Conflict presents itself in many ways and how that conflict is interpreted has a direct effect on the methods used to try and resolve it

Conflict presents itself in many ways and how that conflict is interpreted has a direct effect on the methods used to try and resolve it. Conflict has many definitions as a result and this paper will discuss the importance in defining conflict and how that impacts the ability to determine its causes. Conflict can be interpersonal, social, environmental, economic, or cultural. Conflicts are not always straight forward and can be multidimensional in terms of what is seen on the surface vs. what the underlying reasons really are. How conflict is defined is therefore critical as the definition contributes to the determination of its causes. Without a clear understanding of the conflict, the causes cannot be clearly assessed and can have detrimental effects when trying to resolve any conflict no matter how small or big it may be. The analytic approach also plays a major role in the ability to come to the conclusion of what the causes and potential remedies of a certain conflict actually are. The remainder of this paper will showcase a workplace conflict, the questions used to investigate the conflict itself, and how that conflict, along with its possible interventions, can vary based upon the analytic approach that is used. The two analytic approaches used will look at this conflict from the perspectives of theories of Basic Human Needs and a Cultural Approach Within the company I work for we experience conflict just about every day in some way. The conflict that I am focusing on for this paper is the one currently going on between our corporate, regional, and local management. In order to get a better understanding of the conflicts I first had to define what conflict was in order to try and even begin to understand its causes. I chose to use the definition provided by Louis Kriessberg and Bruce W. Dayton (2017) as, Conflict that occurs when two or more persons or groups manifest the belief that they have incompatible objectives (p. 2). The ramifications of what is happening between our levels of management can be felt everywhere within the company and in order to gain a deeper understanding of what the true conflict was I set out to uncover it by asking several staff members a series of four questions in hopes of enlightenment. I reached out to members of our corporate, regional, and local management as well as a few others who are indirectly involved as well at various levels within the company. Out of the 12 employees I asked to speak with, six agreed to speak with me. I asked everyone that participated the following four questions (1) Do you believe that there is currently conflict between management and if so what do you feel the conflict is and why (2) When and where has this conflict has affected you and/or your team the most (3) What would resolve this conflict for you and/or your team (4) What do you think will happen if this conflict is not resolved The responses I received and how they were interpreted varied upon the two analytical techniques I chose to approach this paper about. These specific questions were chosen in order to, not only, dig beneath the surface of what we can see happening (personality differences, being made to feel by corporate and regionals like lower class citizens at times) but also test out a theory. I suspect that the current conflict within our company is multi-dimensional and that are basic needs that are not being met along with cultural differences. Human Needs theory revolves around the idea that there are certain basic needs that are required for either an individual or a groups longevity. This theory was originally created by Abram Maslow and later expanded upon by John Burton and others. These basic needs are not always tangible (food, water, shelter, etc) but can be intrinsic as well (power/control, belongingness, safety) (Walsh, 2016, p. 286). If these needs are not met, by society or those in power this can then lead to various forms of conflict. A predominant response to what employees believe the conflict is between corporate/regional and local management is that, local management is not able to truly own their clinic as they have been told and therefore cannot grow their clinics to their full potential (L. Management 1, personal communication, September 11, 2018). Local management is told by corporate that they are responsible for decisions regarding their clinic, but regional and corporate managements actions reflect the complete opposite this. As a consequence, for some, this results in the inability to get as much done and therefore I am not as engaged as I could be. They (corporate management and regional management) tell me what I can and cannot do yet I am the only one with day to day knowledge about this location (L. Management 2, personal communication, September 11, 2018). From this framework the resolution seems quite clear and relatively simple. The need basic human need that local management is missing involves increased communication but more importantly the ability to control their own clinic. Each clinic location is different, and they have their own identity which needs to be fostered and grow. If Corporate/Regional management can do that then this conflict would resolve itself and we would see greater growth, then what we have currently. However, as we have seen throughout history, the simplest resolution is not always the easiest. This would require Corporate/Regional management to give up control and trust local management. If not resolved, this growing frustration, for the