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Workplace Conflicts: Jan and Mike Case

Workplace conflicts are common occurrences due to the combination of factors, such as needing a team effort in order to achieve organizational objectives and being properly recognized and credited for one’s individual input. Therefore, in most cases, it is difficult to pinpoint and appraise a single employee for outstanding performance on a task or other organizational goals. In other words, such situations can be prone to conflicts among workers, which is why proper management and conflict mitigation, as well as resolution, are critical since not properly addressing promptly can discourage unrecognized employees from working effectively and disrupt the overall work environment.

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The case presents two employees, Jan and Mike, where the former was appraised for an outstanding performance without recognition of Mike’s significant input, which he thoroughly delivered. There are three tips for Jan regarding possible resolutions to the conflict at hand, which are accommodating, collaborating, and avoiding. I think that there is a strong chance of resolution if Jan handles the situation appropriately and professionally.

Firstly, I would suggest Jan speak with Mike with a full degree of honesty and sincerity in order to specifically identify what made Mike feel “used” and what he would have wanted to happen. In other words, this is the accommodating conflict resolution, where the main assumption is based on the notion that Mike might not be necessarily upset with the lack of appraise from the manager. It is possible that he is not in need of the manager’s approval but rather a recognition of being a contributor to the overall task. Therefore, Jan should ask Mike how she could repay him in terms of his help. One thing should be put forwards, and this is that the task was not Mike’s but Jan’s responsibility, which is why Mike’s help was a favor, and thus, Jan ought to return the favor. In addition, Mike should have also realized that he is doing Jan a favor, for which he might not be recognized since the risks of failure are fully on Jan. In my experience, putting everything as it is and gaining a common perspective can be critical in making a situation devoid of distracting emotions.

Secondly, the collaborating conflict management approach should be utilized if Mike decides to exhibit unreasonable behavior or demands for Jan. She should try to collaborate with Mike in order to achieve a resolution satisfactory to both parties. The main reason is that, from my experience, emotions can be highly disruptive of one’s clear thinking and objectivity. For example, when I attempted to use an accommodating style, in most cases, the opposing party usually demanded something unreasonable, which evidently should not be accommodated. Therefore, the last attempt at conflict resolution should revolve around compromise or collaboration, and since Mike already feels “used,” he is not likely to incur further perceived losses or compromise, which is why collaborating is the only option.

Thirdly, if the previous two attempts do not work, and Mike is still unreasonable and refuses to cooperate, Jan should abandon further efforts of conflict resolution. At the end of the day, I think that Mike was well aware of the fact when he was helping Jan, it was a favor from a colleague. The task was solely on Jan, and although his help was highly important, consequences for potential failures would have also been solely on Jan. Therefore, I believe that Mike should not feel “used” since he was not deceived and lied to by Jan, and he wanted recognition, he should have told Jan before agreeing to help her.

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