While in charge of the service team at XXXX group ltd. A series of meetings had been organised between the staff of the service team, and staff external to the service team. This was organised by all heads of the departments within the company (whom attended). Including the Managing Director (who became the chairperson). The meetings were to address staff-shortages, work-ethos, Quality of Service and Customer response.
Potential for personal conflict in the following areas:
- Service members towards Sales staff (due to customers expectations set too high).
- Service members against each other (due to bad work ethics, poor performance).
- Service members against management (us-vs.-them mentality).
- Management towards staff (lack of revenue being generated).
- Members against each other (for not being heard in the meeting).
All of which could lead to Dysfunctional Conflict rather than Functional Conflict (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009), which is why the meeting was intended.
As someone who was could qualify for the employee, third-party and a manager (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009, p282) during various conflicts. I employed the following ideas:
a) Putting ALL issues up on the board for all to see (including those that went against the ideas of the majority). Then all of these items were discussed. I questioned my own ideas – as did everyone else. Everyone was prompted to negotiate with each other as to why these issues have come up. Many people found that once they dropped their own perception that the other person was wrong, they actually agreed to a lot of the ideas that were put on the board. This “Added-Value Negotiation” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009, p291) could not have happened if the meeting members could first see everyone else’s perspective. Previous to that it would have been a case of “his words versus mine”.
b) Once all issues were apparently displayed and discussed, the chairperson noticed that a few members had not talked at all. He prompted them asking them why their thoughts were not worth noting. They said that all the important ones had already been addressed. They then said that they felt no one would support their ideas as they only really applied to them. I volunteered to play “Devils Advocate” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009, p286), and even if I did not support their idea personally, I could support it in debate with everyone else. The issue was the CSO forms the department operated. I found this very difficult as I had personally created the form. However after arguing to the group (and me) supporting the individuals stating that filling out the form was a waste of time – everyone concluded that the form itself could be simplified, and it would be integrated more into company process.
c) The “Concern for Self” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009, p288) model was applied to many of the managers in the meeting. They found it difficult to deal with some issue – especially complaints towards their teams. I even found myself at a complete end with the sales manager. The previous Service Manager had been too “Obliging” and “Avoiding Conflict” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009, p289) with the Sales Manager. This had left the Service Department abused. I found that since I had experienced this personally – I had shifted to a “Dominating” person, DEMANDING THE SERVICE TEAM GOT MORE SUPPORT. This put me in personal conflict with the sales manager, who also was a dominating character. To resolve this I had to change the way I acted with him, not necessary bend – but more show how what I was planning would “Integrate” within the company as a whole. I showed how this would benefit sales, and how we could assist his team more if he saw out perspective.
Overall the meetings did end on an “Ok basis” – however there was still personal conflict between members of the company (and the team). But these “Seeds of Personal Conflict” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009, p280) had been sewn long before – and would take time to be remedied.
Kiniki, A, & Kreitner, R,. (2009). Organization Behaviour: Key Concepts, skills & best practices.
N.Y. USA : McGraw-Hill/Irwin