The industry in which an organization is in, should not affect its culture when it comes to conflict resolution, there are steps managers can take to reduce conflict and to make the experience of dealing with conflict more positive. Managers and management teams must proactively address underlying tensions of any sort before a volatile conflict emerges. When making a big change in a company, one must take the time to seek out opinions and understand how people feel about said change before moving forward with any plans. Modeling the right behavior is also important for change. Our purpose is to analyze the best forms of conflict resolution and determine how to apply them within the workplace along with the customers. This will then help gain an understanding of effective conflict resolution practices in order to instill an organizational culture that supports these methods.
An organizational culture articulates the behavior that employees are allowed to do within a company. The organizational culture of a company contains the beliefs and values that are developed by the leadership. A company’s organizational culture can explain its overall structure from making its decisions to communicating through conflicts and maintaining employee morale. Having a good organizational culture can create an atmosphere within the company that can lead to success, and it all simply starts with its daily employees. The very people working within the organization play a big role of why the company will either become successful or fail. The culture within an organization holds a significant importance. It can determine how efficiently a company is running and how effectively they are resolving any issues that arise from its employees or having to decide on managerial decisions.
A successful company usually has an organizational culture that reflects its external success into its inside functions as well. These companies that have a strong organizational culture usually have a set of leaders that focus on the company’s goals as an organization and not just as an individual. This type of culture sets the standards and mindsets of workers to work collaboratively for the success of the company. Having a good and strong organizational culture can positively be reflected in many ways other than profitability. For example, good leadership behaviors can result in effective communication among employees and management which then produce excellent customer service. Different organizational cultures have been described using one-word descriptions such as aggressive, detail-oriented, or even innovative. These are just a few of the many terms companies use to describe their cultures. In addition to the various terms used to essentially label companies, there are also many different styles of culture that companies can adopt; there is no one style that just fits and can be applied to all organizations. Among the successful companies in the world, you can find that each one, regardless of the industry, share a strong individual sense of organizational culture that led to their success, all differentiating from each other.
Developing a strong organizational culture starts from the top at the highest forms of management. The leaders in the top positions essentially set the mood and culture of how things are run along with how things will be handled. When you have a leader who tries to manage employees or full departments their own way and not by company standards, it can result in conflict with one another which can hinder the performance and success of the overall company. A company is one big system that is composed of many different components and functions that ideally needs to have one control unit. This is where its organizational culture can come into play, making everything flow together efficiently and effectively. Without a strong sense of culture, a company can lead to multiple departments or functions that can conflict with one another and not produce the best product or results. Companies who have an effective and efficient organizational culture have leaders at the top who communicate the company’s values and goals clearly to all its employees and new prospects. This helps everyone operate in a certain way ir order to achieve the company’s goals. This allows all employees, whether it be management or everyday employees, to be on the same page when any issues arise or when a decision needs to be made.
Inefficiency in a culture can result in negative impacts on the sought-after goals and overall work environment for the company. Negative effects can also come from company mergers and acquisitions that can disturb the current organizational culture. With an acquisition or merger, leadership would need to work on establishing a transition for new employees and implement a change to the organizational culture; however, this needs to be done in a way that still helps the company reach its goals by retaining its values but allows change for the current and new employees to work together collaboratively.
Conflict is something that is expected to happen when changes take place to any organization’s culture. When major changes occur and disrupts the status quo, it is a natural reaction to have some push back from employees before they accept the change. Before this acceptance or transition to the new changes, conflicts arise. When conflicts occur because of new changes, it can reveal underlying issues that may have not been noticeable before. Having conflict when changes are trying to be implemented aren’t necessarily a problem, it is the lack of resolutions to these conflicts that can be detrimental to the old organizational culture as well as into the new culture. Conflicts can easily slow down the process of implementing any change or can even stop it completely. Employees in the organization can have issues with the new change because it can affect them from doing a job they were so used to doing it a certain way, but now must learn new techniques or habits, which some may not want to do at all. Assessing your overall organization may need to be required when trying to implement any change to the company’s environment. Especially when it comes to mergers or acquisitions, the newly hired employees may find it difficult to work under the current organization’s culture because it may be completely different from the previous company.
Applying changes to the entire organization without assuming there will be speed bumps in the process is something that can hugely impact the success of the implementation along with the long-term success of the company. As minor as some conflicts may sound, like employees not approving of the changes and complaining, something even as small as that can start ripples throughout other departments and cause a major upset. This can then lead to poor work performances or employees quitting, causing more issues to correct on top of trying to implement the changes. Small conflicts can evolve to bigger issues if not properly resolved or addressed. There is also the timeframe of determining the urgency of issues and whether it is time sensitive or can be held off to a later time. Some conflicts being ignored can turn the issue into a bigger problem if the employees are left feeling unimportant or feeling that their issues are not worth the urgency. This is where conflict resolutions need to be effective in getting passed these ripples of problems once the implementation of change starts to take place.
If employees are expected to take a collaborative approach to conflict resolution, one must take that approach as well, whether one is negotiating pay with a new employee or determining the strategic direction with a business partner, all parties must be proactive. However, if a certain situation does not go as smoothly as one had hoped, there are always techniques one should try to follow in order to resolve conflicts:
Don’t think about winning or being correct.
