Paper on Conflict Management at the Workplace
Managing Conflict and Negotiations
Hope everyone had a wonderful spring break!
This week we will be covering the topic of managing conflict and negotiations then write a Paper on Conflict Management at the Workplace. Conflict is everywhere and it is bound to happen whether we like it or not because conflict is what makes us humans. We will be focusing on why conflict arises with others and how we can use conflict to produce positive outcomes. We have chosen two TEDtalks that discuss how we can deal with someone we have a conflict with, that we label as “difficult,” and how productive/functional conflict can be beneficial in the workplace.
Every person has their own personality, morals, beliefs, etc., that influence how they would approach a problem. However, not everyone will agree with these approaches, thus, conflict occurs. According to Angelo Kinicki and Mel Fugate, in “Operational Behavior,” conflict occurs when one “party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party.” In the TEDTalk by Jay Johnson, he mentions how our personal interests make us dislike those who disagree with us because it is our natural instinct for survival. Therefore, we build a negative attitude or create labels, such as “difficult” to define the people who are in opposition with us. Conflict with others involves two or more parties and we can’t force others to agree with us or act the way we want them to; we must be willing to change our behavior to resolve the conflict because as Johnson mentions “it is your heart attack.”
When there is conflict, people need to come together and communicate with each other on a suitable solution for both parties and release the tension that exists between them. Here are the key points Johnson suggested we can use to start changing our behavior towards someone we have conflict with:
Ask questions: We tend to inaccurately generalize a person and create a bias based on the atmosphere they are creating, so one of the best ways to figure out the reasoning behind their behavior is by asking questions. Without asking questions and opening up, it hides the narrative of both points of view and results in us labeling them as someone who is difficult to get along with.
Now, what does conflict bring in the workplace?
In Jess Kutch’s TEDTalk, we can see that the power of groups can heavily influence how organizations manage conflict in the workplace. For example, employees use the website, coworker.org, to solicit opinions from employees all over the country to ask for a salary increase. This is not a request made by a single person; it is from numerous employees who have conflict with the organization and are demanding change. In a sense, the site Kutch created is the union of the web, harnessing the power of technology to connect people all over the country at the same time. Each individual can explain their reasoning as to why they have conflict and find common ground with others who feel the same way. The rising conflict tells the organization an underlying problem that needs their attention. Finally, getting together and negotiating a solution with the organization shows that progress is being made. By leveraging the needs of more people, better negotiations can be made with the organization. Not only are the interests of all employees protected, their working environment and efficiency are also improved. Employees who feel comfortable talking about their issues and an organization willing to resolve these issues will allow the business to retain valuable employees better and build a better workplace.
We chose these TEDTalks because it discusses how we can approach people we have conflict with and the benefits we gain when we choose to take action to improve the situation, both in a natural and work setting. There will be times where we deal with people we do not like or have disagreements with and it is up to one’s self to use the conflict to produce positive outcomes.
Discussion Questions for Paper on Conflict Management at the Workplace:
Do you agree with Johnson’s reasoning of “it is your heart attack” to change your behavior towards someone you have conflict with?
Has there been a time where you wished the outcome could have been different if you managed the conflict differently? What was the conflict and how did you originally approach it?
What are some ways you will approach conflict in the future?