The Research paper “The Influence of Conflict Management Culture on Job Satisfaction” by Younyoung Choi basically focuses on the relationship between job satisfaction and three types of conflict management cultures employed at an organizational level. The writer, individually, assessed the impact of each of the conflict management culture i.e. dominant, collaborative and avoidant on the level of job satisfaction of the employee. According to the results, he concluded that collaborative conflict management culture has a significant positive effect on the job satisfaction; whereas, dominant conflict management culture negatively impacts the job satisfaction level. One interesting aspect of the result was that avoidant conflict management culture and job satisfaction have no significant relationship between them. Though, there can be multiple conflict resolution styles depending upon the interest level, and concern for self and others in an organization, but for the purpose of this assignment, collaborative conflict management policy is selected which will be further briefed below.
Collaborative conflict management style or culture is characterized by norms of cooperation and open discussion of the issues surrounding the conflict. This style is often used when a person is not only concerned about the outcome for his own self but also interested in outcomes of others. Collaborative conflict management style is highly appreciated by experts because of its positive association with job satisfaction of employees, which results in increased commitment towards the organization and decreased turnover rate. This style allows employees to carry out greater discussion of ideas and high level of coordination which leads to lesser burnout of individuals in the group.
- A major benefit of collaborative conflict management style is continuous discussion on issues until an optimal solution is achieved that not only satisfies everyone, but examines ideas from all perspectives.
- In addition, team member strive to work out a creative solution that serve everyone’s interest including that of the organization so that there are no hard feelings among employees.
- Moreover, it allows gaining commitment of employees by incorporating their concerns and taking a consensual decision.
- Furthermore, this approach is highly feasible when the objectives of both the party is to learn and understand from each other. For example, new product development, designing of strategic goals, etc.
- Although, collaborative conflict management approach produce the best results in terms of employee satisfaction, but a major issue with this approach is that it consumes a considerable amount of time. Manager or supervisor cannot always make use of this approach otherwise they would find themselves resolving conflict all the time, rather than focusing on their core job responsibilities.
- In addition, because of its time consumption processes, employee relations and performance get severely affected until a solution is achieved.
Conflict can be found in any organization and can affect the performance, morale and output of the employees; therefore, it is of utmost importance for organizations to design a conflict resolution policy that not only encourage healthy exchange of ideas, but also provide employees an avenue to seek redress or help to resolve the conflict at the earliest. For this purpose, the first step of top management should be to inculcate collaborative conflict management style in their line managers and supervisors. Often managers try to avoid conflict management and even if they try to resolve, they use dominant approach by giving decisions before providing a proper chance to each of the party of stating their point.
Some of the suggestions to improve the conflict management policy, which is sometimes also referred as dispute resolution policy or grievance handling policy, of an organization are mentioned below.
- Comprehensive Scope: A company should establish a broad and a comprehensive scope of the policy to deal with the employees’ conflict. First of all, a good policy is such which is applicable throughout the organization at all levels including the senior executives. Secondly, the scope should also have approaches that will be used for the resolution. Moreover, the scope should identify the type of issue raised by the employee. For example, whether it is a source issue that usually occurs because of difference in values and beliefs, reaction issue, or a power issue. Furthermore, the scope must have a time frame for resolving the conflict. Last but, not the least, the scope should also clarify the issues which are excluded from the discussion, for example, organizational policies and procedures, working conditions, company benefits, etc. Defining the issue and approach to be used at such an early stage allows both the employee and the supervisor to start off the process in a positive manner by being aware of the actual circumstances.
- An Informal Complaint Process: This process allow employees to discuss, understand and resolve issues with their immediate supervisors and colleagues; therefore, the company should design specific procedures outlining the method, communication style, objectives, desired behaviors of employees and supervisors so that a solution can be achieved. This process provides an opportunity to the complainant to effectively resolve the issue without giving it any popularity in the organization. The informal complain process can take place in various ways, which include:
- Self Help Effort – where employees take up the issue directly with another employee or with his supervisor.
- Human Resource Support – where employee can consult HR department informally for the guidance towards conflict resolution.
- Open Door Policy – where employee can seek assistance, suggestion, or friendly advice from any of the manager, or executive.
- The Formal Approach: When the issue is very serious and cannot be settled informally, the formal approach is used to resolve the matter. The ideal approach for resolving this issue would depend upon the cause and seriousness of the issue. For example, if the complaint is against the supervisor then the second line of supervisor would be involved, or if the complaint is against a senior executive then someone from the board of directors and human resource department will be responsible for mediating the issue. Whatever the case may be, the complainant should follow the proper procedure so that the issue can be resolved effectively.
First of all, the complainant should register the complaint in writing with the supervisor or the human resource department clearly stating what misconduct or misapplication took place and what solution is required. The supervisor/human resource department is responsible for acknowledging the complaint in writing within minimum seven working days. The acknowledgement letter should also state the legal rights that the employee possesses like involvement of external or union representation, informal observer, professional support, etc. In the second step, investigation should be carried out of the complaint so as to verify the validity of it. If the complaint seems valid, the party against whom the complaint has been made should be informed. The supervisor should provide an opportunity to each of the party, individually, to clarify their statement. If the resolution requires mediation i.e. a third party involvement, both the complainant and the party against whom the complaint has been made should be informed about the mediator. In case, both parties fail to reach an amicable solution then the issue should be forwarded to the higher authority. Ideally, unresolved employee disputes should reach the senior management within three steps. This may mean bypassing some of the line managers and directly seeking assistance from senior executive. A request can be made from the human resource department to involve any of the senior executive, who is well versed in conflict management. Both parties, at this stage, should be informed of the consequences if either of them disagrees with the solution. This step is necessary so that the issue is not dragged on indefinitely. Prolonging the closure often prolongs the trouble and deteriorates employee relations. If any of the party, along with the observer/senior executive, feels that the solution is biased, or not favorable to both, then a review should be carried out of all steps of the process. If the employee continues to disagree, then depending upon the gravity of the situation, an external professional arbitrator can be involved. This step should be taken only as a last resort when all other methods have failed, and the resolution of the conflict is crucial for the company. Since arbitration is a costly method, a cost benefit analysis should be carried out before pursuing external help. Both parties should be legally bound to follow the final decision of the arbitrator.
- First of all, having a comprehensive scope informs the employee of what can be done, how and by whom.
- Secondly, having a consistent conflict resolution policy across the board makes sure that everyone is treated equally under the same law.
- In addition to this, maintaining the documentation of the entire process allows the organization to train and develop their employees and also to improve their management processes.
- Moreover, having a multiple step approach in resolving the conflict allows the employee to be satisfied during the process rather than being worried about favoritism or biased-ness.
- Furthermore, the option of having the service of a mediator or an external arbitrator shows that the organization is willing to take all necessary steps for resolving the conflict among employees.
- Lastly, all the suggestions mentioned above denote towards a collaborative conflict management culture where no decision is forcefully imposed on any employee. This culture not only boosts the morale of the employee, but also affects his performance and his productivity in the organization.