The only victory in an argument is coming to a mutual conclusion, one that finds common ground and a resolution that benefits both parties.
Don’t look for someone to blame.
It is well known that people make mistakes, pointing fingers however does not resolve anything and can result in underperforming employees.
Look for Root Cause.
When problem solving, look for root causes of said problem to fix the error.
Perhaps someone had incorrect information which caused the incorrect work to be done.
Collaborate on how to handle conflict.
Many conflicts are born of misinterpretation, offering to collaborate allows for all parties involved to be shown that dealing with conflict is a two way street and this opportunity will allow for people to understand others communication styles and that one is willing to listen and to be open to others needs.
Remain Goal Oriented.
When assessing how to handle conflict with a coworker, one may find that others are more open to discussion in the future where ideas such as redesigning processes are discussed, so that issues may be discovered early on to avoid further issues due to similar errors.
Legitimize their feelings.
As communication is crucial in every successful conflict resolution technique, the importance of listening and showing that one listening, will not only aid in the current conflict, but create an open channel to deal with any future conflict. In doing so, it will also allow for the other party to point out any discrepancies in one’s own understanding of the issue at hand and vice-versa.
Don’t tell someone what they said, how they feel, or what they did.
Human memory can be flawed, especially when it comes to recalling what someone said in an emotionally charged conversation, or how they acted in the past. Using language like I felt vs. you said removes any aspect of blame from a conversation, and does not allow for any further misinterpretation of a situation.
Find an opportunity to discuss what could’ve been done better.
Building better processes comes from evaluating one’s own behavior, it is the driving force necessary to flag breakdowns in communication, bottlenecks, and where expectations could be better set for future instances.
Takeaways and Learning experiences.
Having a sort-of after-action report to document a conflict can crucial for future conflict resolution. This documentation should state what actions each party will take in future conflict resolution and will serve as a type of commitment for growth between the parties involved, and to serve as a channel for communication to address conflict.
In following these steps, one can resolve current issues, and future issues within a company; however if these steps are not implemented into the organizational culture, they will not be useful.
Implementing this into an organizational culture can be a bit difficult but is something that must be required in order for it to be beneficial in the long-run. A successful organization must find a way to balance both the strategy and the culture. The conflict resolution strategies can align with the culture through the understanding of the core values, practices and behaviors. The goal to become efficient in resolving organizational conflicts must consider the values of the employers. As mentioned above, values like religion, ethics, code of behavior, standards, etc. must be considered in order for the employees to feel like they are in a comfortable workplace. Knowing that your worth to the organization is larger than just a worker permits the strategy to succeed as more people inherit it making the organization’s structure even strong. Similarly, daily objectives must consider the practices that are already part of the company’s culture. Whether is rewarding effort, holding regular meetings, or focusing on team efforts, every objective must align with the practices in order for the employees to not feel alienated by its new strategy. Once again, the organization as a whole must be able to work towards one objective in order for it to be a successful firm. Lastly, the activities related to the strategy must take into account the behaviors of the different employees within the firm. Must create activities that employees feel confident on doing but also one in which fits every individual to their ability. Only when aligning all the factors under a strategy and an organization’s culture can one then begin to see the results.
Furthermore, after implementing the strategy into the organizational culture it is necessary for them to conduct constant evaluations in order to keep track of its working process. Under this step the organization can monitor whether the strategy needs a change for its ineffectiveness or on the other hand ways to sustain it if its successfully implemented. The proper way to evaluate a business strategy is to assess whether its heading in the right direction. If the vision for the future of the company still applies or whether the goal need to be changed. It will also be important to check up on the organization’s internal consistency, if out of their strategy other conflicts arise upon the company’s structure. Also, the external environment must be consistent with the internal structure and so it is important for the strategy to match it. Lastly, the feasibility must be taken into consideration as an organization must hope that the they have the ability to implement it as it was planned for it to be.
If after evaluating, you come to the conclusion that the strategy implementation has been ineffective, then the best thing to do is to undergo necessary changes depending on how drastic it needs to be. The following steps would be helpful for ways to slightly shift towards a different direction:
In the other hand, if your implementation of the strategy is successful the organization must look into ways to sustain it for a long period in order for them to grow more as a whole. The worst thing to do is to become comfortable in your success and not prepare for future conflicts. Forms to sustain an effective strategy is as follows:
It is inevitable that companies of any size and magnitude are going to experience various types of struggle, and conflict within the workplace – especially among employees – is a serious one. There is no avoiding it completely; however, there are preventable measures and systems that can be put in place to hopefully minimize the amount of conflict that really needs to happen. Having a strong organizational culture will help all members of the company understand who they are as a whole unit. At the same time, it serves as a way for everyone to collaborate each other on a better scale because through this unity, they all understand what the primary goals and focal points are. Additionally, when those imminent conflicts do occur, it is important to have the know-how to handle it in a non-explosive manner. It is impossible to predict what the future holds, and whether someone is having a bad day and simply rubs people the wrong way, or two or more employees genuinely have a score to settle, there is always an adequate and productive solution in resolving those issues. Upholding these practices is critical, but regularly evaluating their effectiveness is imperative. It is the only way to know what works and what does not. In considering the aforementioned, it should contribute to employee satisfaction and happiness, which leads to a productive work environment. Having those two elements will then ultimately result in a successful company overall.
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