When investors establish projects, they hope that they will have employees, who will work together towards the progress of the entire project. However, in the contemporary world, it is almost impossible to have a conflict-free working environment. In one or more occasions, people may tend to have some negative attitudes towards their workmates, and they may end up discriminating them.
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Moreover, there could be aggressions, tensions, and antagonism that may bring frustrations in the workplace. The mentioned issues play a significant role in raising conflict at the workplace, where employees ought to work together in harmony. The most interesting thing about this topic is that conflict is inseparable with humanity, and people can only learn to avoid it in their daily errands.
Essentially, conflict is a natural aspect that is necessary if people have to progress positively. Moreover, managing conflict at the workplace is an opportunity to portray personal growth. Whenever managers display their potentiality to manage conflict and cope effectively with the potential quarrels that may arise at the workplace, they prove to be competent for their positions.
Indeed, it is a requirement for every manager to be able to recognize a conflict, identify its source, analyze its possible constructive or destructive effect to the organization, and have a practical way to address the conflict. The study on conflict management at the workplace is imperative, as it address vital issues that affect people in almost all organizations.
Most managers may disagree that they have shortfalls in their approaches of dealing with conflict management; however, the bitter truth is that they have gaps to mend if they aspire to be great managers. The study will explore the various ways that employers and managers ought to employ while dealing with ambiguous situations in the workplace. Essentially, the researcher will seek the information from the affected employees.
The vital information will enable managers to identify the gaps in their conflict resolution approaches, and work towards improving the approaches. The research will play a great role in enhancing the decision making process of the managers, as they will base their decisions on the best approaches to conflict management defined in the research report.
This research aims at examining the various conflict management practices in various workplaces. The researcher will employ various ways to identify the possible sources of conflicts, and the best ways to resolve the conflicts. A great comparison of the various approaches that different managers employ will be beneficial to interested stakeholders.
After the successful completion of the study, the researcher will make decisive conclusions and recommendations that will be very useful in increasing employees’ productivity. It is noteworthy that companies will be the greatest beneficiaries of this research, as enhanced conflict management skills will result into an increased performance of the entire company.
Since conflict management is one of the core variables of the productivity of a company, the entire society will enjoy the benefits of increased productivity. Customers will be indirect beneficiaries of the improved conflict management approaches as they may obtain enhanced products and services afterwards. With the enhanced productivity, the economy will replenish, and every individual will enjoy the benefits of a replenished economy.
A project manager is obligated to handle the difficult role of managing all kinds of conflicts regardless of the level of emotion involved. In fact, competent managers take the shortest time possible to resolve conflicts using minimal resources. Unfortunately, most managers spend time that ought to add value to the company on managing conflict.
Apparently, most middle level managers spend 25% of their time managing conflicts at the workplace instead of working towards the progress of the project (Boddy 76). This is one of the challenges that the managers ought to overcome, as they ought to develop approaches to manage conflicts in the most professional manner. It is noteworthy that conflict at the workplace arises because of the different situations that generate incompatible goals among different employees.
Conflicts at the workplace have proved to be a great threat to the smooth progress of any project; therefore, managers have to find all possible ways to resolve conflicts before they escalate to adverse levels. Employees will have different values, goals, motives, and ideas concerning a particular thing. Most organizations will require employees to work collaboratively; unfortunately, the high interdependence rates create room for conflict (Aquino 180).
The employees will obviously have different ways of thinking and behaving, and they might differ in one way or another. In the workplace, some employees will struggle to achieve goals of their interest according to their needs. It is also noteworthy that external factors play a great role in bringing differences between two groups of people.
Conflict management in the workplace is a designed way to resolve disagreements between two groups of people. Once employees or two groups of people disagree, a mediator ought to come in and try to achieve some kind of unity through all possible ways. Sometimes, the situation becomes difficult, and the mediators have to annihilate one of the parties to achieve reconciliation.
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Project managers are usually the mediators, who have the obligation to manage conflicts and prevent future conflicts. Essentially, project managers are the key people who must have defined goals to achieve when dealing with issues to do with conflict management.
The first approach in handling conflicts is finding the sources of the conflict. Apparently, every workplace has its own conflict culture, and similarly, the parties involved have different ways of managing their conflict. Some managers have invested the culture of having an open-minded debate to resolve conflicts, while others are ignorant to the extent that their employees prefer to avoid conflicts.
