Business corporations and institutions are prone to experiencing conflicts between the employees or management and employees. Within a workplace, various kinds of disputes may arise, and in turn, they determine the direction towards which the business institution is driven. All of the preceding workplace confrontations are caused by miscommunications, closed-mindedness, and passive-aggressive attitude. Disputes in management develop due to differences in leadership approaches, arguments that emerge as a consequence of discriminatory treatment at work, and personnel deployment of different working techniques. Therefore, conflict management and resolution strategies are vital in ensuring g conflicts within a workplace are minimized. Conflict management is a methodology for resolving disagreements in which harmful consequences are mitigated and positive outcomes are emphasized (Caputo et al., 2018). When conflict is handled efficiently, a corporation can reduce interpersonal conflicts, increase client experience, and achieve better commercial outcomes. This paper aims to identify a conflict within a workplace and apply the six various discussed conflict management techniques to minimize the conflict within the institution and in the future.
Description of how I Prepared for the Interaction
Recently, there was employee unrest at my workplace due to the unfavorable working conditions within the institution. The management had increased the working hours without specifying whether the additional working hours would be paid for. Within the first month of the overtime initiation, the employee was not compensated, and no clear communication was passed from the management regarding the unpaid overtime hours during the previous month. As the employee representative, I took a stance to mediate between my colleagues and the administration. The management would come out and explain why it did not pay the overtime it imposed on us.
In trying to solve the conflict between the employees and the management, I used the following six conflict resolution strategies because I thought they best fit the scenario at my workplace. First, I used withholding judgment to bring about a harmonious and peaceful environment within the institution. It is difficult to avoid passing the hasty decision on to individuals we meet and interact with daily. People make observations, either silently or vocally, about the individuals who precede past them on the elevator, the chef who serves them food, and the enormous multitude of travelers wandering about on the road. It is human instinct to form snap judgments about individuals before learning their tales or histories, and according to Quan et al. (2020), it is a vice that all individuals possess. The most effective connections are founded on respect, which individuals can only provide after thoroughly understanding and comprehending someone else’s experience (Quan et al., 2020). The overwhelming bulk of polite and sensible attitudes toward other individuals are established after knowing their origins, adventures, and battles to get to where they are present.
Therefore, before making any prejudgments about the management’s decision of not to pay the employees’ overtime hours, I listened to the human resource manager’s explanation of the decision not to pay employees. Withholding judgment enabled me to think thoroughly about the issue and make sound judgments that brought about peace between the conflicting parties. To reduce escalating the matter further, I withheld my verdict on the problem of interest. Upon consulting with the Human Resource Manager (HRM), he stated that the company had not paid the overtime because the production level was low. Overtime was introduced to increase production levels as they believed that the company would improve its sales and profitability with increased production levels.
Additionally, the manager stipulated that despite the higher production levels, not much profitability was realized; therefore, the generated income would not cater to salary increments. I realized that this information was not passed to us, and thus I advised him that they should have communicated to the employees before payment of salaries as the management. Therefore, it was essential to share this information with the employees. I felt that communicating the information to the employees was a better solution since it would make them understand the decision taken by the management not to pay for the overtime hours worked. Furthermore, communication is an integral part of an organization as it ensures that tasks and activities are duly performed to reduce incidences of conflict.
Second, in engaging with the HRM, I talked and interrupted less. Communication is vital in all types of relationships, from marriage to business. Open attention demonstrates respect, avoids uncertainty and ambiguities, and keeps their temper in check. Therefore, this technique was a critical conflict resolution technique since communication is frequently predicated on the existence of a relationship between two parties. This bond of confidence and regard was necessary for the dialogue to be constructive and for both participants to participate in decision-making. Disruptions impair one’s capacity to build good communication patterns within the interaction since they imply that what the other individual is communicating is less significant than what they have to contribute (Clark et al., 2019). In cases where an individual is interrupted, this implies that their time is not valued enough to commit it to them.
