INTERPERSONAL CONFLICT THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA A MODEL OF CONFLICT • Goldman (1966) presented a cycle of conflict based on; (1) an initiating event, (2) an influencing event, and (3) a concluding event. • Pondy (1967) presented a model of organizational conflict that identified five stages of conflict episode: (1) latent conflict, (2) perceived conflict, (3) felt conflict, (4) manifest conflict, and (5) conflict aftermath. CONTD. • Thomas’s (1976) process model of conflict episode includes; (1) frustration, (2) conceptualization, (3) behaviour, and (4) outcome. A Model of Organizational Conflict LEVELS OF CONFLICT • Irritation – The problems or difficulties are not significant; – you could do without them but they are easily ignored. • Annoyance – The problems bring a growing frustration, stress begins to increase and difficulties are expected. – Objections are usually voiced logically. • Anger – The problems bring about strong feelings of injustice, hurt and enmity. – Objections start being voiced emotionally. • Violence – The position taken is thought to be totally justified. – Retribution and payback become the order of the day; there is a need to win, irrespective of the cost, and for the other party to lose. – Physical action is thought to be appropriate. – Objections are expressed physically because argument using words has been to no avail - people walk off the job, go on strike, abuse the product, etc. CAUSES OF INTERPERSONAL CONFLICT • Conflict between individuals can also be brought about by: Poor communication • Conflict can arise “Where the parties are unable to express themselves, verbalise their needs, state the case adequately, provide logical and structured argument, or listen effectively” • The more limited the communication skills a person has, the greater possibility of physical violence. Perceived differences • Humans form groups naturally and distinguish their group from outsiders. • This can lead to possible conflict between: – races, – religions, – political systems and, – teams or departments at work. CAUSES OF INTERPERSONAL CONFLICT Biological orientation • This stems from the Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest. • Here it is suggested that conflict is both natural and healthy. • Nature is red in tooth and claw. • Weak organisations go to the wall. Spatial relationships • Individuals seem to need their own space. • Consequently, when there is overcrowding conflict usually increases. NEGOTIATION • Fisher and Ury (1981), principled negotiation or negotiation on merits. • Four principles of negotiation relate to, – People (separate people from the problem), – Interests (focus on Interests, not Positions) – Options, (invent Options for mutual Gain) and – Criteria (insist on using Objective criteria). • market value, attainment of specific goals, scientific judgment, ethical standards etc. Personality • “personality effects are influential and highly important in cooperation–conflict behaviour, EXTROVERTS, INTROVERTS AND CONFLICT • Extroverts are energised by the outside world, whereas introverts much prefer to go into themselves to be energised. • Extroverts will find out what they think and what they believe by talking, discussing and arguing with others. • Extroverts talk first and this helps them to think. • Extroverts are more likely to strive for collaborative or integrative style of handling conflict than introverts • Introverts, think and review things quietly on their own. • Introverts think first and this helps them to talk. • Conflict might occur when; – a) an extrovert cannot understand why an introvert will not talk to him/her about a conflict problem and – b) an introvert cannot understand why an extrovert won’t think through the situation first before talking and arguing. THINKERS, FEELERS AND CONFLICT • Thinkers like to base conclusions on facts using logic and analysis, and like to achieve objective truth as far as possible. • Thinkers find it easy to separate themselves from a situation and be dispassionate in their approach. • In conflict situations thinkers will seek the most logical solution, • Thinkers try to persuade by logic and feel frustrated when feelers are influenced by emotions, • The thinkers handle conflict through dominating and integrating styles. • Feelers are comfortable about making decisions according to their personal values, and usually strive for harmony and well-being. • Feelers place importance on emotions and empathy for the individuals involved in the situation. • Feelers strive for the most harmonious outcome. What is logical and what is harmonious are not usually the same. • The feelers handle conflict through compromising and obliging styles, SENSORS, INTUITIVES AND CONFLICT • People can have two very different ways of experiencing the world. • Sensors like to employ all of their five senses to gain facts and details about things that are going on in the present. • When they talk they are literal, specific and usually detailed. • Decisions are made when the facts and the figures are there to support a chosen option. • Intuitives are naturally drawn towards the big picture and the patterns, possibilities and options, as well as the meanings and connections between things. • Decisions tend to be made based on possibilities which rely on implications that are there to support them. • Conflict can occur when, – the sensors want to stay with the facts and the detail, and – the intuitives want to concentrate on the implications of the big picture. JUDGERS, PERCEIVERS AND CONFLICT • This is about how