Essentially, people who resolve conflicts in an open-minded debate perceive conflict as an opportunity to air their views, while those who prefer to avoid conflict regard it as a threat. The response to conflict will obviously determine the way in which the resolution process unfolds. In the same way, the unfolding of the conflict will determine if the conflict at the workplace has positive and negative effects to the organization.
Reduced productivity, stress, decreased trust and poor teamwork are some of the negative effects of conflicts at the workplace. Moreover, personal-focused conflicts create negative emotions, which play a great role in increasing tension in the workplace. However, conflicts also bring some positive effects in one way or another. By airing their conflicts, some employees feel relived, as the managers are able to resolve their grievances.
Conflict also plays a critical role in stimulating the thinking process of the decision makers of a company, as well as enhancing the decisions that they make. Conflicts that focus on resolving problems help in decreasing tension and improving group functionality. Although rare, preventing the occurrence of conflicts at the workplace is one of the most effective ways to manage conflict at the workplace.
Managers should always persist on organizational justice and intense interactions among employees to resolve conflicts at the workplace. It is noteworthy that most employees will always struggle for distributive, procedural, and interactional justice within the organization. Conflict competent leader should embrace constructive conflict resolution measures, and they should have an uncompromising focus while managing conflict at the workplace (Deutsch, Coleman and Marcus 18).
It is noteworthy that effective conflict management measures in the workplace play a great role in strengthening the self-efficacy of employees. When employees have a high efficacy, they perceive a conflict as a challenge that they can resolve and manage. Project managers should always aim at having such employees instead of having cowardice employees, who would rather avoid a conflict instead of encountering it with confidence.
Conflict theory is one of the commonest theoretical perspectives that explain conflict at the workplace. Since ancient times, managers have found it useful to study conflict theory, as it is essential in addressing business, social, psychological, and communication issues. The theory explains that conflict can be functional, situational, or interactive depending on the underlying reason.
Essentially, a conflict may arise because of a social function or a complex situation that raises disagreements between two parties. In either case, conflict will arise as a form of expression because of the underlying situation. Functional conflicts explain the reason behind a disagreement while situational conflicts explain the circumstances behind the disagreement.
On the other hand, interactive conflicts will analyze the mechanisms through which the affected people express their anger. The three forms of conflicts follow a retaliatory cycle, where, a trigger causes anger, and the affected person reacts towards the cause of anger. In resolving a conflict, one party may end up victorious over the other, or the two parties may reconcile. However, reconciliation is almost impossible in conflicts characterized by high level of emotions.
Conflict management systems are other theoretical perspective that sociologists use to explain conflict at the workplace. The theory seeks to explain the emerging systems and new paradigms that managers ought to use to manage conflict at the workplace. Conflict management systems interlink with the new social contract between employees to achieve the best method to establish the best conflict resolution approaches (Wilson 25).
In the contemporary world, employees resolve to display their grievances through strikes, as they demand for certain rights from their employers. Essentially, this power-based method of resolving conflicts applies when all employees work in unison. In other cases, employees may opt to settle their conflicts based on their employment rights.
In such a case, the employees may decide to seek justice from the law court, and if the case favors the employees, the employer bears severe consequences. On the converse, the interest-based method of resolving conflict at the workplace may work towards identifying and finding ways of employing initiatives to solve joint problems of the affected parties.
Unfortunately, if one of the parties is powerful than the other, the mediator may employ a biased conflict resolution approach. The saddest thing to note is that most managers use the interest-based method of resolving conflict because it is less costly more versatile than other conflict resolution methods.
As indicated in the literature review, different sociologists have different views about conflict management in the workplace. However, this research will seek to study the perceptions of the affected people on the ground. The researcher will seek to investigate the following research questions and test the subsequent hypotheses using the answers from various employees.
- What are the key factors that trigger conflicts at the workplace?
- How do managers approach conflicts at the workplace?
- What are the most effective conflict management systems?
- Should managers focus on the outcome of their decision or a fair decision?
- What are the key tools to manage and resolve conflicts at the workplace?
- What features needs improvement in managing conflict at the workplace?
- Null hypothesis 1: There is no linear correlation between work performance and conflicts at the workplace.
- Null hypothesis 2: There is no linear relationship between organizational justice and conflict levels at the work place.
- Null hypothesis 3: The benefits of conflicts outweigh the drawbacks of conflicts at the workplace.
This section will give a precise description of the quantitative research that ought to examine a very pertinent issue in the contemporary world. The research aims at examining the effectiveness of various conflict management approaches employed at the workplace.
