Sarah and Jane work in the sales department of the organization. Sarah depends on Alice’s data and information as well as other sales workers, for her to compile a general report regarding sales on daily basis. Among all workers, Alice persistently fails to submit her information to Sarah on time. This behavior greatly interferes with Sarah’s work for she keeps working late in order to accomplish her duties accordingly. To some extent, Sarah is compelled to help Alice with her duties, in order to facilitate her work. This conflict has resulted to resentment and general poor performance of the sales department. The management are compelled to negotiate to ensure healthy working conditions the foster desirable outcomes.
The conflict is dysfunctional since it threatens the organization’s interests by interfering with the performance (Pearlin, 2011). When Alice delays submitting her work to Sarah, she interferes with the whole departmental processes. Sarah eventually fails to compile the sales reports, thus compromising with the decision making processes. Having the central position in the organization, the sales department needs to make informed decisions for the betterment of the company. With one team member failing to deliver his or her work, the entire system is interfered with in terms of productivity and performance.
Cause of Conflict
The conflict in this case was as a result of a specific task involved. Task interdependence conflict is common in the workplace and it entails reliance of work assignments among employees to execute tasks. For instance, Sarah relied on data collected by Alice and other workers to compile a general sales report. Regularly, task conflicts raise dispute about how to divide resources, differences of opinions on procedures as well as policies, in addition to judgments and interpretation of facts by coworkers (Shonk, 2019). In Sarah and Alice’s case, the conflict arises with Alice’s failure to complete her task on time, which hinders Sarah to perform her duties accordingly. Task conflicts are usually problematic to the organization due to their complexity. However, initiation of proper negotiation approaches can result to workable long-term solutions.
Approach to Conflict Management
The management used the collaborating approach to resolve the conflict between the two workers. The collaborative method as indicated by Thomas and Kilmann (2008), is both assertive and cooperative. In the situation of collaboration, an individual tries to work with the other person in order to obtain a solution that meets the needs of both individuals. It entails looking into the matter in order to identify the cause of the conflict between the individuals and find a proper solution that does not affect either of the parties. Both individuals argue their positions by stating the facts and rationale according to the issue as the negotiator listens with the interest of obtaining a win-win solution. In this case, the management noted that Alice was not adequately informed on how utilize the technological tools provided to collect data based on how she argued her position. The lack of skills contributed to her regular late submissions.
Normally, the collaborating approach assists individuals to explore disagreements and learn from each other’s insights, resolve some dysfunctional conflicts that would have otherwise interfered with their work performance (Thomas & Kilmann, 2008). The approach equally works effectively in solving other types of conflicts. Based on Thomas and Kilmanns’ (2008) arguments, most company leaders utilize the collaboration approach in the following scenarios; when they need to get an integrative solution and the distresses of both individuals are too crucial to be negotiated, when their main aim is to learn and they need to test their expectations and learn from other people’s opinions, when they want to combine insights of people with different viewpoints on a specific problem, and when they want to gain commitment by integrating other people’s concerns through consensual decisions.
Many organization leaders adopt the collaboration style due to their tendencies of perceiving conflicts as problems that require resolutions, and demanding quality resolutions that eventually solves the issues effectively. These leaders are certain with the magnitude of consensus and sharing information as well as understanding. Collaborators have the ability of maintaining a healthy relationship with fellow teammates and are welcoming to different opinions that are beneficial to the organization. They encourage innovation and open-mindedness to see the company to its best performance. Therefore collaborators are vital in steering a win-win solution to conflicts, which fosters long-term resolution and contentment from both parties.
Integrative Bargaining and Stages of Negotiation
The negotiations involved the integrative bargaining approach. It is a kind of approach where both parties collaborate to obtain a win-win solution to their problem. They look for ways that will mutually, benefit each individual. During this bargaining stage, the individuals first enter the negotiations from a supportive position. This supportive stance is followed by listening to each individual’s point of views regarding the conflict. The listening stage is important since it helps victims of conflict to build trust since each of them understands the needs of the other, leading to a mutual understanding. Finally, each individual determines ways that can ensure effective achievement of the other party’s goals. The integrative bargaining approach thrives on the notion that unity is strength. When individuals come together in a conflict situation, better mutual outcomes are expected.
The management observed the five stages discussed in Bauer and Erdogan (2011). The stages include; investigation, determination of the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), presentation, bargaining, and closure (“Conflicts”, 2012). These stages are important in ensuring that the best solution is reached after negotiations. First, during the investigation stage, the management asked Sarah and Alice to gather information regarding the conflict. They based their information on the main goals of the negotiation. This stage is important since it helps negotiators understand what they want to achieve at the end of the process. It prepares them to make proper decisions according to their wishes. At the second stage, both individuals were allowed to determine their BATNAs. Determination of the best alternative to a negotiated agreement is key to enabling individuals to decide whether or not to agree with the tabled offer (“Conflicts”, 2012). It helps them weigh between options and settle on the desired one. During the third stage, there was presentation of information gathered during investigation. The management listened to both sides as they argued their positions as they stated values of their pleas. For instance, Sarah argued that if Alice submits her work on time, then Sarah will be able to compile the sales report, which will facilitate decision making in areas of improvement. On the other hand, Alice argued that if the management could offer her adequate training regarding the usage of the technological tools, then she will be able to deliver her work on time. During the bargaining phase, the management requested the individuals to share their goals and expectations. Finally, during the closure phase, the management presented their solution to the conflict after proper analysis of the causes.
Lardbuck.org (2012). Conflicts and Negotiations. Lardbuck.org. Retrieved from https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/an-introduction-to-organizational-behavior-v1.1/s14-conflict-and-negotiations.html
Pearlin, E. S. (2011). Functional and Dysfunctional Conflicts. Slide share. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/ebisuganya/functional-and-dysfunctional-conflicts
Shonk K. (2019) 3 Types of Conflict and How to Address Them. Harvard College. Retrieved from https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/conflict-resolution/types-conflict/
Thomas, K. W. & Kilmann, R. H. (2008). Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Research gate. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265565339_Thomas-Kilmann_conflict_MODE_instrument