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Mutual Life
An analysis and critique of Mutual Life from an organisational perspective      
                 

 

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Contents 
3  Abstract 



Introduction 



Part A: Analysis  The Conflict Process  Leadership and Empowerment   Leadership – Wilson  Leadership – Greely  

12 

16 

19 

Part B: Recommendations 

25 

References 

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Abstract 
This report analyses the issues present in the “Mutual Life” brief, and provides recommendations to the Board of Mutual Life based on this analysis. We have divided this report into two parts. In Part A, we have used a ‘conflict process model’ to both evaluate the behaviours of Greely and Wilson, and to analyse conflict from a broader, organisational perspective. Moreover, we have offered extensions and critiques of the model with a view to improving the quality of the analysis presented to the Board. Importantly, we have discussed issues such as the primacy of ‘perceived goal incompatibility,’ the impact of power on conflict and the antecedents of the manifestations of conflict. This report has also assessed the leadership styles of Wilson and Greely, concluding that Wilson was a transformational and effective leader, and Greely, an oppressive, authoritarian and ineffective leader. Wilson, it was found, fostered empowerment, the manifestation of which was greater employee satisfaction and improved performance. Conversely, Greely’s leadership was devoid of the behaviours necessary for empowerment, translating to low employee satisfaction and poor performance. On the basis of the Mutual Life brief, this report has introduced a model of leadership that both mirrors and extends upon the theoretical relationships drawn upon in the analysis. In particular, our model introduces ‘communication in the conflict process’ as a variable in effective/ineffective leadership. In Part B of the report, we have provided recommendations as to what step of actions can be taken to avoid the dysfunctional outcome. A key recommendation includes more open communication with upper-management on Wilson’s behalf, culminating in the appointment of an upper-management representative to the Forum. We have also suggested that the requisites for promotions and raises should be clearly outlined and negotiated (Miller), and argued for a collaborative, active approach to managing conflict (Belkner and Greely). Moreover, we have provided extensive critiques of our recommendations, hence allowing the Board to make informed decisions in strategy development. Our report concludes by outlining the issues upon which future reports should be based.

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Introduction 
Conflict management is an important issue facing nearly every organisation today, especially given the rise of large organisations, the competitiveness of globalised markets and the associated issue of job security. A case of conflict occurred in Mutual Life, a prestigious insurance company.

Wilson was a successful employee at Mutual Life, overseeing an “increase in productivity” in his first role as a supervisor. After working in another division, Wilson returned to his first role, where he was now managed by the oppressive and authoritarian Jack Greely. Wilson attempted to ‘turn around’ the division by implementing changes such as the ‘Supervisor’s Forum.’ However, these changes were met with condemnation by upper-management and led to a threat of dismissal. Wilson persevered in the face of opposition, and his unit thus became the most “highly trained in the division.” A month before his expected promotion, Wilson was informed that his leadership – whilst producing stellar results – did not conform to organisational requirements. The outcome was a denial of promotion, and Wilson’s decision to leave Mutual Life.

To analyse the situation described above, we have divided our report into two parts – Part A and Part B. In Part A, we describe the five stages of the conflict...
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