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Manage Workplace Conflict Essay

1734 words - 7 pages

Wherever a difference in opinion exists, conflict will manifest. Conflict is as old as the world and appears in every aspect of our lives. Conflicts are one of the reasons for war. Many marriages have ended in divorce because of conflict. Conflict is prevalent between parent and teenage children. It is a part of the human relationship. Therefore, the workplace is not exempt from conflict.Conflict is not always negative. Positive results can come from conflict. Dave Murphy explains in his article "Prize fighting/The right kind of conflict can help workers thrive" (San Francisco Chronicle Sept 1, 2002 pg J.1). He quotes Lynn Eisaguirre as saying "We tend to have an attitude that if we have conflict in the workplace, something is wrong. It's normal. It is an opportunity for us to come up with a more creative solution. Creatively managing conflict is a skill-just like learning how to use a computer." Lynn Eisaguirre informs us conflict can help organizations increase their performance.Reylito A. H. Elbo writes in his article "In the Workplace" (BusinessWorld, Manila; Sep 18, 2002 pg 1) managing conflict in the workplace is a five-step process and it is administered in a group setting with the two sides in attendance. The five steps to conflict resolution are: identify the conflict and the impact, find the cause of the conflict, brainstorm different methods to resolve the conflict, formulate and review the plan for resolving the conflict, summarize the plan.Identifying the Conflict and the Impact"Collect data. Know exactly what the conflict is about and objectively analyze the behavior of parties involved." (Tools for Teams, Building Effective Teams in the Workplace, L. Thompson, E. Aranda, S. Robbins, p 241). The manager or facilitator will open the meeting by identifying the situation while revealing the data collected and uncovering the facts. The opening of the meeting for discussion will set an atmosphere for focus and direction. The facilitator will begin with a summary of the events that may have contributed to the conflict. The details of the events are not important in this forum. The discussion of details could lead to sidetracking and finger pointing. The purpose of the meeting should be clear and concise. It is important to express all the perspectives of everyone involved including those not directly involved in the conflict. Conveying this message is best achieved by using words such as "we" and "together". Set ground rules to ensure that the discussions run smoothly. Some of the ground rules suggested at one of the websites used for management training at United Healthcare are:1. Avoid interruptions2. Let each person participate in the feedback3. Make no assumptions about motives4. Encourage truthfulness5. Confidential information stays within the group6. Encourage the participants to admit mistakes.(http://lms.learnshare.com/Curricula/Browse.Curricula.CurriculaTabs.aspx?PersonID=10537)Once the purpose of the meeting and the ground...

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