Case 11.1 (p. 337) “Conflict at Walt Disney Company: A Distant Memory?
1) How would you describe the conflict between Michael Eisner and the Weinstein brothers, the two board members (Disney and Gold), and Steve Jobs? Was it functional or dysfunctional? Ivancevich (p. 311) defines functional conflict as a confrontation between groups that enhances and benefits the organization’s performance’ while he defines dysfunctional conflict as any confrontation or interaction between groups that harms the organization or hinders the achievement or organizational goals. Though, a point the Ivancevich makes (p. 311) is that in most cases, the point at which functional confrontation becomes dysfunctional is impossible to identify precisely. My opinion is that the conflict was mostly dysfunctional, though, with some degree of functional conflict. They were functional in that even though the conflicts existed between Eisner and the Weinstein brothers and with Steven Jobs, the company was successful despite these widely publicized issues. Eisner, did lead the company to 67th in the Fortune 500 ranks and to a value of $40 billion; with his actions in the early ‘80s, he turned the company around with several company acquisitions. Also, even though the conflicts were high profile in the media, Disney was still very, very successful. Yet, I still feel there was much dysfunctional conflict as who knows how much more successful the company could have been if the conflict had not existed. Also, I am sure they lost employees and company leaders due to the conflicts as many of the employees were still loyal to Roy Disney and Stanley’s organizational goals. Eisner’s micro-management style was probably very stifling to the employees’ creativity. 2) Think back to the stages of conflict descried in this chapter. Which stage best descried the conflict between Eisner and Jobs? Was it perceived, felt, or manifest? Ivancevich (p. 313) describes felt conflict as an escalation...
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