Conflict resolution is an approach that involves the development of strategies to find a way in which two or more conflicting parties can arrive at a peaceful solution. Conflict resolution is vital in an organization, and the respective leaders should develop the respective skills. Below is a conflict resolution process applied by a manager of an organization where two employees leading the same department are in disagreement. The report will provide an overview of the conflict, identify and discuss the sources of the conflict, develop a conflict resolution strategy and discuss respective communication strategies that will be used in the process. The report will then create a conflict resolution action plan and conclude with a recommendation to the manager and the organization.
The referenced conflict incident involves two employees who head individual teams in the respective organization. Upon assessment of the situation, the conflict stems from three sources of conflict. The first source is poor communication between the two employees. Focusing on the argument of Employee A, the argument is that Employee B portrays instances of poor decision-making, disorganization, changes in priorities and changes in techniques to manage situations frequently. From the argument, it could be argued that Employee A is not receiving clear or enough information on the reasons and the nature of the decisions Employee B is making (Musheke and Phiri, 2021).
On the same note, the employee feels the changes in priorities and strategies to manage situations are too often, and that should not be the case. However, it is right to make such changes in an organization owing to emerging trends in human behaviour, organizational needs and market needs which are further associated with changes in primary conditions such as health, economic and natural environmental issues. Due to such changes, service consumers change their preferences and buying decisions (Pandey, 2020). From that perspective, employee A could lack information on the rationale for such changes made by Employee B, which is classified as a poor communication problem.
To further develop the communication problem, employee B, although they do not take the initiative to educate Employee A on respective factors, claims that Employee A does not pay enough attention to details and does not participate in planning meetings. That argument backs the perspective of poor communication evident from employee A’s argument. Despite being a communicator in this context, employee B should communicate respective issues to Employee A through the meetings; it is also the responsibility of the individual receiving the piece of communication and, in this context, employee A to make efforts to obtain the information (Musheke and Phiri, 2021). Employee A, therefore, should have attended the planning meetings and paid the necessary attention to details to understand the developed and implemented changes.
The second source of conflict between the two employees is clashes between personalities and values. Both employees blame each other for possessing and exhibiting poor values, which play critical roles in their failures in their respective ways. Employee A argues that Employee B is disorganized and lazy and takes advantage of the team. On the other hand, employee B accuses Employee B of possessing and portraying poor values and skills, which are favouritism and undermine the efforts to create a working system to ensure the two teams collaborate. The arguments between the two employees depict that they disagree with each other’s values and personalities, which is the second source of conflict in the case scenario (Hussein and Al-Mamary, 2019).
The third source of conflict is a lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities. A lack of such knowledge in an organization, especially when there are heads at a certain level, results in conflicts. That is because the involved individuals will assume responsibilities meant for their colleagues and proceed to have certain expectations from their colleagues (Anglin et al., 2022). On the same note, the employee will discard their responsibilities and roles and assume them to be upon their colleagues. In such a situation, one employee will fail to do their role and transfer their failures to another, who will violently discard the blame. In such an environment, conflict is imminent.
Focusing on the case scenario, employee A, according to the claims made by Employee B, failed to follow up on missed meetings, a course of action that could be attributed to the assumption that Employee B should deliver the meeting minutes. Although it is not described, it is possible that it was not the responsibility of Employee B to hand the minutes to Employee A and, after the meetings, proceeded to implement the plans agreed upon. As a result, employee A complained of Employee B making irrational decisions and ignoring the views of Employee A. Additionally, employee A because of the potential assumption of the responsibilities of Employee B felt disassociated from the organization because of the consistent changes Employee B made without involving the employee. The nature of conflict and referencing the argument, it is evident that the organization did not provide clear descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of employees, hence the evidence of claims made by employee B about employee B (Anglin et al., 2022).
Regardless of Employee B’s claims, it is evident that Employee A did not attend planning meetings regularly, and the absconding could be an attribute of a lack of communication of job roles and responsibilities (Raub et al., 2021). Another important and applicable argument from Employee B about Employee A that provides insight into the applicability of the source of conflict is the claim that Employee A actively undermined efforts towards creating strategies to bring the two teams together. Although it is not stated, it is an organization’s policy for all teams to collaborate, and the action by employee A to resist team collaboration is a potential indication of a lack of proper communication of the roles and responsibilities of employees, especially on joint operations.
