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Conflicts are disagreements in which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interest, and/or concerns thus raising noticeable differences in positions of the involved parties. A conflict is more than a disagreement when based on the expected influence to human relationships.
Decision making is basically a process of the mind aimed at the selection of a desirable course of action from a variety of alternative solutions in response to a given problem at hand. For every decision making process there is a final choice that is either an action or an opinion (Monahan, 2000, pp.33-40).
An organization is a group of people working together towards a common achievement. Every organization has a structure and roles to be performed by every level in the structure; thus organizational design is the process of aligning the organizational structure, processes, rewards and capabilities in relation to the organization’s strategy of performance.
It is a path to effective execution of organizational strategies through making trade-offs of one set of structural benefits against the other (Gibson et al., 2003, p. 90).
Conflicts are expected in a normal organizational environment because of the existence of different personalities with divergent approaches to various situations depending on their experiences and abilities (Monahan, 2000, pp.33-40).
Due to the fact that such disagreements may cause a delay or at times stagnation in organizational development, there is need for decision making geared towards solving such conflicts in more favorable approach to ensure harmony and improve the organizational design in service performance.
This paper will address various issues related to conflicts, decision making and organization design. Focus will specifically be on various ways through which organizations can solve conflicts especially with use of creative management techniques and evidence-based management.
Negotiation in Addressing Conflict in the Workplace
Various techniques are followed to address conflicts within in the workplace. Negotiation techniques are approaches of a third party that help the individuals or parties in a conflict to confer with the other party with an aim of arriving at an acceptable settlement.
Commonly, there are three approaches to negotiation; that is, soft negotiation that aims at making peace and thus readily arrives at concessions to resolve or avoid the conflict at hand, hard negotiation displays a conflict as a struggle in which one party takes the extreme stand and holds out fares better, while positional bargaining entails successive taking and giving up of positions to arrive at an agreement.
Irrespective of the selected negotiation approach to conflicts, the process of negotiation often leaves people dissatisfied and worn out. Positional bargaining is sometimes inefficient and fails to give a peaceable solution. This is because it makes negotiators narrow on the position at the expense of the original interests of either party.
It may also slug the whole process of conflict resolution in a situation where each individual maintains an extreme position rather than joining to give an acceptable solution effectively turning the whole thing into a battle. At times it also provides an agreement that may reflect a split of differences rather than careful and creative development of a solution of mutual benefit.
For efficiency in problem solving, there is need for the negotiator to adopt a stepwise strategy for creating a mutual agreement in conflicts. The four basic steps are separating the people from the problem, focusing on individual interest not positions, inventing options for mutual gain, and insisting on using objective criteria in evaluating a proposed solution.
The problem and the people should be treated separately because conflict are normally not due to personality limitations but due to differences in human perceptions, emotions, and communication. A distinction should be established between individual perceptions and realities and also between relationship of the intentions of the other conflicting party and one’s fears.
This helps every party see the conflict from every side withholding judgments and later on making proposals consistent with accepted values (Shelton & Darling 2004, p.38). There is need to recognize and understand personal emotions from both sides and make them explicit which is followed by communication describing the problem in terms of the impact not the action committed.
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Focusing on interests at the expense of positions is essential in achieving a wise and fair solution because behind opposed positions lie shared and compatible problems.
This is followed by the creation of a wide variety of options in the search of the best solution and choosing a solution that ensures mutual gain by use of shared interests (Shelton & Darling 2004, p. 30). The success of a negotiation process depends on its efficient, production of a wise and mutually beneficial agreement building a relationship of trust, respect and friendship making further negotiations even easier.
Evidence-based management is a management movement that involves the adoption of best available scientific evidence in making managerial decisions and organizational practices for effective management (Rousseau & McCarthy, 2007, p. 104). Furthermore, it provides a consideration of the circumstances and ethical concerns that managerial decisions involve.
For effective application of evidence based management in a financial management there is need for educating both current and future managers in evidence-based initiatives (Kovner et al, 2000, p.3-26). Knowledge in such initiatives will help financial managers to effectively carry out management practices in a situation of theft of fraud.
For example, in a situation where an individual’s bank account is accessed and debited in a manner different from the best known by the bank, there is need to retrieve the client’s documents such as the credit card and reset all access practices for purposes of security.
EB Management enhances the overall quality of organizational decisions and practices through deliberative use of relevant and best available scientific evidence in with great care and following legal frameworks (Romme, 2003, p. 559).
Use of such practices has to be ethical, valid and reliable to business and organizational facts and considerable to their impacts to stakeholders. Despite the benefits of EBManagement, there are objections that it makes management an exercise of power and exploitative in nature (Learmonth & Harding, 2006, pp.245-266).
Creative Decision Making
Creative decision making entails a situation where the decision maker looks at choices as opportunities but not problems helping him work through difficult decisions with care and thus creating an understanding and confidence in the decisions made (Monahan, 2000, pp.33-40). This is because decisions are quite significant in the achievement of organizational objectives.
Creative decision making follows five basic chronological stages, namely; interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, and explanation (Shelton & Darling 2004, p.38).
Interpretation provides a comprehensive understanding of a problem; analysis helps in identifying the inferred relationships among concept; evaluation assesses the credibility of the concepts which are then inferred to secure elements needed to draw reasonable conclusions and lastly explanation is justifying the results of one’s reasoning.
There are four basic, methods of decision making; use of command, consultation, voting and creation of consensus. Use of command entails absence of other people’s involvement by either outside forces placing demands on the organization or due to a laxity in involvement in decision making.
Consultation entails a situation where the decision maker invites to influence in the decision making process, this either the experts or a representative population. It is considered an efficient way of gaining supportive ideas. Use of voting is used when selecting from a variety of options in a situation where greater value is placed on efficiency.
Finally, consensus involves discussion of the problem at hand until an honestly agreed upon decision is made producing unity and high quality decisions. However, it is time wasting and thus only efficient in complex issues of high-stakes and issues where a collective agreement is basic.
The process of choosing a method for decision making entails identifying the individuals willing to participate, the individuals with the expatriate, those who are corporative and the maximum number of people who must participate in decision making (Andriopoulos, 2001, p.834).
For a financial institution, seeking for consultation from expatriate is very essential in decision making for it provides room for research in the best available financial practices. Thus the best method of decision making has to involve consultation.
In determining the organizational design, various factors are put into consideration; these factors include organizational behavior, function, product or category, targeted customers or market, the geography of the market and the area coverage of the targeted market space. Organizational behavior describes individuals’ actions in an organization in carrying their functional duties.
The category of an organization is its specialization in service/product delivery in the market say financial services. The targeted customers for an organization refer to specific clients to whom the services and products are to be delivered; for example the public constitutes the major market for financial services of a bank (Kates & Galbraith, 2007, p.37).
Conflict management, decision making and organizational design are ongoing procedures in an organization. They involve continual communication and supervision of the organizational performance in relation to efficiency and effectiveness in business operation.
For maximum benefit to be realized from the above procedures there is need for ensuring organizational flexibility and constant evaluation of every business procedure adopted.
More importantly is the need for corporations and other workplaces in the 21st century to explore and adopt scientific companies do whatever they can to retain their employees especially the experienced ones. That way, they will be able to retain a talented pool of employees able to deliver goals based on an entity’s mission and vision.
Effective management based on creative approaches in decision making, evidence based management will go a long way in helping corporations based management methods in conflict management, decision making, and organizational design.
Because of scarcity of some skills in the job market and high turnover among human resources, it is necessary that in achieving their long-term plans in the markets they operate. Besides, effective conflict management ensures harmony among employees which is crucial to effective functioning of a business entity.
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