overwhelmingly majority of those spoken to, will eventually result in local management and perhaps even those indirectly involved to leave and explore new endeavors elsewhere. Although looking at the current conflict through basic human needs addressed part of the conflict it does not address it its entirely. There is also a cultural conflict going on at the same time. Defining culture is just as complex as defining conflict as there are many ways to define culture. Since this is a work related conflict I have chosen to take Ting-Toomey and Oetzel (2013) definition of conflict as, the implicit or explicit emotional struggle between persons of different cultural communities over perceived or actual incompatibility of cultural ideologies and values, situational norms, goals, face orientations, scare resources, styles/processes, and/or outcomes in a face-to-face (or mediated) context within a sociohistorical embedded system. (p. 635) As the definition suggests, cultural conflict can occur either at the microlevel of a work group or at the macrolevel in an international context, with far ranging effects that are manifested in emotional stress, behavioral disruptions, negative attitudes, and task interference (Stohl, McCann, Bakar, 2013) (Wang, 2018, p. 283). Its this framework that describes perfectly the second piece of the conflict. For local management and others, the inability to get anything accomplished has been overwhelming. In the past being able to implement new processes that would allow for more efficient workflow or provide visibility on critical areas was a rather simple process this is no longer the case. Nowadays it takes an average of 3-6 months to do this and often the only reason why this happens is because the owner or someone above regional management is requesting this be done. Often times even proposing a new idea is exhausting because if not suggested by the regionals they usually find a reason to not like it even though it would benefit the company (I. Involved, personal communication, September 12, 2018). Incredibly frustrating when you are used to making a decision and implementing immediately. Unable to implement because there is a lack of direction which implies a lack of leadership (L. Management 2, personal communication, September 11, 2018). I dread speaking with them as you never know which side you are going to get. Am I getting the nice side or the pit bull. I shouldnt dread seeing either phone number when they call but I do. (I. Involved 1, personal communication, September 12, 2018). This type of conflict is extremely toxic to the cohesiveness of a company because as time goes by if these frustrations are not addressed the toxicity will only grow and become, potentially, impossible to remedy. Over the years there have been several models developed to address cultural conflict. For Brett Behfar and Kern there are four which include adaptation, structural intervention, managerial intervention and exit (Wang, 2018, p. 285). To resolve this cultural conflict a combination of structural intervention, switching teams to eliminate conflict. Structural intervention is a reassignment designed to remove a source of conflict when members are affected by emotional tensions and managerial intervention, setting norms, rules, or policies early or bringing in a higher-level manager. Managerial intervention can be effective when the conflict has produced a high level of emotion and the team has reached a stalemate (Wang, 2018, p. 285) may be exactly what is needed. With structural intervention the current regional managers would be removed, and either be replaced with two others who embody the companies mission or that position would disappear entirely. Managerial intervention would bring together all parties involved however, this would need to be carefully done and the language used would be critical. Mediations, if not done properly, can sometimes cause more harm than good. The individual conducting the mediation would need to have a firm grasp of everyones frustrations and be bi-partisan. The mediator would have to ensure that they maintained control of the discussion and not allow any party to control or run the meeting for that could imply that they had chosen a side and cause the other party to emotionally shut down. For this social conflict a combination of both the human needs and cultural approach may be the best option. Each brings an important aspect of the major underlying issues that this company is experiencing within our corporate, regional and local management. Where the human needs approach allows a look into what needs are being taken away the cultural approach sheds light on the psychological aspect of what is happening emotionally to the employees. Work Cited Kriesberg, L., Dayton, B. W. (2017). Constructive Conflicts From Escalation to Resolution (Fifth). Rowman Littlefield. Walsh, D. (2016). How a Human Needs Theory Understanding of Conflict Enhances the Use of Consociationalism as a Conflict Resolution Mechanism The Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Ethnopolitics, 15(3), 285302. HYPERLINK https//doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2015.1024012 https//doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2015.1024012 Wang, J. (2018). Strategies for Managing Cultural Conflict Models Review and Their Applications in Business and Technical Communication. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 48(3), 281294. HYPERLINK https//doi.org/10.1177/0047281617696985 https//doi.org/10.1177/0047281617696985 Y, B8L 1(IzZYrH9pd4n(KgVB,lDAeX)Ly5otebW3gpj/gQjZTae9i5j5fE514g7vnO( ,[email protected] /[email protected] 6Q