Organizational Behavior Case Study

Sources of Conflict Based on Model of Conflict Processes

The conflict between the implementation and policy team arises from several sources. The model of conflict process can be used in the analysis of the conflict. Among the sources of conflict is incompatibility or potential opposition. Potential opposition comes in based on the setting created at the workplace. The teams are working on different settings but, working on similar activities. One team spearheads an operation and the other one is left to complete. Working on different settings hinders the level of communication at the workplace. What the policy team develops might not go well with the implementation team. This is because the two teams have different perceptions on the matter. Their ideologies are likely to conflict hence polarizing the relationship that exists between the two parties (Furlong, 2005). Working in partnership would be the best approach to use under in such a working environment. Decisions arrived at would be mutual hence no one would have the audacity to oppose them. Another incompatibility aspect arises from the age differentials between the two teams. The policy team is believed to have experienced employees that are elderly compared to the implementation team. Based on this ideology, the policy team will always view the implementation team as inferior. They are reluctant to appreciate any work that they get engaged with. This causes conflict because the implementation team cannot get along with this. They have the quest of proving themselves hence the desire of going against the odds.

Another stage of the model of conflict process that is quite applicable to this case is cognition and personalization. Initially, the implementation team made a blunder in the first weeks.  This was getting a farmers’ union offside as they executed their duties. As a result, the policy team views the implementation team as inferior. Such instances hinder effective operations at the workplace. The policy team does not trust the implementation with its duties. This aspect is vivid from the body language and the way the duties are executed. An implementation team member had leaked some emails that had from the policy team members. The emails had negative remarks towards the implementation team. Implementation team on its part is aware of how their colleagues view them. The occurrence draws sour blood between the parties since they view each other as enemies. Any opportunity to get pull down the team will be highly appreciated by the other party. This is not favorable in the department’s quest of attaining the desired objectives. The teams try to jeopardize each other’s work so as to prove a point (Gitman & McDaniel, 2009).

Another issue that contributes to the conflict is the intentions that every team has in mind. One of them is the competing aspect from the implementation team. The members are quite aware that they are young and inexperienced compared to the policy team. For this reason, they intend to prove their worth in the midst of the current setting. By trying to prove themselves, they engage in activities that do not go well with the policy team. They try to make them feel inferior too hence heightening the conflict between the two parties. The policy team on the other hand, has the intent of compromising the activities of the implementation team. For them (policy team), seem to be high on the hierarchy of the organization. This based on the age level and the work experience that they are perceived to posses. They fear that the people from the implementation team might replace them sooner than later if their efforts are substantial. The team is trying to use conflict as a way of slowing them down. This will continue for some time if something effective is not done.

The behavior of the previous manager has also contributed to the conflict being experienced. As the policy team tried to trade allegations towards their colleagues through emails, the implementation team had filed formal complains with him. However, John did not take any initiative to quell the problem. He just locked himself in the office and left the issues to sort themselves. This did not turn out well since the aggrieved party felt disappointed. They had the initiative of taking the matters on their own hands. This meant taking the policy team heads on without minding the extent to which the relationships would be ruined.

Outcome of the conflict also contributed to the conflict. The mechanism designed to bring calm did not last for a long time. It was short-term and hence could not hold on the reconciliation process. The department seemed not to have learnt of the root causes and try and solve them permanently.

Suitability of Max’s Actions

The actions of the manager were appropriate to some extent and inappropriate when looked from a different angle. As a short term solution, it was the best thing to do. Talking to all the relevant employees was aimed at passing some vital information. Max tried to reason out with the employees and come to conclusion that the conflict was not doing any good to the department and the employees’ careers too. However, talking to them as a group was more effective compared to individual basis. Individual basis would have resulted in some form of conflict. Every member of the department would be curious of what the others were discussing with the manager. To them it would appear as a way of duping them so as to bring them into good terms. It is evident that mechanism used to quell the problem did not last for long.

Max would have depended on his mechanism for the short-term period, but in the process develop a long-term strategy. Max should have taken the initiative of investigating the actual cause of these conflicts. This would have been through thorough interviews with all the employees. Everyone would have been held responsible for their own actions. Not conducting an investigation hindered any form of success in the future. A similar situation would arise since the mechanisms used in solving the problem might not be the most appropriate. Individuals that bared more responsibility in the conflict process should have been brought to book. Anyone of them that refused to corporate needed to be subject of further action from the management.  This would have acted as a lesson to other employees that might think of heading in a similar direction in future operations. It would bring disciple on levels of the workplace.

This should be followed by developing a culture of working in partnership. This would have been a gradual process but would have paid immensely once implemented. By trying to make people work in partnership, a lot of things and systems in the organization tend to change. This includes the values, beliefs and perceptions that people have. Working in partnership eliminates the notion that one party is superior compared to the other. All people work towards achieving a common goal. Under such a setting everyone understands his or her duties clearly hence eliminating any form of conflict. It becomes the duty of every employee to hold his or her side of the task so as to complete the action of the others (Gennard & Judge, 2005). Working in partnership also helps in elevating pressure and stress at the workplace. These aspects highly contribute to the existence of conflict in the organization. People tend to find various excuses of why their lives are not turning out as expected. The immediate thing to do is finding blame of the side of colleagues. They tend to think they are the cause of their pressure and stress hence tends to confront them in various ways. If Max helped in eliminating this aspects, the conflict levels would not have gone overboard. When people have the peace of mind, their reasoning capacity is high hence make reasonable and appropriate decisions. To this effect, Max should have reviewed the working environment and patterns so as to come with a favorable mechanism.