The involved parties, employees A and B, have perceptions about the conflict that the other has failed due to possessing poor and unreliable personalities and values regarding professionalism. As a result, each blames the other for the issues affecting them. From their claims, each employee could be in the wrong because that argument escalates from the failures of one employee to their unique behaviours within the organization. Initially, the employees were specific with the problems of each other. However, after having a session with their manager, they proceeded to point out behaviours of each other which they perceived to be unprofessional and to limit personal performance.
Selection of the Ideal Conflict Resolution Strategy
As the manager of the organization and the leader of the conflicting employees, the appropriate conflict resolution strategy for the situation is the collaborating strategy. The collaborating strategy in conflict resolution entails promoting high assertiveness and cooperation among the employees (El Khatib et al., 2022). From that perspective, it will be appropriate to establish a working relationship between the two employees, which will be achieved through the collaborating strategy. The primary rationale for identifying the technique is the nature of the conflict, which is a conflict between two heads of teams within the same organization and departments. That aspect calls for maximum cooperation between the two employees and their teams, and focusing on the conflict overview, the decisions of one employee affect the performance and job satisfaction of the other, hence the need for a positive relationship between employees A and B.
By applying the collaborating strategy, the employees will be influenced to satisfy individual and other’s concerns. As a result, they will not only seek to achieve individualized plans but also fulfil their colleague’s job needs. Therefore, employee A will attend meetings to participate in planning and, as a result, be informed of the organizational milestones while promoting Employee B’s performance in implementing the individual plans. Similarly, employee B will ensure effective communication with Employee A, especially during meetings and the respective agenda. By doing so, the employee will actualize the objectives of the respective plans, such as priorities and management of crises, because of the support from Employee A. That will further satisfy the needs of employee A because of being on board with the plans for potential changes, and as a result, not feel ignored and further develop a sense of belonging in the organization and the department (Anastasiou, 2020).
Conflict Resolution Strategy Communication Methods
To solve the conflict between employees A and B, the organization manager and their leader must employ critical, practical and effective communication techniques. Applying a suitable communication technique in conflict management is vital because it ensures effective listening and presentation of opinions and ideas. As a result, the conflicting parties will receive comprehensive guidelines, which will influence peace (Marsen, 2020). Additionally, the selection of an ideal communication method will ensure that the conflicting parties are well represented in the process, as it eliminates bias and further promotes active listening, thus ensuring that as the manager handling the issue, one can understand the problem’s root cause and further identify different ways in which to handle the employees.
Because of the significance of communication in conflict management, the manager will employ different communication techniques to solve the conflict between the two employees. The first technique is listening, which is important for collecting critical employee information. The anticipated information to be collected would be potential personal issues attributing to the escalation of the conflict (Reardon, 2023). Other information to be collected would be more causes for the conflict than the presented ones and observation of personal values and personalities that can be exploited to initiate anticipation to end the conflict.
The second technique will be verbal communication which will entail conveying respective opinions by the manager to the two employees geared towards conflict resolution. The third technique will be written communication, which will contain the presentation of documents and letters to the employees, facilitating conflict resolution by building on the foundations the listening and verbal communication methods have built (Marsen, 2020). The fourth technique will be non-verbal communication, a method that involves the expression of facial expressions and the use of gestures and body movements. The essence of the method in this conflict resolution process is to enhance feelings of association, acknowledgement, respect, value and concern from the manager (Marsen, 2020).
Plan of Action
In contribution towards the conflict resolution of the issues raised by employees A and B, as a manager, the approach used will be a step-based process containing 11 steps. The steps are aimed at influencing the development of perspectives by the employees on their mistakes and influencing them to own the mistakes. That will be further enhanced by the development of perspectives influencing the adoption of interest and observation of methods that will influence their harmonious collaboration. The steps involved in the process are as follows;
Communication of the Meeting Intentions
After convening and attending the meeting, at its start, the manager will communicate the intentions of the meeting and the desired outcomes to the employees. The essence of this step will be to ensure that the employees remain on track and also understand that the manager, their leader, has certain expectations that they should collectively work towards achieving (Stirpe et al., 2022).
