Introduction to Organizational Behavior


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Pages : 484; Paperback;
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Pages : 271; Paperback;
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Introduction to Organizational Behavior, Management Textbook, Workbook

Conflict, Negotiations and Intergroup Behavior : Chapter 13

Conflicts are common in all organizations. They may arise as a result of a disagreement over goals or on the means to be adopted to attain them. Conflict is also a perceptual issue. Individuals or groups may have differences of opinion, but if either of the parties is unaware of these differences, conflict will not arise. Once the parties involved recognize the differences, conflict surfaces and the parties look for ways to resolve the differences.

Conflicts may be classified into intrapersonal, interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. The conflicts that take place within an individual are referred to as intrapersonal conflict. Incompatability between needs of the individual and the goals of the organization, and the absence of role clarity lead to intrapersonal conflict. If two individuals get into conflict over an issue, such conflict is called interpersonal conflict. Such conflicts may arise because of incompatibility between individuals or when an individual perceives that his image is under threat because of the actions of another individual.

The conflicts between groups are referred to as intergroup conflicts. They may arise because of differences in viewpoints or competition for scarce resources. The process of conflict has five stages - potential opposition (incompatibility), cognition and personalization, intentions, behavior and outcomes. In the first stage, the presence of certain conditions like barriers to communication, the size and structure of work groups, or differences in personalities stimulate conflict.

If the conditions have a negative impact on the interests of an individual, he will develop hostility towards the individual or group responsible for the situation and the conflict reaches the second stage (cognition and personalization). In the third stage (intentions), the parties to the conflict decide upon the action to be taken to deal with the conflict.

The conflict may or may not be evident to outsiders at all these stages. In the fourth stage (behavior), the conflict becomes obvious because of the behavior of the conflicting individuals. In the fifth stage (outcomes), the parties interact with each other and the outcome may have either positive or negative impact on the organization. The best way to resolve conflicts is through negotiations. The two negotiating approaches that are generally practiced in organizations are distributive bargaining and integrative bargaining. Distributive bargaining leads to win-lose situations whereas integrative bargaining leads to win-win situations. The negotiation process consists of five stages: preparation and planning, defining ground rules, classification and justification, bargaining and problem solving, and closure and implementation. In the first stage, the negotiator prepares the strategy to be adopted at the negotiation table. In the second stage, both parties arrive at the negotiation table and establish the basic rules and procedures that will guide the negotiation process. In the third stage, both parties exchange their demands and justify them.

In the fourth stage, the parties start bargaining with each other, and each party gives some concessions to the other. In the fifth stage, the bargaining process is complete and the final agreement is written and signed. Some common issues that interrupt the negotiation process are: biases in decision-making, role of personality traits, gender differences, and cultural differences.

Effective management of intergroup relations is essential to avoid dysfunctional conflict and improve organizational performance. Interdependence, task uncertainty and time-goal orientation are the three important issues that influence intergroup relations. Coordination methods that are widely used for managing intergroup relations, in decreasing order or complexity, are: integrating departments; teams; task forces; liaison roles; planning; hierarchy; and rules and procedures.

Chapter 13 : Overview

Sources of Conflict
Classification of Conflict
Intrapersonal Conflict
Interpersonal Conflict
Intergroup Conflict

The Conflict Process
Potential Opposition or Incompatibility
Cognition and Personalization

Distributive Bargaining
Integrative Bargaining

The Negotiation Process
Preparation and Planning
Defining roles
Clarification and Justification
Bargaining and Problem Solving
Closure and Implementation

Issues in the Negotiation Process
Biases in Decision-Making
Personality Traits
Cultural Differences
Third-Party Negotiation

Intergroup Relations
Factors that Affect Intergroup Relations
Managing Intergroup Relations