Project Management Conflict Resolution Case Study Analysis

Topics: Conflict, Organizational conflict, Management Pages: 7 (2127 words) Published: April 22, 2011
Project Management Conflict Resolution Case Analysis
Overview:
Shirley was the manager of new products division at an e-commerce company. She and Maggie, one of her team members, interviewed Jesse for a new position on their project team. Maggie did not feel Jesse was the right fit for the position and strongly opposed his candidature. Shirley felt differently and hired Jesse. Six months after Jesse was hired, Shirley left the project to start her own company and recommended that Jesse and Maggie serve as joint project leaders.  Maggie agreed reluctantly-with the stipulation that it be made clear she was not working for Jesse.  The General Manager consented; Maggie and Jesse were to share the project leadership. Within a month of this development, Maggie was angry when she felt that Jesse was representing himself to others as the leader of the entire project and giving the impression that Maggie was working for him.  She called for a meeting with the General Manager to see if he could clarify the issue again and resolve the conflict between them.   Maggie said to the General Manager, "Right after the joint leadership arrangement was reached; Jesse called a meeting of the project team without even consulting me about the time or content.  He just told me when it was being held and said I should join them.  At the meeting, Jesse reviewed everyone's duties line by line, including mine, treating me as just another team member working for him.  He sends out letters and signs himself as project director, which obviously implies to others that I am working for him." Jesse replied:  "Maggie is all hung up with feelings of power and titles.  Just because I sign myself as project director doesn't mean she is working for me.  I don't see anything to get excited about.  What difference does it make?  She is too sensitive about everything.  I call a meeting and right away she thinks I'm trying to run everything.  Maggie has other things to do-other projects to run-so she doesn't pay too much attention to this one.  She mostly lets things slide.  But when I take the initiative to set up a meeting, she starts jumping up and down about how I am trying to make her work for me." How is the General Manager going to resolve this conflict?

The issues:
* Personality clashes
* Lack of respect
* Authority
* Egos
* Disagreements about the right way to manage.
Problems:
Major – Project delay, Client dissatisfaction, Miscommunication, Effectiveness Minor – Confusion, Rumours, Low morale
Tying theory to the issue
Conflict is defined as a disagreement of persons or groups of persons considering a situation as inconsistent with their own interests (Boulding 1963, Robbins 1974, Putnam & Wilson 1982, Hocker & Wilmot 1985). A conflict can oppose somebody to himself or herself (internal conflict), to other persons, groups of persons or to institutions (Thomas 1992). Several definitions synthesis made in organization theories (Putman & Poole 1987), psychology (Thomas 1992) or information systems (Barki et coll. 2001) considers three properties of interpersonal conflicts: interdependence, interference and disagreement. By itself, each property cannot be considered as a sufficient condition. Interpersonal conflicts are more dependant of their overlapping. •Interdependence exists when each party reaches a specific goal, at least because of the actions of the other party. In essence, interdependence is a structural condition for conflicts in a professional context because of respective consequences of the way the other party acts. •Interference is a behavioral condition for conflict and occurs when one or several parties oppose the other party's attainment of its interests, objectives, or goals. Interference thus represents the central behavioral node of any conflict (Barki et coll. 2001 p.198). •Disagreement is a cognitive condition for conflict and corresponds to divergence of interpretations toward values,...

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