How would you ensure sufficient discussion of contentious issues in a workgroup? How can managers bring unspoken conflict into the open without making them worse?
It is not an easy task to ensure appropriate fair discussions of contentious issues that may take place in a workgroup. It is very important not to take one side and support only one party of a conflict but to pay more attention to the nature of conflict and the possible solutions out of a situation (Robbins & Judge, 2015). A sufficient discussion may be organized only in case both parties are free from fears of the outcomes or judgments.
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People should understand that all of them have a right to speak loud and be heard. Only after these conditions are considered, a chance to solve a conflict and discuss contentious issues in a workgroup is possible. A manager can bring unspoken conflict into the open one without worsening it by analyzing conflict independently, demonstrating respect to both parties, and creating appropriate conditions on neutral territory. Associated Press admits (2015) that “the voices of the voiceless… must be heard loud and clear” (line 6). Bother sides of the conflict should speak and believe that their ideas are heard respected. In this case, communication of conflicting parties and a chance to achieve a consensus are possible.
How can negotiators utilize conflict management strategies to their advantage so that differences in interests lead not too dysfunctional conflicts but rather to positive integrative solutions?
Negotiators can utilize conflict management strategies to their advantage if they pay much attention to such steps as the identification of a problem and the development of the rules that have to be considered while a negotiation process. In this case, the existing differences in interests may become the reason for conflicts, but these conflicts are usually characterized by positive integrative solutions. Conflicting parties should be able to speak out loud and not think about the outcomes.
It is necessary to demonstrate personal interests but not to impose. As soon as both parties share their ideas, they have to consider the rules determined earlier and make a solution that meets the rules. Sometimes, two opposite sides can hardly achieve a consensus within a short period; therefore, it is possible to address a third party that performs the role of a mediator and helps to find a solution using reasoning and searching for alternatives or becomes an arbitrator, who tries to dictate an agreement and solves conflict anyway (Robbins & Judge, 2015).
Can you think of situations in your own life in which silence has worsened a conflict between parties? What might have been done differently to ensure that open communication facilitated collaboration instead?
There are many cases when silence can worsen conflicts between people. For example, my friend (Jane) had to live with her relative (Alice) and take care of a child when the latter was working. Still, Alice spent days and nights at work and paid not much attention to her child. Jane did not say a word for some time and believed that something could be changed. However, there was no change.
As a result, Alice could not get why Jane was constantly angry with her and demonstrate her dissatisfaction with Jane’s behavior. The conflict was created. Both parties kept silent and worsened their relations considerably. In this case, open communication was the only step to be taken, but it was neglected. If they could speak loud then and discuss what bothered both of them, they could get a chance to overcome further challenges. Nowadays, they can hardly talk to each other even, even when they live separately. This example proves that not only the relations at work but also in families may be easily spoiled by the silence during conflicts. People should never forget about the true worth of open communication.
Associated Press. (2015). UN recognizes role of journalists in preventing conflict. The New York Times. Web.
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Robbins, S.P. & Judge, T.A. (2015). Organizational behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.