When conflict develops within an organization, there are different ways that managers can handle issues. The three different perspectives regarding conflict are traditional, interactionalist and managed conflict.
Violet Jones, Geoffrey Burger and Cindy Salsa are three managers at the local Intestinal Distress Taco restaurant. Managers at the restaurant have an extremely stressful job. They have to handle conflict from employees, other managers, bosses and customers. Workplace conflict occurs due to disagreements in goals, facts or expectations.
All three managers have different ways of interpreting and handling conflict within their organization. The three views of conflict are traditional, interactionalist and managed conflict. Let's see how each manager handles a different problem using a unique conflict perspective when it comes to Intestinal Distress Taco.
Violet Jones has been employed with Intestinal Distress Taco for a few years. She is a rising star in management and has overcome many job problems with her traditional view of conflict. A traditional view is when conflict is seen as a negative and disruptive type of organizational behavior. Individuals view conflict as destructive and will avoid it at all costs. Violet would rather not reprimand an employee and have conflict arise. Instead, she prefers to try and solve problems herself.
Opposite of Violet, some other managers with a traditional view try to eliminate conflict with an authoritarian iron fist. They do not listen to other views and force decisions on subordinates. Either way, under the traditionalist view, no conflict is acknowledged.
Violet's co-manager Geoffrey has a different approach to conflict. Geoffrey Burger is the newest manager at the taco restaurant. He views conflict totally different than Violet. In fact, he feels that conflict can empower a group as well as destroy it. This view of conflict is called interactionalist. Geoffrey believes that conflict can either be dysfunctional or functional in nature.
For example, some of the managers have gotten into arguments over who gets the one corner office. This is dysfunctional conflict because the fighting results in a win-lose situation with only one manager benefiting. A functional version of this same situation would be if all of the managers discussed how to share the corner office to create a win-win positive outcome. The managers could have a lottery or rotate use of the office. In both examples, the conflict acts as a catalyst to cause change in an organization. If managers employ functional conflict, the changes can be good.
The last manager has adopted the third view of conflict. This perspective is called managed conflict, or human relations view. Cindy Salsa believes that conflict is a natural and inevitable process in organizations. This perspective also accepts that conflict can be both negative and positive in nature. Cindy believes that conflict is good but only to a point. Excessive conflict will undo any positive changes or feedback.
By this theory, managers should not ignore or hide conflict but instead learn how to accept, manage and control issues. A speedy solution needs to occur from the onset of the initial conflict. Cindy is the type of manager to have an open-door policy where employees can bring problems to her attention. She likes to quickly diagnose conflict.
A recent example is how Cindy handled a supplier issue. One of the suppliers was delivering lower-quality napkins, and customers were complaining about it. A subordinate quickly brought the issue to Cindy, who called and complained to the supplier. Once the supplier discovered that Cindy was going to switch companies, they upgraded her napkin quality immediately, without any increase in price. Cindy was thankful to deal with the conflict quickly as the end result solved her organizational issue.
Workplace conflict occurs due to disagreements in goals, facts or expectations. When conflict develops within an organization, there are different ways that managers can handle issues. The three different perspectives regarding conflict are traditional, interactionalist and managed conflict.
Traditional is when an individual views conflict as completely negative and disruptive. The interactionalist perspective is when an individual actually embraces conflict and feels that it helps the organization. The last perspective is managed conflict, in which the individual accepts conflict as an inevitable part of business and deals with it without encouraging it.
After seeing this video lesson, you should be able to see that in organizational conflict you can:
- Identify traditional conflict as no conflict being recognized
- Remember interactionalist conflict can be either dysfunctional or functional
- Recall that managed conflict accepts conflict and works to immediately deal with the situation