The Emotional Connection of Distinguishing Differences
Distinguishing among differences and conflict, and managing differences within the realm of functional conflict is a vital role for any manager. This capability is becoming more important for managers to possess. The vision of managing differences is also becoming more important for organizational members to embrace. Carol Parker’s essay on the emotions involved in the socialization process of different people provides insight into the challenges and conflicts organizations must reckon with when adopting a diversity management strategy. The essay also explains the long term value of a well executed diversity management strategy. The necessary level of conflict that Carol Parker defines as being adequate to successfully harness the advantages that a diverse organization can utilize is a dimension of functional conflict in an organization. The inverted triangle of conflict among and out of differences can be viewed as a gradient between functional and dysfunctional conflict. The type of conflict the diagram deals with is that which results from diversity and managing differences. The essential tenets of conflict management can be applied to this particular type of organizational conflict. Parker’s essay deals with the individual emotions that construct internal conflict within individual members and among members of an organization. The latent conflict that a diverse organization harbors will eventually manifest itself on the personal level if not properly managed. This latent conflict is broken down by Parker and the source is revealed as being a focus on the differences between individuals rather than on the similarities. My reaction to this thesis is one of complete agreement. Differences will inevitably threaten organizational members when the differences are first noticed. Once organizational members feel threatened they are unlikely to embrace diversity. They will probably...
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