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Conflict and Negotiation in the Workplace

Chapter Summary

When people are working together, conflicts are inevitable; however, when solved and managed effectively, they can lead to better understanding among team members and yield high performances. There are different methods of solving conflicts that a leader can adopt depending with the situation at hand, some situations calls for autocracy while others calls for democratic approach to the conflict. In chapter 11, the writer discusses how people can have healthy or constructive conflicts resolution mechanisms, they suggest adopting a democratic conflict resolution mechanism where every party to a conflict is given the chance to defend his position and a central ground developed.

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In the case that the decision needed is fast and there is no much time to consider others, leaders should use the power they are given y their position to come up with the most effective way of doing things, they should not wait until things have worsened to decide the way forward but they should have it immediately. In modern businesses, the main cause of conflicts can be classified as differences between generation Y (Millennial) and the older generation and differences among employees brought about by diversity.

Management has the main role of enacting effective communication channels as they play a crucial role in conflicts management; when employees are able to give their opinions, then chances that conflicts will emerge in an organization is minimal. When managing work force, human resources management should always anticipate chances of conflicts and in the case that some tension is building, there should be fast interventions to reduce any such occurrence. The writers are if the opinion that failure to plan and manage conflicts effectively may lead to total collapse of a business.

Case Study: Tamarack Industries

Structural causes of conflict

In the case of Tamarack Industries, the main structural cause of conflict was caused by the separation that the management made between university students and the experienced staffs in the company; the move was welcomed but some rivalry was created between the teams made them create a form of competition between the teams.

Another problem was is the job allocation system that Dan had adopted, the Geek Team was assigned long production runs which were easy to attain and manage while the experienced teams were assigned short term productions that were basically challenging and difficult to attain.

The first sign that can be seen in the company was an increasing rivalry and short of separation and sense of individualism among The Geek Team and the older

Workers, the better performance by the Geek were not well appreciated by the older team.

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Another significant indication that there were conflicts was the complaints that the old staffs were raising against their counterparts, they were feeling they have been given a harder task and so was their justification of low performance. When the older staffs decided to be sabotage The Geek team’s progress, then this was an indication that the company had conflicts, it can be looked from the angle that they felt there was some differences and competition among them.

Theories on team dynamics

When developing a team, there is time that people bond and make use of their strengths and strong points for the good of the team. In the case of Tamarack Industries, The old teams had been formed and they seemed to perform effectively; when the University team came, The Geek team got the time to bond and maximizes their strengths, after crystallization and giving results, issues of teas conflicts started to emerge.

According to team’s dynamics theory, teams leaders are expected to be on the look out for inter and intra teams conflicts, incase of conflict management should have effective systems to establish the conflicts and look at the best way of preventing and solving the conflicts.

There is need to have regular trainings and team management courses given to team management and the teams, when discussing issues, the management should be keen on matters brought about by individual teams.

If you were Dan Jensen, what action would you take in this situation?

In the case I was Dan, I would not have been excited by the general performance of The Geeks team but I would consider putting on measures that would detect any chances of conflict either within the team or with other teams.

After the University team understood the process, I would consider reforming the team and mixing them with the old staffs as I gave them equal tasking results, the creation that the Geek would remain together would be removed from either teams mind or philosophy. Although reforming the teams was important, there is need to train the team members on team dynamic policies and strategies.

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In the case that the situation is getting out of hand, I would consider looking at either team opinion leader and understand the situation from his side of the story; this would assist in solving the issues and psychologically approaching the issue (MeShane, Olekalns and Travaglione, 2010).


MeShane, S. Olekalns, M.,and Travaglione, T. ,2010. Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim Focus. Sydney: McGraw Hill Irwin.

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