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The Conflict-Positive Organization: It Depends Upon Us Case Study

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Updated: Oct 3rd, 2019

Introduction

The paper represents the summary of the article “The conflict-positive organization: It depends upon us” by Dean Tjosvold published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior in 2008. The author investigates the issue of the conflicts and the conflict management.

Tjosvold (2008) emphasizes the significance of managerial approach towards the conflict situations within the organization and suggests considering conflicts as the constructive phenomena rather than as adverse events (p. 25). The author recognizes that a particular stereotype regarding the conflicts takes place in the global society, and it creates the potential obstacles for the efficient conflict management.

However, nowadays many scholars and researchers in management and organizational culture realize that the multiple contradictions and clashes of ideas and goals expressed by the members of the organizational community can be manageable and used for the benefit of the enterprise.

Therefore, the integration of the conflict management into the organizational culture can provoke the improvement of the business performance and increase the competitive advantages of the company.

Findings

The main focus of the article is made on the claim that “cooperative management of conflict has both short-term and long-term significant benefits for both organizations and individuals across a wide range of situations” (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 20).

By emphasizing the benefits caused by the conflict situations in the organization, Tjosvold (2008) demonstrates the positive side of their encountering while the avoidance of conflicts is regarded as negative and provoking challenges and unproductiveness.

The organizational environments are diverse in their nature, and the conflicts thus are the inherent part of the working process. When the disputes are recognized as the intrinsic feature of the human communication, the ability to overcome them occurs.

Conflict management is based on the recognition of the various disagreements between employees and management and the consequent measures that are aimed at their conversion into positive outcomes. The principle methods of the conflict management are the communication, discussion of differences, and maintenance of open-mindedness.

“Avoiding conflict has proved ineffectual as a general approach toward collaborating,” and it means that managers and organizational leaders need to encourage the open communication within organizations (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 20).

The free communication at all the levels supports the constructive approach towards the dilemmas. The conflicts have to be managed both in the executive office and the subordinate departments. Moreover, the cross-sectional communication is of significant importance as it helps to handle the confrontations in the multiple functional areas.

According to Tjosvold (2008), the conflict management can have advantageous impacts on performance and productivity in accounting, leadership, and many other organizational settings (p. 21).

However, since the leaders’ responsibility for the development and adaptation of culture is the biggest, the conflict management has to be an essential issue for them. “Leaders can be successful through quality relationships,” and by promoting the positive attitude to conflicts, they increase the subordinates’ commitment and productivity (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 21).

Other findings in the article include the conflict managements’ positive impacts on the nature of communication, implementation of the new technology, adaptation to the structural changes within organizations, creation of the competitive and strategic advantages, reduction of costs, and improvement the products and services quality (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 22).

The open discussions and the opportunities to express the negative emotions in a constructive way helps to refine relationships and restore the mutual respect between the sides.

Potential Limitations

Although Tjosvold (2008) suggests looking at the positive sides of conflicts, there is still a potential limitation to the conflict management due to the multiple requirements needed for the success of the managerial action in resolving the issues in interrelations (p. 23). First of all, the managers and the employees who address the conflict situations must have the inner qualities of emotionality, empathy, and critical thinking.

For obtaining the advantage from disputes, the staff members “should express their feelings but also develop their arguments rationally using deductive and inductive reasoning” (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 23). Additionally, the communication must be grounded in honesty; otherwise, the conflicts cannot be completely resolved and transformed.

The effective conflict management requires a high level of individual’s operation with the mentioned skills and possession of all the necessary inner qualities and strengths. Therefore, the achievement of the positive results can be considered subjective and challenged with multiple barriers, most of which belong to the human factor.

Moreover, the common perception of conflicts as negative events interferes with addressing them effectively as well. In case the process of the conflict resolving is aimed at the creation of benefits only for one of the sides, it can lead to the worsening of the situation and provocation of the negative consequences. It is mentioned in the article that people often tend to misread each other’s intentions (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 24).

And most frequently it happens when there are no close connections between two or more people. For the effective overcoming of these limitations, the leaders need to strive to develop the organizational culture in which the values of open-mindedness and collective cohesion are integrated and accepted by all the staff members.

Implications

The research and knowledge of the conflict management are of tremendous importance to the present-day organizations. The modern world is characterized by extreme diversity, the dynamic environment in markets and industries, rapid conceptual changes, and the technological development.

Because of the differences and the constant environmental shifts, the communication becomes difficult and, at the same time, the ability to build strong and sound relationships becomes a value and can be regarded as strength both at personal and organizational levels.

When speaking of the organizations, their performance and productivity depend on the internal strengths of the company and the collective. A high level of the collective cohesion positively affects organizational operability and functioning as a whole.

However, as it was already mentioned, the conflicts are inherent for the human communication, and the wrong treatment of the frictions between employees can break down the company’s stability and cause declines in profitability, quality of the provided services, and negatively influence the organizational image and value as the result.

Disregard towards the conflict situations and misunderstandings can’t bring success to a company. And when managers recognize it, they take the first step towards the positive outcomes in conflict management.

“As leaders and employees study and debate conflict, they can realize that a ‘conflict-free’ organization is an unrealistic, dysfunctional illusion and understand the need to confront their confusions and develop a more realistic understanding of the nature of conflict and the relationships and skills needed to make effective use of it” (Tjosvold, 2008, p. 25).

Intellectual Reflections

Each person is involved in the communicational processes every day both in personal and working situations. All the people are different and unique and have distinct goals and objectives in their lives. Because of this, the confrontations are inevitable.

The vast majority of the adult individuals spend most of their time at work. The working environment largely depends on the communication within the collective. In the working environment, a person cannot be separated, and his or her productivity is interrelated with the productivity of others. Therefore, the inability to build open and sound relationships with colleagues affects the employee’s performance.

When the conflicts are brewed without the possibility of resolving, the psychological well-being and sustainability are negatively influenced. Overall, at the individual level, it leads to the decrease of the job satisfaction. The working environments that are characterized by a high level of the unresolved conflicts are thus prone to increase in the staff turnover, and, as a consequence, the organizational operability suffers.

Based on all the arguments and reflections, it is possible to say that conflict management that includes the development of communicational skills in employees and recognition of conflicts as the potentials for the business improvement is beneficial for the businesses and, therefore, it must be efficiently implemented by the management and leaders.

Conclusion

The analysis of conflicts conducted in the article helped to reveal the positive nature of conflicts. The disputes and confrontations of various kinds constitute a significant part of the communication in companies. By neglecting the conflicts, managers jeopardize the organizational profitability and growth.

And on the contrary, when the conflicts are addressed, and the employees have the opportunity to discuss the problems, they elevate these challenges to a new constructive level. The leaders need to pay a greater attention to the incorporation of the conflict management into the strategic planning. The development of the appropriate corporate culture supports the efficiency of the constructive approach to conflict situations.

References

Tjosvold, D. (2008). The conflict-positive organization: It depends upon us. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 19-28. doi:10.1002/job.473

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"The Conflict-Positive Organization: It Depends Upon Us." IvyPanda, 3 Oct. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-conflict-positive-organization-it-depends-upon-us/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Conflict-Positive Organization: It Depends Upon Us." October 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-conflict-positive-organization-it-depends-upon-us/.


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IvyPanda. "The Conflict-Positive Organization: It Depends Upon Us." October 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-conflict-positive-organization-it-depends-upon-us/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Conflict-Positive Organization: It Depends Upon Us." October 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-conflict-positive-organization-it-depends-upon-us/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Conflict-Positive Organization: It Depends Upon Us'. 3 October.

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