on a daily basis, with the assertion that on most occasions, one does not even realize that they are in a negotiation. Negotiation is chiefly evident in the workplace as the employees are working interdependently with one another. The employees negotiate with their supervisors about the next month’s work assignments, with clientele over the sale as well as delivery schedules of their product, furthermore with co-workers over issues as when to have lunch (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2012). It is additionally evident that they infrequently negotiate with one another in labor disputes as well as workplace agreements.

Proponents of negotiations propose that they are more successful when the parties involved assume a problem-resolving style, while others argue that the conflict-management style is occasionally costly. It is evident that any win or lose style such as forcing, yielding, is doubtful in the production of the most favorable resolution since the parties do not share information that is necessary for discovering a reciprocally acceptable solution (Mujtaba, 2014). In that case, the underlying assertion is that it is imperative that we are careful in openly assuming a problem-solving style awaiting reciprocal trust has been established. The apprehension with the problem-resolution style is the fact that information is power, and thus, information distribution offers the alternative party more authority to force a superior deal if the opening occurs. Skilled negotiators on most occasions cautiously assume the problem-solving approach at the start by sharing information gradually and consequently determining if the other side is going to reciprocate. In this respect, both parties try to institute trust with the opposing party (Mujtaba, 2014). They turn to one of the either the wins or lose styles just when it turns out to be obvious that a win-win solution is not feasible or that the other party is reluctant to share information with an accommodating orientation.

The Bargaining Zone Negotiation Model

The negotiation process encompasses the movement of all the parties along a continuum with an area of probable overlap being referred to as the bargaining zone. In this model, the parties start the negotiations having described their initial offer point for every point that is on the agenda. On most occasions, the participants are aware of the fact that this attribute is just the starting point and that it is going to change as the parties offer concessions. In the win-lose negotiation situations, neither the target nor the resistance point are revealed to the other individual (Mujtaba & McCartney, 2010).  Nevertheless, make efforts towards the discovery of the other side’s confrontation point since this knowledge aids them to make a determination of how much they can achieve without flouting negotiations. If the parties have a win-win course, the intention is to unearth a creative clarification that ensures that both parties are close to their preliminary offer points (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012). Their desire is in finding an arrangement by which every side loses comparatively diminutive value on various issues furthermore gains considerably more on other attributes.

The Diverse Situational Attribute That Impacts the Workplace Conflict Resolution

The helpfulness of workplace negotiations is dependent on both the situation as well as the behaviors of the negotiators. Four of the chiefly significant situational attributes that affect the workplace conflict resolution include:

  1. Location

The common assertion that supports this attribute is that it is easier for one to negotiate on their territory as one is familiar with the negotiating atmosphere and that one can maintain relaxed routines. Also, there is no necessity to manage the travel-related stress and in other cases depend on others for assistance during the negotiation. It follows that one cannot walk out of negotiations as effortlessly when on your territory, which is just a minor issue. Bearing in mind the strategic benefits of known turf, numerous negotiators consent to a neutral territory. The adoption of strategies as video conferences, phone calls, among other forms of information technology can avoid the territorial concerns in the workplace conflict resolution. However, the utilization of the services of skilled negotiators frequently favors the media prosperity of face-to-face meetings. Thus, it is imperative that the individuals tasked with the resolution of conflicts that arise in the workplace are aware of the best way they will use the location to elicit the most productive negotiations from all the concerned parties.

  1. Physical Setting

The assertion when it comes to the assessment of the issues of physical distance and how it can impact conflict resolution negotiations follows that the distance between the parties Moreover the formality of the setting can manipulate their orientation toward each other along with the undecided issues. Consequently, it is possible for the seating arrangements to affect the orientation of the participants. Individuals who sit face-to-face are more probable to adopt a win-lose orientation about the conflict situation. On the contrary, several negotiation factions intentionally mix together participants around the table as a means of conveying their desire for a win-win orientation. In the other cases, arranging the seating so that both parties face a whiteboard, offers a reflection of the notion that both parties are facing the same difficulty or issue.

  1. Time Passage and Deadlines

It follows that the more time employees devote in negotiations, the stronger is their dedication to accomplishing an agreement. The attribute increases the incentive to determine the conflict, although it also fuels the increase of assurance issues. As an example, the more time that has been dedicated into negotiations, the stronger is the propensity to formulate unjustifiable acknowledgments so that the negotiations do not fall short. Time deadlines could be constructive when they are employed to stimulate the parties to conclude the negotiations. Nevertheless, the time pressures are normally burdened in negotiations. One of the problems caused by the time pressure is the fact that it inhibits a problem-resolution conflict-management style since the parties have limited to swap information or present Agile offers. Negotiators who are under time pressure additionally process information less efficiently, making them have the less imaginative aptitude to determine a win-win answer to the conflict. There additionally is subjective evidence that says negotiators make unwarranted concessions moreover mitigate their demands quickly as the deadline looms.

  1. Audience Characteristics

The majority of negotiators have audiences who encompass individuals who have a vested curiosity in the negotiation results, as the executives along with other team members or the general public. Negotiators are occasionally inclined to act in a different way when their audience scrutinizes the negotiation and in other cases when it has thorough information relating to the process, in comparison to the situations whereby the audience sees just the end results. On those occasions that the audience has unswerving scrutiny over the proceedings, it is common for negotiators to be more aggressive, less inclined to make compromises, and have a greater propensity to engage in political theatrics against the opposing party. The hard-line behavior demonstrates to the audience that the negotiator is simply working for their interests. When the audience is watching, the negotiator additionally has a greater interest in saving face.