Another way that Max would have dealt with the issue is by way of engaging all the relevant employees. To achieve this, he would have held several meetings with all the employees involved in the conflicts. Here, they would have discussed the issues and everyone given the opportunity to raise their grievances. Several policies that would have helped in bringing calm should have been devised through this mechanism.  When the employees are involved the decision making process of an organization, there is an essence of belonging that is developed (Rahim, 2011). This way, they tend to adhere to all the regulations and stipulations brought forward since they were part of the team that coined them. Their involvement also makes sure that all the regulations brought forward are attainable.

Actions to be Enhanced by Joseph

Joseph has a lot to do in order to ensure that timeliness and government objectives are met. Among them is setting up mechanisms that will help in managing diversity. When the management has been able to manage diversity, it becomes feasible in attaining the postulated objectives. This is because every employee has a good understanding of their colleagues. They tend to appreciate them for who they are. Their weaknesses are no longer a subject of discrimination or judgment.  People tend to see the importance of the differences while striving to achieve various objectives in the organization. The differences help in bringing in different reasoning aspects hence completing the allocated task in the best possible way (Cañas & Sondak, 2012). All employees also tend to understand that age, color of the skin, racial background and other differential factors really mean nothing at the workplace. It will be of help based on the grounds that policy team and implementation team seem to differ in terms of their age and experience level. However, if the process is not conducted in the best way possible it might not pay favorable results. The team allocated with this duty must be competent enough so as to see the process prevail. They must have a little background on managing diversity to help come up with the most appropriate polices and strategies for the process.

Another action that might help on issues regarding timeliness is setting of deadlines. Every task should be allocated a certain period of time. No matter the circumstances, the task should be executed within this time without any failure.  Such a situation will help develop some form of focus on the side of the employees. It works as a form of motivation since the employees have something to work for. It is a driving force since there are aims and there is need to deliver. This will bring employees into working together since they have a common goal and the time is limited (Lauby, 2005). The improvement in relationship between the employees involved ensures that all the tasks are executed in the best possible way and on a timely manner. There is knowledge that any form of laxity from one employee might jeopardize the whole process. As a result, employees work as motivation to their colleagues. Once one of them is not in line with the general procedure, they tend to enlighten him or her of what is expected. When such aspects are the driving force at the workplace, it will become possible to attain the government’s objectives in the desired time frame. The relationship developed in the process will be very useful on future endeavors of the workplace.

Enhancing employees’ motivation would also make an effective action for Joseph. There are several ideas that he can use during the process of enhancing motivation.  One way is by setting outcome based goals. The goals should be realistic and achievable based on the resources that the taskforce has on its disposal. There should be frequent reviews on these goals to help see whether their relevance still holds.  Some goals become irrelevant along the way as new outcomes unfold. These reviews will help in eliminating irrelevance. The taskforce of its part will have a sense of doing something that is appropriate hence creating some form of motivation (Konrad, Prasad & Pringle, 2006). It will become easier for the department to achieve government’s objectives in a timely manner. Joseph should also establish some form of trust with the taskforce. Mistakes only provide an opportunity of fixing problems and moving on with the desired task. The employees had made a mistake before, but this should not deter Joseph from trusting them. It usually feels good on their side once they are trusted with something. It makes them feel responsible and have something to pay back to their manager. This boosts their motivation has improves their general performance. Identifying the employees’ strengths would also help in this realization. Age difference and work experience should not be used as criteria of determining whether a member of the taskforce works in the implementation or policy team. Joseph should take the initiative of analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of his members. This way, he will be able to assess where they best fit in accomplishing the designated tasks (Lauby, 2005). Getting the best out of every employee will be the ultimate objective. The occurrence will act as a motivation to the taskforce since everyone is doing what he or she is best at. Completing all the assignments in time and meeting relevant objectives will be enhanced by using such a technique.



Cañas, K. A., & Sondak, H. (2012). Opportunites and challenges of workplace diversity:             theory, cases and exercises (Third ed.). kuma: earson Education, Limited.

Furlong, G. T. (2005). The conflict resolution toolbox models & maps for analyzing, diagnosing,    and resolving conflict. Mississauga, Ont.: J. Wiley & Sons Canada.

Gennard, J., & Judge, G. (2005). Employee relations (4th ed.). London: Chartered Institute of      Personnel and Development.

Gitman, L. J., & McDaniel, C. D. (2009). The future of business: the essentials (4th, student ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cenage Learning.

Konrad, A. M., Prasad, P., & Pringle, J. K. (2006). The handbook of workplace diversity.   London: Sage Publications.

Lauby, S. J. (2005). Motivating employees. Alexandria, Va.: ASTD Press.

Rahim, M. A. (2011). Managing conflict in organizations (4th ed.). New Brunswick [NJ:   Transaction.

West, R. L., & Turner, L. H. (2011). Understanding interpersonal communication: making            choices in changing times (2nd ed.). Boston: Wadsworth.

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