Therefore, talking and interrupting the manager’s conversation less enabled us to reach a consensus that was right for both parties. Upon hearing what the HRM had to say about the issue, I advised that it was significant despite the low profit turn out that we employees be paid some increment to cater to the job done outside the working hours. This suggestion was necessary and helpful since employees expected to be compensated because overtime is done outside working hours. The additional payment would also motivate the employees, thus working extra hard for more production to realize the company’s objective.
Third, I chose the optimal degree of powerful language technique to manage the conflict. Practical and powerful language use enables people to communicate effectively in today’s society, both at home and in the workplace. Appropriate language use enables one to become a more effective communicator and a moderator. One of the first necessary elements for language comprehension is how humans ascribe significance to words (Meyer, 2018). As with anything else in life, there are advantageous and disadvantageous ways to use language. One of the most concepts that I considered as the mediator was appropriateness when considering language use.
By relevance, it implied that the language was relevant or suitable for me as a moderator, our listeners, the presenting setting, and the communication itself. Therefore, in communicating my opinions to the manager and the employees, I used an ideal level of persuasive language. Persuasion is critical for effective conflict management since negotiated agreements frequently fail if the players do not genuinely feel they are in their self-interest. The employees’ demand that they are paid for the overtime work done in a disorderly manner prompted the HRM to give termination of employment letters to the highly angered employees.
During the early stages of talks, reputation and protection concerns frequently controlled the HRM and the employees. Using persuasive language to communicate the employees’ grievances enabled me to convince the manager to see sense in paying the employees the work done during overtime. On the other hand, the HRM had requested more effort put into production by the employees, with which we agreed. The technique was helpful as it created a win-win solution for both parties as it entailed much more than merely making an offer and expecting the other party to comply. Furthermore, the ability to consistently advocate for my suggestion and convince others of its virtues was critical in this situation.
Forth, demonstrating interest in others was an essential methodology in managing conflict between two conflicting parties. Expressing an interest in others helps them develop their confidence and strength and enables them to feel significant, appreciated, and valuable (Rahim, 2017). During the whole negotiation process, I keenly listened to all parties genuinely without solely supporting the ideas of one group. So much as I wanted the conflict managed and in the interest of all the parties, I ensured that the needs of the employees were adequately addressed since I was one of them. Constantly, I stressed the need for the organization, through the HRM, to ensure that the workers were compensated for the overtime worked.
Consequently, I also agreed with the HRM’s suggestion that we, the employees, needed to improve production to realize the firm’s objective of maximum profitability. According to Rahim (2017), demonstrating that they are valuable would see them give a favorable response to one’s comments, views, and suggestions. When individuals are sincerely interested in other people, they create strong bonds (Rahim, 2017). By leaning on one party’s interest and ignoring the other, it raises the question of the other party on one’s interest in the conflicting issue. Furthermore, people are not dumb and can tell whether one’s inquiry is genuine or solely for their self-advantage. The essence of demonstrating interest in others enabled the parties to have confidence in me and reduce the instances of deceitful thoughts towards me.
Fifth, focusing on solving the problem and not controlling others was another technique I applied in managing the situation. By appropriately describing conflicts, one makes them more straightforward, which results in time, financial, and resource savings. Taking time to thoroughly assess their position in seclusion while concentrating on possibilities rather than issues will renew their minds and help them focus on providing solutions. Additionally, how an individual will feel and, most importantly, how they will see the disappointment from that point forward arises. On the other hand, the better we understand the situation, the more likely an individual will identify the leading cause and develop remedies to ensure the concern does not return (Rahim, 2017). Throughout the process, I focused solely on both parties’ solutions; however, the disagreements. For instance, the human resource manager had resorted to not paying for the overtime work done by the employees rather than paying only when mass production would be made possible by the employees.
