Posted: March 24th, 2023
What are the sources and types of conflict that are most salient in the workplace?
Workplace conflict has been a common phenomenon over generations. While the preference causes and remedies of the conflicts may differ from one place to another, the reality of the issue cannot be overlooked. Leung (2008) conducted a research in Hong Kong on the primary causes of conflicts in places of work with special attention to Chinese working environments. According to the research, among other causes of conflicts at the place of work are demands from the boss, the disparity between the stated words and the actual actions, and in-group ideology.
High demands by employers. According to Leung (2008), many conflicts that arise within working environments are caused by unrealistic demands on employers or bosses who often expect a lot from subordinates. The employees are expected to deliver unrealistic results and are guided by aggressive targets and strict or unrealistic deadlines, which lead to conflicts. For instance, the Chinese culture is defined to be pragmatic and often subordinates are expected to realize high and unrealistic targets without considering the psychological and physical effects that such demands produce on the subordinates. As a result, the subordinates work under pressure and strive to realize the target, but whenever their ability does not meet the expectations, the conflicts between the boss and subordinates are bound to arise (Hill, 2012).
Disparity between the stated words and the actual actions. The Chinese culture encourages consistency in the given word promises and the deeds that follow. In the event that promises are made and not fulfilled, the employees or even employers feel deceived and may react; a situation that could cause what is viewed as a conflict. For instance, conflicts may arise when subordinate staffs are promised some action towards a matter even when the promising authority is quite certain that nothing could happen. The deceived party then takes the inconsistency as offensive because the action is contrary to the culture observed by the people. Accordingly, the Chinese people believe that trust in any promise should be felt, heard, and seen. When such features fail to accompany any promise, the conflicts are bound to occur in the working places.
In-group ideology. The factor explains that human beings are social and harmony is instituted by the feeling of belonging as against isolation. China represents a collective society where the group aspect explains the interrelations by individuals. Accordingly, the lack of such coherence in the interaction between workmates, management, and the subordinates produces conflicts.
Can the Chinese setting be generalized to our workplace environments?
The Chinese settings can be applied partially in our system and environments of work because the conflicts resulting from unrealistic demands by employers or bosses are also relevant in our society setup. Many employers demand more than the employees can afford in terms of productivity, while at the same time offering little or no motivation. The inability to meet such demands explains the likelihood of conflicts. Besides, the ideology of belonging to a social group applies within our working environment; therefore, the likelihood of conflict is bound to happen. However, the understanding of promises and failure to actualize may be interpreted differently in our case; a situation that reduces the likelihood of conflicts occurring at working places.
What possible management resolution remedies would you recommend for the workplace?
First, the employers and the bosses should embrace realistic expectations and avoid triggering conflicts with employees who otherwise feel intimidated and not cared for. Embracing less bureaucratic systems of interaction between the senior management teams and the subordinates is likely to lower cases of conflicts between the two levels of operation due to increased interactions. Finally, it could be advisable that management teams should avoid providing unrealistic promises to the employees because it is likely to trigger the feeling of betrayal.
How does the Author characterize the sources of conflict within an organization?
Guttman authored the article, which demonstrates that conflicts are not inherently bad as often illustrated, but can be viewed from another perspective as positive (Guttman, 2009). Within organizations, the sources of conflicts vary with the article pointing out that both psychological and sociological aspects cause conflicts. Accordingly, differences in cultures, time, languages, policies, as well as systems present the immediate causes of conflicts within organizations as shown in the article. When such differences become more pronounced and prevalent among working colleagues, the people are likely to develop misunderstandings that will lead to poor communication and the ultimate emergence of conflicts.
Is conflict resolution only within the jurisdiction of the HR people? Explain.
According to the article, conflict management and resolution within organizations is the jurisdiction of the human resource teams. The necessity of intervention by the HR people is explained by the training sessions that human resource personnel are undertaken through to enable them handle the issues of organizational conflict. While other persons within the organization may be involved in settling disputes, the human resource team has the sole prerogative in assisting conflicting parties to arrive at an amicable solution within an organization. Through prior training in matters of conflict and resolution within organizations, the HR teams approach the process professionally through various steps (Brenda, 1999). The teams of people serving in the department are responsible for ensuring that conflicting teams are aligned well and without elements that trigger conflicts. Therefore, they drive and monitor accountability in the organization, conduct assessments for conflicts by studying the behaviors, work to ensure co-existence of different teams, and ensure that the conflicts are managed at the least destructive point. Therefore, besides other responsibilities that human resource teams are assigned, conflict management becomes pivotal, and the organizations become dependent on the competence of such teams to address conflicts effectively.
Is it important or necessary for an organization to understand these sources of conflict, as we have an autocratic structure that can impose a resolution?
While organizations develop and institute such autocratic structures in conflict resolution, the essence of understanding the causative factors of conflicts within organizations cannot be overstated (Gross, Hogler & Henle, 2013). First, organizations need to understand the causes because conflicts become costly to handle and solve within an organization. When conflicts are incurred, organizations lose a lot in terms of productive hours and resources that are committed towards the process of resolving the conflicts. Therefore, organizations should understand the causes of conflicts in order to prevent them in advance. Besides, the autocratic mechanisms of conflict resolution may not be wholly effective; hence, the reason to have an understanding of the potential causes of conflicts. When organizations understand the potential of conflicts to occur, then they institute countermeasures that will prevent the conflicts from occurring.
Brenda, P. S. (1999). MBAs take HR to a higher level. Workforce, 78 (5), 81-87.
Gross, M. A., Hogler, R., & Henle, C. A. (2013). Process, people, and conflict management in organizations. International Journal of Conflict Management, 24(1), 90-103.
Guttman, H.M. (2009). Conflict Management as a Core Competency for HR Professionals. People and Strategy,Vol. 32, Iss. 1; p. 32.
Hill, J. (2012). Competency model helps HR add value. Canadian HR Reporter, 25(2), 20-21.
Leung, A. S. M. (2008). Interpersonal conflict and resolution strategies; An examination of Hong Kong employees. Team Performance Management, Vol. 14, Iss. 3/4; p. 165.
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