For any kind of business to thrive, there must some sort of mutual respect among the management staff. When there happens to be conflicts in a business, definitely losses must accrue besides other management problems. As explained in this case, Kalinsky and Kenworthy (his former brother-in-law) were always at loggerheads concerning the autonomy of decision making in the business.
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This put Empyrean Group owned by Kalinsky into risk of losing client and ultimate closure. Even after Kenworthy moved to Richmond to manage the Capital One account, the differences between them continued to deteriorate where Kenworthy could criticize Kalinsky’s decisions and questioned his leadership openly in front of the workers of both businesses i.e. Empyrean and Capital One (Dahl, 2006). Kalinsky took a bold step to fire Kenworthy despite the fact that his father Bruce was the biggest investor in Empyrean business owned by Kalinsky. Bruce also stood with Kalinsky when his wife Margaret divorced him by allowing him to stay in his house and also during the case of IRS (Internal Revenue Service) when the Empyrean had not taxes for year. Kalinsky disregarded all this support and went a head to fire Bruce’s son Kenworthy. I perceive this as a wise decision taken by Kalinsky in order to prevent the business from sinking. Firing Kenworthy was the best option Kalinsky could take to retract the business and regain control over it. After firing his former brother-in-law, Kalinsky felt relieved though he was drained. He also gained control over his company and received a hopeful sign from Capital One who agreed to keep Empyrean recruiters on-site (Dahl, 2006). From a personal perspective, Kenworthy was not alert to growth opportunities available for Empyrean Group. He was also not exploiting his position to ensure that the company built a good client relationship. Actually, he was being pushed by Kalinsky instead of finding it within him to do it for the sake of the business which he partly owned. This can easily be seen from Capital One’s move to award the contract to another company. The deteriorating relationship between the two parties also harbored dire consequences which compromised the company’s future success. Sometimes when making a hard decision, it is important to disregard family ties for your own benefit just like Kalinsky did. In other words it is important to take the best action.
In this case, we can point out three different cases of conflicts as follows; a conflict between Kalinsky and Kenworthy over the management and decision making autonomy in the Empyrean company which is the major conflict in the case, the conflict between Kalinsky and Bruce (Kenworthy’s father) over the firing of his son who also demanded to cash out his stake and leave the Empyrean company and the conflict between Kenworthy, Kalinsky and the Empyrean Group over wrong dismissal and cash settlement issue (Dahl, 2006). The major conflict being the second one involving Kalinsky and Kenworthy, firing Kenworthy was the best option to avoid escalation of the situation. This decision was reached after consulting Kenworthy father though he did not inform Kenworthy of his intentions and why. This depicts the conflict management style as partially cooperative problem solving and competing style (Mindtools.com, n.d). The competing style can be discerned from the fact that Kalinsky put his interests first in resolving to fire Kenworthy. However, these approaches were not very effective as they caused a little instability in the company after the “in-laws’ family quit. In solving the settlement issue, collaborating style was sued and it was very effective. It helped the parties involved come up with feasible terms of resolving the issue. Kalinsky negotiated with his ex-in-law and agreed to pay for their share and loan within two years (Dahl, 2006). I think this was the best way to go to avoid more conflicts arising (repayment within two years). After firing him, Empyrean business regained momentum and Kalinsky become more hopeful about its future. This is a sign of how timely and effective the decisions taken by Kalinsky were. For any conflict to be resolved, the styles employed should be effective to ensure the problem is solved amicably.
An integrative negotiation is where parties work together to come up with a solution that best helps both parties. Both parties work hard to understand what the other party requires from the negotiation. Also called “win-win solution”, integrative negotiation requires a lot of compromise from both parties and works out for the best for both sides (Wisegeek.com, n.d). In our case, integrative negotiations were not employed to solve the conflict because each party considered its demands first. Kalinsky went a head to fire Kenworthy to safeguard his company from sinking. There is no incident where they sat down to negotiate on how to end their wrangles. On the other hand, Kenworthy criticized Kalinsky openly for his own interest. Bruce after his son was fired pulled out of the Empyrean Company without considering the repercussions of his move on the Kalinsky’s business. Therefore, each party did not want to compromise and put their interests first which is not the definition of integrative negotiations.
A number of communications problems are depicted in the case. First, communication between Kalinsky and Jordan his chief financial officer seems not to go well. Jordan failed to pay annual taxes for the Empyrean Company but he had not notified his co-founder Kalinsky. Kalinsky received a shocking notice from IRS telling him that his company had failed to pay its taxes for that year. With proper communication, the tax problem would have been avoided because Kalinsky would be updated on current issues and matters requiring urgent attention. Then there is the prevalent communication problem between Kalinsky and Kenworthy as depicted in many incidences. Then there communication was minimal especially when Kenworthy moved to Richmond. Even when they conversed over the phone prior to his firing, their communication was characterized by heated debate and ended badly. This was a problem whose source can be attributed to communication breakdown between the two parties. Good and timely communication would have gone a long way in abridging their differences.
Conflict styles employed in this case are not the only way to solve crisis among people. An alternative style could be a compromising one (in first and second conflict) where the parties involved in a conflict sit and talk about the issue at hand and be ready to compromise to come up with a solution that will at least benefit everyone. Each party involved in the conflict is expected to give-up something. Compromising is aimed at getting the root cause of the crisis and discussing ways in which the matter can be resolved and become of help on both sides. The parties involved in the dialogue need to take into consideration what could benefit the other party so that at the end of the day there would be a mutual benefit. Compromising is believed to have solved many crises which would have escalated if solved otherwise. This style is useful when the cost of the conflict is higher than the cost of losing the compromised thing. Like in our case, Kalinsky could have compromised making decision on clients companies and leave it to Kenworthy thereby retaining him in the company. Compromising style works best there are two equal opponents in the question or approaching a set deadline.
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