Strategies Employed In Promoting Productive Negotiations

  1. Preparation and Goal Setting

Research constantly reports that the management with the responsibility of dealing with conflicts have more constructive negotiation outcome when they have prepared for the negotiation and consequently set goals for the same negotiation. Particularly, it is imperative that the negotiator carefully thinks through the preliminary offer, target, as well as resistance points. It is imperative that they consider the substitute tactics they can employ in case the negotiation fails (Poitras & Raines, 2013). It is additionally necessary that negotiators assess their fundamental assumptions, along with goals and values. Similarly significant is the necessity to carry out adequate research on what the other party wants to gain from the negotiation.

  1. Gathering Information

The policy that the negotiator should advance with to the negotiation room should revolve around seeking to understand previous to you seeking to be understood. The popular assertion from management expert Stephen Covey applies to the effective negotiations. The implication it has encompasses the assertion that we ought to use more time listening intimately to the other party moreover asking for details. One of the ways of improving the information-gathering process is via the use of a team of people who take part in the negotiations. It is a common attribute for the Asian companies to have large negotiation teams with the desire to meet the purpose as mentioned earlier (Poitras & Raines, 2013). When a negotiator possesses more information regarding the interests of the opponent along with their needs, they are better competent to determine low-cost compromises or proposals that are going to satisfy the other side.

  1. Communicating Effectively

The possession of an effective in the position of negotiators ensures that they communicate in a manner that upholds the effective relationships between the parties engaging in the negotiation. Particularly, they can diminish the socio-emotional conflict via their focus on the issues instead of the people. The effective negotiators additionally can keep away from the use of irritating statements as “I believe you are going to agree that this is a charitable offer.” Thirdly, it follows that the effective negotiators are experts in the art of persuasion (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012). They possess the prowess to structure the content of their communication in a manner that it is conventional to others, not just understood.

  1. Making Concessions

Concessions are vital because they make possible for the parties to move the direction of the prospective agreement, they denote every party’s inspiration to negotiate in good faith, and that tell the supplementary party of the relative significance of the negotiating matters. Nevertheless, concessions can move the parties towards reaching an agreement merely under certain circumstances. The first, encompass the assertion that concessions should be labeled in that it is imperative that the other party is aware that your deed is a concession (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012). In that case, it should be clear that the concession is valuable to you, and that it is advantageous to the other party. Secondly, it is imperative that an anticipation accompanies concessions that the other party is going to reciprocate. In reality, when there is a no trust, the concession needs to be dependent on a precise reciprocal deed by the other party. Lastly, it is imperative that concessions are given in episodes, not all at once (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012). The justification is that people acknowledge more optimistic sentiments from two lesser concessions than they would if the concessions were collective into one bigger concession.

Power in the case of conflict management encompasses the intentional influence that is exerted over the beliefs, emotion as well as behaviors of other people. The experience of power is ever-present. In the case of negotiations towards conflict resolution, however, power plays a huge role in addressing the issues that the parties to the conflict are holding contentions thus increasing the likelihood of a successful resolution. It follows that the presence of power when addressing the issues under negotiation offers a clear case of authority to the issues and concessions that are reached (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2012). The present of an authority power in the organization makes the employees who are taking part in the negotiation to engage in the good faith during the concessions as they are aware that the sessions are supported and that the decisions reached are binding to all the parties.

The cultural implications of negotiations in the workplace conflict resolution revolve around the fact that different culture exhibit different means of engaging in the negotiation process. Occasionally, these dissimilarities result in further conflicts, which makes it imperative to implement an assessment of the diverse views and opinions that impact the negotiations (O’Rourke & Collins, 2008). If people comprehend the assertion that negotiations encompass conversations whose aim is the reaching an agreement along with the comprehension of the fact that dissimilar cultures reach agreements differently, there will have been a successful establishment of the negotiation basis (Poitras & Raines, 2013). The main cultural issues that have an implication of negotiations include:

  • The desire for a long-standing relationship or just a one occasion deal
  • Predilection to win negotiating or inclination for a win-win negotiation
  • Casual or formal approach
  • Direct or indirect engagement style
  • Demonstrate emotions or hide emotions
  • Decisions attained by the group or by the leader

References

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Behrman H.W. (2012). Confronting and Conflict Resolution. Office of Quality Improvement and HR Development in University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Carter S. B. (2011). Gender Wars Not Only Create Conflict Among Women, They Create Significant Workplace Stress. Phycology Today. High Octane Women, p. 15.

Cloke, K., & Goldsmith, J., (2012). Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job. John Wiley & Sons.

Cupach, W. R., Canary, D. J., & Spitzberg, B. H. (2010). Competence in interpersonal conflict (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Dickinson J.B. (2013). An examination of multi-dimensional channel conflict: a proposed experimental approach. JOURNAL OF BEHAVIORAL STUDIES IN BUSINESS.

Goldman, B., & Shapiro, D. (2012). The Psychology of Negotiations in the 21st Century Workplace. Routledge.

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Mujtaba, B. G. (2014). Managerial Skills and Practices for Global Leadership. ILEAD Academy: Florida.

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Mujtaba, B. G. and McCartney, T. (2010). Managing Conflict and Negotiation. Excel Books India.

Mujtaba, B. G. and McCartney, T. (2010). Managing Workplace Stress and Conflict amid Change, 2nd edition. ILEAD Academy: Florida, United States.

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Poitras, J., & Raines, S. (2013). Expert Mediators: Overcoming Mediation Challenges in Workplace. Rowman & Littlefield.



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