Setting Meeting Rules
After communicating the objectives of the meeting, the manager will proceed to set the rules that will guide the interactions (Stirpe et al., 2022). That is important because, in the previous meeting, the employees got verbally and physically aggressive, which limited conflict resolution. Setting rules will further be enhanced with potential consequences of violating the rules.
Reviewing the Problem as Presented Earlier
After setting the rules and ensuring that the employees understand them, the manager will proceed to listen to their arguments about each other, and the manager will employ the listening skill more in this section (Reardon, 2023). The employees will therefore be expected to respectfully present their claims and listen to each other’s claims. That will be followed by personalized responses by accounting for their actions.
Asking the Employees to Describe their Expectations from each other in the Department
After listening to their claims, the manager will proceed to guide the employees in describing their expectations from each other and the organization. The essence of the step is to start the journey of collaboration whereby the employees will understand that they need each other (El Khatib et al., 2022). On the same note, the manager will help the employees understand that their respective actions affect their colleagues and, in turn, appreciate the collaboration method that advocates for achieving one’s goals while satisfying the needs of others in an organization.
Asking them about their Roles and Responsibilities
After describing what they expect from each other, the manager will proceed to ask the employees to describe their roles and responsibilities, and that is because, from the evaluation of the problem, it was discovered that there is a potential problem with understanding roles and responsibilities. The manager will understand what they understand of their job descriptions in the department (Sahoo and Sahoo, 2019).
Presenting them with the Organizational Roles and Responsibilities in their Positions
After the employees have described their roles and responsibilities according to how they understand them, the manager will provide them with the documented roles and responsibilities of their positions. The manager will guide them to understand the items as described, identify the areas they are doing wrong, and improve them (Stirpe et al., 2022). The manager will also ensure that they understand their job descriptions.
Education on Collaboration
The next step is education on collaboration, in which the manager will guide the employees by describing the benefits of collaboration within an organization and the potential milestones they would achieve through collaboration in their department (El Khatib et al., 2022).
Reviewing Organizational Values, Vision and Mission statements
The next step is a review and analysis of the organizational values, mission and vision statements. That is important because it will help the employees relate their practices and personal goals within the statements and align with the organizational culture (Wei et al., 2022).
Reviewing their Employment Contracts
After reviewing the statements and the company culture, the manager will guide the employees to review their employment contracts. That is important because it is from the documents that the employees will revisit the organizational description of the code of conduct and communication channels, which will limit internal conflicts (Wei et al., 2022).
Guiding them in Setting Goals
The manager will then help the employees set individual and joint goals, especially because they work in the same department. However, individual goals will be set privately, and the employees will be required to individually submit the goals to the manager in the absence of each other. The manager will further guide personal goal setting that considers their colleague’s performance (Raub et al., 2021). Setting goals is vital as it will advance their commitment and loyalty to the organization and adherence to the vision and mission of the company.
The final step is a follow-up, which the manager will execute after the completion and effectiveness of the conflict resolution process. After two months, the manager will start a follow-up activity based on the individual and joint goals set. The manager will assess the achievement of the goals and how they reflect on the performance of the employees regarding the effectiveness of the organization’s service delivery to its external clients (Turesky et al., 2020). Afterwards, the manager will guide on areas where employees might have been off-track and emphasize collaboration and individualized conflict management.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In this conflict resolution report, the major factors identified to play a critical role in conflict resolution in an organization that a manager can implement are a practical selection of communication strategies and integration of an effective conflict resolution technique. The conflict resolution approach is the collaboration method that guides employees to achieve their projections while supporting their colleagues to satisfy their practice needs. The communication approaches utilized are critical listening, verbal communication, written communication and non-verbal communication. From the two perspectives, the manager has developed an eleven-step conflict resolution plan which builds from understanding the problem, helping employees identify the problem, guiding them to adopt strategies towards addressing the problem, and finally building a working relationship. From the report overview, it is recommended that the manager create a program to educate the employees on conflicts and resolutions and workshops on understanding and applying their respective job roles and responsibilities.
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