Polarities and Polarity Management
“Polarities can never be solved. Rather, they can only be managed by being vigilant to the proposition that both opposite resolving answers to the concern will receive appropriate attention.” (Beach & Joyce, 2009, p.71). In order to manage a polarity, managers must first make the distinction between a problem and a polarity; problems are things that are solvable while polarities are manageable. A problem is solved using either/or thinking. A polarity is a manageable concern that focuses on two interdependent opposed right answers which require both/and thinking to be managed (Beach & Joyce, 2009). Organizations can effectively manage polarities by realizing each opposite “pole” has an upside and a downside. The strategy is to identify the upsides of both poles and their downsides. Management should devise a plan that gives benefits of the upsides and avoids their respective downsides. (Ammann, 2008). Polarity management is not the final answer to conflicts; however, an important technique for working with continuing disputes. Polarities include conflicts between individual and team, critical analysis and encouragement, being clear and being flexible, planning and action, and individual responsibility and organizational responsibility (Noll, 2002) just to name a few. Within this paper, we will discuss the polarity of Cost versus Quality.
The Polarity Map
The key to this polarity mapping of Cost versus Quality is to see the entire picture in order to manage the polarity. It maps the determination between success and failure. The top left and right quadrants of this polarity map determine how you will gain or maintain the positive results of cost and quality. The bottom left and right quadrants of the map are indicators that you are getting into the negative results of cost and quality. Another purpose to this Cost versus Quality map helps the organization determine how...