Conflict in Close Quarters

Topics: Conflict, Conflict management, Organization Pages: 6 (1653 words) Published: March 27, 2011

The case under study highlights how interpersonal conflicts can exist within organizations or any setting of two or more people. The conflict took place at the replica of the Mir space station in Russia where international participants were to spend 110 days in isolation adjacent to Russian participants who were already in isolation for 240 days. The conflict took place on New Years Eve where two Russian cosmonauts got into a bloody fight and immediately after the brawl, the Russian commander tried to sexually assault Ms. Lapierre. Although a complain was launched with the administration, the administration took no action, defending itself by stating that this was a planned incident in order to prepare the cosmonauts to resolve their personal issues in a tactful and mature manner since in space the administration would not be available to help out. This incident resulted in the sealing of doors between the Russian and International team’s jurisdictions. The conclusions drawn from this incident are that conflict, whether interpersonal or intergroup, can arise in any setting, whether it is a space shuttle replica or an office department, therefore, it is important to understand the reasons for conflict and the negotiation strategies that must be adopted in order to resolve the issues.


Individual behavior in an organization is affected by various factors that exist in the organizational environment and the individual’s character and personality as well. The MARS model of individual behavior outlines four key factors that affect an employee’s behavior and performance. These include motivation, ability, role perceptions and various situational factors. Employee motivation would include the forces present within a person that affect behavior. Ability on the other hand includes the natural aptitude and the learned capabilities that are reflected in an individual’s behavior. Role perceptions are an individuals beliefs regarding what behavior is appropriate and what behavior is inappropriate whereas the situational factors would include the work conditions, people, budget etc (John B, Minor, 2007).

Individual behavior and conflict have a strong link with each other. Conflicts can arise due to various reasons such as incompatible perceptions, goals, different values and various other conditions. The conflict process begins no doubt through a source of conflict that exists within a setting. Conflicts need not be destructive all the time, however, they can also be constructive and help employees to understand the different views they hold and also strike out ways of negotiating a deal which keeps everyone happy. Since, conflicts are a part of most organizational settings, organizational behavior aims at studying the various causes of conflict, the types of conflict and the strategies to overcome conflict with the help of negotiation primarily so that mature and practical decisions can be made (John B, Minor, 2007).


Q1. Identify the different conflict episodes in this case. Who was in conflict with whom?

Ans1. There are various conflicts that exist in the case. Conflict basically exists when one party or individual recognizes that its interests are disparate from other individual’s interests and that a clash of interests has occurred. The conflict process occurs when the sources of conflict i.e. conflicting goals, views, lack of resources, poor communication etc translate themselves into conflicting perceptions and emotions which eventually manifest conflict through overt behaviors and decisions. Similar to our definition, we can identify four conflicts that exist in the case. Firstly, the conflict arises in the fact that since all the participants are from different countries i.e. Japan, Austria and Canada there spoken languages were different and that the lack of proficiency in English meant that communication would have several hindrances amongst the...

Bibliography: 1. Amanuel G. Tekleab, Narda R. Quigley, and Paul E. Tesluk. (2009). A Longitudinal Study of Team Conflict, Conflict Management, Cohesion, and Team Effectiveness. Group Organization Management, Apr 2009; 34: 170 - 205.
2. Paul M. Terry. (1996). Conflict Management, Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Apr 1996; 3: 3 - 21.
3. Peter Condliffe. (2008). Conflict Management. 3rd Edition. LexisNexis Butterworths.
4. Ron Fisher. (2000). Resolving Interpersonal Conflict. Available from
5. John B, Minor. (2007). Organizational Behavior: From Theory to Practice. Illustrated. M.E Sharpe.
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