On the other hand, the employees had threatened not to work overtime if their previous month’s overtime salary was not paid. At that point, no solution met the needs of both parties. Therefore, I suggested that we are paid a token then; subsequently, the employees would give their all to meet its objective. This suggestion was helpful as it provided a win-win situation for both parties. The first stage in every problem-solving process is to identify the issue. After all, one wishes to know whether their answer genuinely resolves the problem. The most evident cost of exerting control over others is the emotional toll. Employees that have a positive attitude toward their work are more likely to work even harder, remain with the organization, and be more efficient. When workers believe they are mistreated, exploited, or subjected to prejudice, they may seek another job or underperform.
Lastly, concurring with the criticisms was another technique I used in managing the conflict. Agreeing with objections is an integral part as it ensures that one is open to correction and suggestions. For instance, at one point, one of the employees shouted that I was not representing their grievances appropriately and that another individual mediated on their behalf. I did not respond negatively to their comment but instead agreed with them not to escalate the problem. I decided on their request because it gained their trust, and I had their interest at heart.
Description of the Interaction
The interaction process was cumbersome and tiring in dealing with the two conflicting parties. In one of the instances, I mentioned to the HRM that it was prudent that the employees receive total compensation for the time they worked overtime for work outside of business hours. I continued by stating that if that suggestion was difficult, they had to employ an additional workforce working overnight because the current employees would not work overtime with no pay. The HRM’s reaction was that they would partially compensate for the overtime work in the previous month because hiring an additional workforce to work the overtime would be expensive for the firm. I contended with the HRM’s decision to pay for the work done in overtime partially.
I ended up using the optimal degree of powerful language techniques to manage the conflict. For instance, I persuaded the HRM that compensating the worker for the job done over time would only motivate them to work harder and be productive. Simultaneously, the HRM requested more effort be put into production by the employees, with which we agreed. The most exciting part was the calm and understanding nature of the HRM. These two features transitioned a smooth discussion throughout hence providing a win-win solution for both parties. Despite the efforts to push for total overtime compensation, the management agreed to partial payment, which the employees welcomed though not to our fulfillment. The partial compensation was due to inadequacy of funds by the company due to low profitability realized in the previous month.
Description of the Outcome of the Interview
The interaction was fruitful and successful since it helped manage the conflict between the administration and the employees. My primary objectives were to ensure that the employees were fully compensated and that the conflict ceased to exist. In the end, the goals were partially achieved as compensation was done partially, and on the other hand, the dispute was solved. The firm’s low capital base hindered the full payment, whereas the agreement for partial compensation ended the conflict.
From the situation, I brought about emotional intelligence and open communication. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to sense and comprehend the feelings of others and one’s own. Open communication provided a platform where employees would air out their concerns to the administration, something they were afraid to do earlier. My biggest challenge was succumbing to the pressure of angry and uncontrollable employees. In case of a similar conflict, I would assess the situation keenly and bear in mind that disagreement is a natural part of any continuous relationship.
Caputo, A., Marzi, G., Pellegrini, M. M., & Rialti, R. (2018). Conflict management in family businesses: A bibliometric analysis and systematic literature review. International Journal of Conflict Management, 29(4), 519-542.
Clark, L., Pantidi, N., Cooney, O., Doyle, P., Garaialde, D., Edwards, J., Spillane, B., Gilmartin, E., Murad, C., Munteanu, C., Wade, V., & Cowan, B. R. (2019). What makes a good conversation? Challenges in designing truly conversational agents. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 475, 1-12.
Meyer, L. (2018). The neural oscillations of speech processing and language comprehension: state of the art and emerging mechanisms. European Journal of Neuroscience, 48(7), 2609-2621.
Quan, J., Yang, X., Wang, X., Yang, J. B., Wu, K., & Dai, Z. (2020). Withhold-judgment and punishment promote cooperation in indirect reciprocity under incomplete information. EPL (Europhysics Letters), 128(2), 28001. Web.
Rahim, M. A. (2017). Managing Conflict in Organizations. Routledge.