Monday, May 14, 2012

Conflict management styles and negotiation skills

         Conflict has different levels present in organizations: intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, an intergroup Hellriegel et al., (2011). For instance companies convinced that employees were doing unnecessary spending are facing the intrapersonal goal conflict. However in order to implement changes to cut costs, those changes can put the company in another conflict the intergroup conflict. The conflict that occurred can involves a series of events which can result in a company being unable to regulate their cost and forces them to face potential losses and even survivability issues. Inner tensions and frustrations experienced while companies struggles the issues of whether to implement a new plans to control the costs and whether to keep talented employees. Most times managers decide not implement changes and keep the talented employees. This decision to solve this intrapersonal goal conflict can be characterized of approach-avoidance conflict which is expected to have both positive and negative outcomes (was positive because it keeps the professionals and negative because it could not cut the costs) (Hellriegel et al., 2011).

The intergroup conflict  refers to disputes, oppositions and disagreements among the group which wants to cut costs i.e.  those who were worried about the quality of the services i.e. all staff led (Hellriegel et al., 2011). The perceived goal incompatibility most times is the source of this conflict, with this incompatibility managers faced opposition from the employees. Companies then became no longer competitive and sometimes losing money, caused by management’s lack of strategy and terrible execution in cost cutting. 

There are five conflict management styles: Collaborating Style, Compromising Style, Forcing Style, Accommodating Style, and Avoiding Style (Hellriegel et al., 2011).  In this case it is evident that an  Accommodating Style occurred when managers tried suggesting new solutions to the employees as to how they could help to cut cost (i.e). Once the idea is rejected, because employees feel that it was impossible, then managers managed the conflict through the suspension of his personal goals in order to maintain good relationship with the physicians.
Another conflict management style which is evident is a Forcing style. The Forcing style  which happened when managers force the staff to work with a new system. Using this approach managers trie to achieve their own goal without concern for others, forcing their decision on the opposing group.
The Avoiding style happened when managers said that they are busy and would not be involved in the problem and definitely stayed away from conflict, ignored disagreements, or remained neutral.
According to Hellriegel et al., (2011) leaders who use a collaborating style tend to be more successful and are found more in high performing organizations. The leader’s use of collaboration seems to result in positive feelings by others as well as favorable evaluations of performance. Some level of cooperative and assertive behavior as a collaborating style can be the opportunity to get a mutual understanding about the topics under discussion.

Using teams to address the conflicts
By forming work related teams as a problem solving units to focus on conflicts, managers can immediately assume the responsibilities an solve the problem in group. The members could be formed internal from specific departments and that would have allowed her to obtain the buy-in, support and expertise of the employees with direct knowledge of day to day activities and knowledge of potential in a conflict activities. 
By explaining the situation  and delegating certain problems and decision making managers can give more responsibilities to the team.  Teams can create a sense of unity and purpose for company's conflict.  .  Using the team method, managers could be able to utilize employees’ expertise, diversity and knowledge of their work focus to identify conflicts strategies in their area.  Also, it is highly likely that since the employees formulated the strategies, if a manager decided to implement them, there would likely be much less opposition to those strategies than another strategy imposed.

            Negotiators  are likely to be more effective if they possess the components of emotional intelligence with some specific skills and abilities that can increase the effectiveness for negotiators. 
            Using self-awareness managers should not impose their one’s own decision instead they should understand the link between their goals and staff goals.  By being flexible and open managers could manage the conflicts by receiving feedback from others on how to continuously improve.
            As a leader managers could give timely coaching advice and offer assignments that challenge a person’s competencies, that refers to social empathy. In this way they could show respect for a staff and understand them before act.
            However, nothing is going to work if managers does not maintain optimism and self-motivation, because it will be facing new challenges all the time. With self-motivation and continuously balancing the advantages of his negotiations against the challenges and stresses in such negotiations.
            Finally beeing friendly and build relationships especially with key employees in order to have future cooperation in negotiations. Managers should use more social skills and should never avoid participating in an important meeting with the staff, instead managers should go and deal with the difficult situations in a straightforward manner.
                “Negotiation is a process in which two or more interdependent individuals or groups who perceive that they have both common and conflicting goals state and discuss proposals and preferences for specific terms of a possible agreement” (Hellriegel et al., 2011). Assess the situation to identify the other party’s reasons. After that define the scope of the issues, like who will be involved, and then negotiate the substantive agreement to implement.
Therefore the best strategy would be to use an Integrative Negotiations Strategy because the problem solving would achieve results that benefit both parties. According to Hellriegel et al., (2011) in this strategy there are some principles to be follow such as:
·         Separate the people from the problem: deal with substantive issues, instead of attacking each other. 
·         Focus on interests not positions, giving attention in human needs and interests which cause then to take those positions.
·         Invent options for mutual gains: attitude of cooperation, reasonableness, openness and friendliness could encourage both sides to actively participate in making decisions and this makes for an effective negotiation.
·         Insist on using objective criteria: it would be interesting to compare the situation in order to discuss the conditions of the negotiation in terms of what is considered standard.
Using the right strategy managers can solve the problems by making people learn and understand each other better and finally grow in their relationships. Negotiation can help to create a healthy balance between “giving” and “getting” where everyone becomes a “winner” through this negotiation. Making a number of strategic decisions regarding tactics and acceptable outcomes any manager can implement efficient agreements.   

Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J. W., Jr. (2011). Organizational behavior: 2011 custom edition           (13th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.


  1. Effective negotiation skills are essential if you want to complete your goals, define your terms, express your limitations or help others meet their needs.