Despite valuable indications that the conflict management system employed determines the effectiveness of conflict management in the workplaces, studies indicate that the personality of the project managers plays a significant role in determining the level of success in managing conflict.
The researcher will analyze the conflict management systems used, the educational background, age, gender, and level of experience of the project managers of various organizations to make a critical analysis between the above named factors and the employees’ perception of the level of success in managing conflict.
Indeed, both numerical and statistical analysis will prove to be highly significant in analyzing the broad range of the study variables. The research methodology will give a clear insight of the study population, study sample, the data collection procedures, and the data analysis techniques to employ.
Population and Sample
The study population will comprise of employees of various organizations across the study region. It will seek to analyze their opinion on the level of success in managing conflict in their workplaces. Essentially, there are numerous organizations in the study region, but the researcher will make a random choice of the organizations to take part in the study.
Moreover, the employees to take part in the study will comprise of randomly selected respondents, who will have worked in their organizations for more than one year. Participation in the study will be independent of the employees’ current position or job description, as long as they are not serving in the management position.
To achieve randomization, the researcher will employ a probability sampling procedure, which will give every respondent an equal chance to take part in the study. Probability sampling is reliable, and applicable in studying a large population.
Essentially, the researcher will only have to study a sample of the population to make inferences about the entire population. Moreover, probability sampling has the capacity to accommodate statistical methods to measure the precision level of the data obtained.
The data collection procedure will follow a logical flow of events before and during the study period. A pilot study will be necessary to measure the effectiveness of the data collection instruments. The pilot study will investigate the validity of the questions, their appropriateness to the study topic, their logical sequence, and their verbal information. If need be, the researcher will amend the data collection instruments accordingly.
The researcher will take an initiative to inform the respondents about the research, and the purpose of the study. Thereafter, it will be courteous to collect data from willing participants only. Moreover, the researcher will assure the respondents of confidentiality of the raw data, where, the public can only access the information after the researcher has analyzed the raw data and presented it in form of a report.
During the study period, the researcher will have to employ the necessary submissiveness to collect the necessary data. The researcher will distribute the questionnaires to the respective respondents and provide the relevant information as soon as the study period commences.
The main data collection instrument is the questionnaire, but occasionally, the researcher may have to use semi-standardized interviews and personal observations to collect data. The semi-standardized interviews will be very helpful, as they will enable the researcher to obtain elaborate answers and explanations of the required information. During the interviews, the researcher will have the flexibility to change the order of the questions and wordings to be in line with the requirements of the respondent.
Occasionally, the researcher will have to make personal observations to ascertain the reliability of the collected data. To achieve the required standards of a research, the questionnaire will comprise of 25 questions, three of which will be open-ended questions that allow the respondents to express their views about the study topic. Moreover, the questionnaire will comprise of leaker-scale questions, whereby, the respondents can strongly agree, agree, not respond, object, or strongly object a pre-defined statement.
The various data collection instruments will be necessary to collect comprehensive data. It will be necessary to give contact details, as phone follow-ups and email alerts will be helpful in giving clarification and explanation whenever need arise. The researcher may have to remind the respondents to complete the questionnaires, within the given timeline, and it would be courteous to thank those who have duly filled the questionnaires.
The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 21) will be necessary in the data analysis exercise. Developing a descriptive data for the independent variables will give a concise view of the participants. Later, a factor analysis of the leaker-scale data will be helpful in analyzing the strength of the opinions of the various responses.
The researcher will have to carry out a Pearson’s correlation analysis to investigate the existence of relationships between the dependent and the independent variables. The correlations will be very helpful in determining whether the researcher will accept or reject the null hypotheses.
The correlations would seek to determine if there is a linear relationship between work performance and conflicts at the workplace, organizational justice and conflict levels at the work place, and if the benefits of conflicts at the workplace outweigh the drawbacks of conflicts at the workplace. Whenever applicable, the researcher will carry out Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests to determine the effect of different treatments to the study variables.
Aquino, Karl. “Structural and Individual Determinants of Workplace Victimization: The Effects of Hierarchical Status and Conflict Management Style.” Journal of Management 26.1 (2000): 171-193. Print.
Boddy, David. Managing Projects, Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education, 2002. Print.
Deutsch, Morton, Peter Coleman and Eric Marcus. The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Print.
Wilson, Jennifer. “Make Conflict Management Successful—If Not Cheerful.” Accounting Today 18.19 (2004): 22-27. Print.