MT340-01: Conflict Resolution and Team Dynamics
April 24, 2012
The company is Sam’s Club, a division of WalMart, Inc. Sam’s Club is a leading membership warehouse that offers name brand products at a lower cost than regular retailers, and products are sold in bulk which can translate into an average savings of about 30 percent. Because of Sam Walton’s support of small businesses, Sam’s Club was originally geared towards small business needs, but he soon discovered a market niche with large families and realized that they too needed to “save money and live better lives.” The Sam’s Club culture is based on 3 basic beliefs: Respect for the individual, Service to our customers, and, Striving for excellence (Walmart, 2012). Throughout all of the Walmart Stores and Sam’s Club’s worldwide; behind every decision made; in their processes and rituals; and through the work of all associates, Mr. Sam’s values and culture lives. Group and Team Decision Making
At Sam’s Club, there are more informal groups than formal ones. Informal groups are those that are not formally structured and are not part of the organizational structure (Robbins, 2007). These groups are generally made up of employees who have found common ground through personal conversation. When one employee sees a behavior in another employee that they can relate to, it provides the impetus for conversation and the beginning of a relationship. This type of group is good for those who need to have some sort of social contact, such as a new employee or one that is kind of shy otherwise. This type of group is considered a friendship group (Robbins, 2007). Friendship groups often get together outside of work to continue their relationship and build on commonalities such as a favorite sports, children, cards, etc. Recently, a group was formed by the asset protection manager that included several employees who were assigned to watch over the movie display aisles. This constituted a task group (Robbins, 2007). Each of the employees assigned to this group, designated as the “watch group” were from different departments and involved all of the managers, asset protection, and the local police department. Their assigned task was to watch out for customers who shoplifted movies, which are high theft items. Armed with a walkie-talkie and a “call code” in the event of a potential theft or suspicious activity, this group must coordinate communication and movement to prevent the suspect from leaving the premises with stolen merchandise. Interestingly, this group has grown through volunteer efforts and is the largest task group at the local Sam’s Club. Meetings are held on a monthly basis to review video tapes, review laws and policies, and make decisions on how to raise awareness in all employees. To facilitate groups, there would need to be more opportunities for workers to interact with one another. This may involve increasing the number of workers in a given shift, or to have management suggest a particular cause that workers may like to become involved in. In the groups that were described above, there are strengths and challenges. One of the challenges of a friendship group is that it may tend to become cliquish or refuse to include others. When a conflict arises among its members, that conflict can spill over into the work environment and create problems where management will need to step in and solve it, simply because the group is at odds with one another and cannot solve it on their own. One of the strengths of the friendship group is that it can create a harmonious environment that is observed by others and therefore leads to other friendship groups. While based on commonalities outside of work, the subject of work will arise. A friendship group may discuss issues within the club and commit to reaching a solution that may or may not involve a manager. One issue may be how to get everyone together for a fun social event, such as a...