people like to organise their lives. • Judgers are usually organised, structured, like to make plans and start working on things early so that deadlines can be comfortably met. • They like to make decisions and work with minimum diversions. • Judgers love closure. • Perceivers find it easy to collect information before coming to a conclusion. • In their approach to life they are more free and easy, adaptable and flexible. • They prefer spontaneity rather than structure, and tend to dislike deadlines. • Conflict can arise when judgers want closure on a situation and work to create a structure to achieve it and then move on. They come into difficulty when perceivers attempt to keep the situation fluid by keeping their options open for as long as possible. Bases of Power • French and Raven’s (1959) bases of power – coercive, and non-coercive (reward, expert, legitimate, and referent), • Jamieson and Thomas (1974) examined students’ perception of their teachers’ bases of power and their own modes of handling conflict with teachers. • The students (at the high school and undergraduate levels) reported somewhat less accommodating (obliging) and somewhat more competing (dominating) styles with teachers who used more coercive power. • Coercive power was positively correlated with the competing (dominating) mode at the graduate level. • Referent power induced the accommodating (obliging) mode at the high school and undergraduate level and the collaborating (integrating) mode at the graduate level. Organizational Culture • Likert and Likert (1976), – exploitive–authoritative, – benevolent–authoritative, – consultative, and – participative organizations, • positive organizational climate, such as System IV, can provide for a more functional management of conflict than Systems I, II, or III. • E.g., when organisations resolve conflict through suppression or avoidance., its systems and procedures will be slow and cumbersome. GENDER and CONFLICT • Men and women differ psychologically in some respects. • There are thousands of exceptions to what is suggested here, but many of the below have been the basis of conflict between men and women since Eve persuaded Adam to eat the apple - or did Adam want to eat it in the first place? • Women like to talk about problems, Men prefer just to offer solutions. • Women listen to the emotional content and sometimes miss facts, Men hear facts and sometimes miss the emotional content. • Women like to take time over a decision, Men like to decide quickly. • Women like to show their feelings , Men like to hide their emotions. • Women like to multi-task, Men like to do things one at a time. • Women are more interested in people than things , Men are more interested in things than people. GENDER and STYLES • Women tend to be more integrating, avoiding, and compromising and less obliging than men managers. (Rahim, 1983a) • Females used more avoiding and compromising styles than males. (Cole, 1996) • males used more dominating styles than females, (Cole, 1996). Intervention Process • A transactional analysis training may be useful when members of an organization are having difficulty in the selection and use of integrating style, and/or they are making frequent use of obliging, dominating, and avoiding styles. Transactional analysis, developed by Berne (1961, 1964), • The three aspects of transactional analysis are, – structural analysis, – transactional analysis proper, and – life positions. Structural, or personality, analysis • It is the study of ego states (“coherent systems of thought and feeling manifested by corresponding patterns of behaviour”). • Human beings interact with each other in terms of three psychological states : – Parent (P), – Adult (A), and – Child (C). • Parent ego state: reflects the attitudes, values, and behaviour of authority figures, especially parents. • May include: – prejudicial, – critical, – manipulative, or – nurturing attitudes and behaviour. Contd. Adult ego state: • represents the rational part of personality and based on reason, collecting and processing information for problem solving. Child ego state • This state reflects the experiences and conditions of early childhood. • In this state, the individual becomes a child again. Transactional analysis proper • Transaction is the basic unit of communication. • The three ego states affect the interactions of a person with others. • The basic unit of communication is called a transaction. • There are three types of transactions; – Complementary or parallel transaction • “when stimulus and response on the P–A–C transaction diagram make parallel lines, the and can go on indefinitely – Uncomplementary or cross transaction • when a message from one ego state receives a response from a different ego state than intended. – Ulterior transaction • when the overt stimulus indicates a transaction at one level but the underlying intent of it may place the transaction at another level Life positions “person tends to be dominated by one of the four life positions (Harris, 1969)” Structural • Appeal to Authority • The Ombudsman – helping • tries to formulate unique, individualized solutions for employee conflict – fact-finding • tries to determine whether appropriate rules and procedures were followed and whether there is a satisfactory explanation for a complaint. • The structural mechanism can be used for routine conflict, • Should not undermines the formal hierarchical relationships in organizations, • Not appropriate for managing intergroup and other strategic conflicts.
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