Conflict, Decision Making, and Organizational Design

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Week 10 Assignment 5: Conflict, Decision Making, and Organizational Design Wendy S. Hill
Dr. Peter DeDominici
BUS 520: Leadership and Organizational Behavior
December 16, 2012

Week 10 Assignment 5: Conflict, Decision Making, and Organizational Design Beginning with the Manhattan Project in the 1940’s, Oak Ridge, TN has been a Mecca for cutting edge equipment, research and scientific development. In 1946, two University of Tennessee professors “were discussing the merits of linking the valuable scientific resources developed in Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project with regional universities.” because “The schools did not have access to such high-tech equipment.” (“Oak Ridge Associated Universities”, 2012). That discussion was the beginning of what was to become Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of over 100 universities, laboratories, and government projects that are networked to establish “collaborative partnerships that enhance the scientific research and education enterprise of our nation”. (“Oak Ridge Associated Universities”, 2012). ORAU has since made a name for itself for furthering scientific education and research and being the company to provide working solutions for numerous problems.

An organization such as ORAU can encounter many obstacles during the course of business. One such obstacle is conflict, so it is important to learn how to anticipate and deal with conflict. Utilizing evidence-based management is also helpful in dealing with the conflicts and decisions that are part of every organization. Being able to effectively utilize creative decision making will also help circumvent business obstacles; therefore, learning to effectively navigate the blocks, stages and methods of creative decision making will ultimately affect the company’s success. Lastly, identifying the environmental and strategic factors that affect the organizational design of the company will help managers navigate conflict and creative decision making.

As a company with a work force from numerous cultures, conflict is inevitable. Whether conflict is due to cultural differences, personality differences or differences in goals, the conflict must be managed. The key to managing conflict is to recognize that each situation is different and each opponent will be different; therefore, in order to handle the conflict effectively, it is advantageous to choose the style of negotiation that best fits the situation (Lewicki, 2007, p. 8). Ideally, negotiation strategies for conflict within the organization should focus on how the final outcome will affect the company while also attempting to maintain or improve the relationship between the conflicting opponents. Therefore; the collaborating, compromising, and accommodating styles would likely prove to be the most effective negotiation styles because they focus on win-win solutions while keeping sight of the importance of maintaining working relationships.

As a company immersed in the scientific world, ORAU is no stranger to evidenced-based management. Obtaining in-depth data and working to gain an insight into the situation before making decisions is part of ORAU’s culture. ORAU’s decision-making climate – both for individuals and for group decisions - is largely dictated by DOE standards that have been incorporated into all processes. While other companies may leave many decisions to their employees, ORAU requires that many decisions are made by the company’s managers. For instance, if an internal form needs to be modified, the employee who modifies the form must follow the chain of command to obtain approval before being able to begin using the modified form. This process is utilized to allow the proposed change maximum exposure in order to review how the change may affect other departments. Attempting to gain a good knowledge base about a situation prior to making decisions in order to make the most educated decision is admirable. However, employees must...
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