Conflict Management

Topics: Conflict, Management, Conflict management Pages: 3 (900 words) Published: March 9, 2014
Practitioner Research
Review and Synthesis
Seiler [1] proposes a new way to think about intergroup conflicts. Indeed, he argues that traditional explanations such as simple personality clashes, conflicting ideas and competition for resources, authority or power do not pass the litmus test with regards to modern conflict management theories. Seiler posits that the health of the relationship between two groups is directly related to the “energy” devoted by groups to one another. In other words, how much time and effort the groups are willing to devote to each other’s demands. Through a series of cases, he illustrates how conflicts between groups can find their source in an inconsistent chain of responsibility, opposing values, prestige within the larger organization and a lack of checks and balances, to name a few. What this shows, is that troubles are often caused by a difference in point of views and legitimacy in authority. Without introducing a clear conflict resolution methodology, Seiler proposes two different types of resolution. The first resolution type is to reorganize the organizational workflow when the source of the conflict is authority. Indeed, the goal here is to rebalance the authority and prestige of the different groups composing the organization allowing for a more consistent workflow. The second resolution type involves intergroup training or counselling. The goal of this strategy is to integrate differing viewpoints by making warring groups understand they dependent on one another. Blake and Mouton [2] introduce two simple conflict management approaches to resolve conflicts or tensions between groups or functions. The first method called the interpersonal facilitator approach revolves around a neutral facilitator mediating between conflicting parties. The approach does not define a conflict resolution process but demonstrates when and how the facilitator must act to remove roadblocks, share messages between groups or simply get involved in...

References: [1] Seiler, John A. “Diagnosing Interdepartmental Conflict”. Harvard Business Review. Sep/Oct63, Vol. 41 Issue 5, p121-132.
[2] Blake, Robert R.; Mouton, Jane S. “Overcoming group warfare”. Harvard Business Review. Nov/Dec84, Vol. 62 Issue 6, p98.
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