The issue of discrimination in the workplace is one of the most devastating aspects of an employee. This issue is usually related to the conflict between a manager and the staff. It would be liberal if the conflict is resolved and reconciliation done to avoid subjecting the hardworking employees to mental torture. Therefore, the knowledge about conflict management is mandatory and it is an obligation for managers of various organizations. The knowledge about the conflict management approach is also significant to the subordinate staff, because it gives them the skill of handling conflicts at the workplace. It is also important for the managers and the subordinate staff to have the knowledge of mediation and arbitration for effective conflict resolution. This essay examines some of the issues about conflict management with relevant case studies presented. It also discusses the conflict management approach and the corresponding improvement plan for the approach. Finally, the paper discusses on how the knowledge of mediation and arbitration process can impact on an individual’s skill to handle conflict.
At some point, I was working with a particular organization in the Commonwealth Department, but I stagnated in the same position for quite some time. I tried to apply for promotion to work at the client service desk, but my manager could not allow me to assume the position. However, my co-workers were being promoted to various positions. The manager was not promoting me, because I had been charged with a traffic offense of over speeding with the Company’s vehicle over a decade ago. The company was charged with the offense and my manager developed a dismissive attitude towards my personality. The court had taken pertinent mitigating conditions into account during that time. The manager kept on reminding me of the lack of responsibility for the company’s property and, therefore, exempted me from promotions. The manager also blamed me for the lack of respect for legal systems because of my inability to observe the traffic rules.
Despite working hard for the company for a decade, I could not get any positive recommendation from the manager. The issue became a big bother to me and I kept working hard expecting some positive feedback from the manager. Every time I tried to apply for a better position the manager kept pinning me down, because the mistake I committed hindered me to conform to the standards of the new position.
As I discussed this issue with some of my colleagues, they suggested involving in a dialog with the manager. I decided to seek for an opportunity to speak to the manager, but my efforts were futile. The issue disturbed me for a while and I even thought of resigning. My colleagues condemned the idea and I was left with no option other than tolerate.
I kept on persisting on seeking a forum to solve the issues through my staff mates and we eventually succeeded. The manager agreed to reconcile and I was promoted to the senior consultant for the company. This aspect came as a result of positive though and the persistence resilience in the department. I decided to perform the new task with the motive of recovering the loss I had caused the company to undergo in the fateful year. Eventually, I was given an award for the most outstanding employee of the year and I was extremely grateful.
If my case was compared critically to Kate’s manager, it could be deduced that indeed the conflict between an employee and the manager can be experienced in different forms. In both instances, the failure of adhering to the expectation of the managers made it difficult to be promoted. However, my case reveals that the failure to comply with the ethical practice within an organization can tremendously affect performance. For instance, Kate’s manager might be hindering her from getting promotion on the basis of gender. This aspect is evident, because after working for more than a decade, she would not be considered for a promotion contrary to her male counterparts. In both instances, reconciliation is a significant aspect of an organization and can enhance mutual understanding.
Some of the primary possible ethical violations involved in Kate’s manager case include the breach of professional ethics regarding personal interest. According to Mullane (2009), a leader is supposed to adhere to professional ethics by being fair to employees. Fairness in this situation implies conforming to the rules and not taking advantage of others (Mullane, 2009). Mullane has also pointed out that fairness is making profound decisions without favoritism and prejudice or even blaming other employees (Mullane, 2009 p.3). If critically analyzed, my manager also breached the code of ethics by neglecting the idea of listening to me to know the source of the problem. Perhaps what compelled me to over speed was to catch up with time and report at the workplace early. According to Mullane, it is ethical for a leader to be compassionate and develop a caring attitude towards the subordinate staff. This aspect is significant in establishing mutual understanding between the manager and the employee at a personal level. It is through mutual understanding that confidentiality is developed.
According to the leadership theory of trait and skills, a leader is supposed to possess some significant characteristics that emanate from the charismatic personal behavior. This theory suggests that a successful leader should be concerned about other people’s welfare with some sense of equality (Northouse, 2010). Using Kate’s story, it can be clearly evaluated that the aspect of gender equality as far as promotion is concerned was not observed. On the other hand, my manager depicted the lack of autocracy in his leadership. An autocratic leader usually involves the subordinate staff in the decision making and then waits for the members’ opinions regarding the issue (Northouse, 2010). If he had observed this aspect of leadership, it would not have taken a whole decade for me to get my promotion.
It is mandatory for an employer in any organization to conform to the laws and local legislation regarding the equal employment opportunities at the workplace. The interaction between the managers and the workers in an organization usually creates a broad range of opportunities for the legal breaches. For instance, in Kate’s case the manager violated the law concerning gender discrimination at the workplace. Managers who discriminate upon the minority group in the promotions and hiring practices are considered to violate the human resource ethics (Davis, 2011). Therefore, in such situations they are supposed to face legal and social consequences. According to the US Equal Employment Commission, it is illegal for an employee to harass the employee at the workplace (Davis, 2011 p. 214). My manager harassed me by not listening to my case. He also discriminated me on the basis of the criminal record. Instead, it was like he subjected me to a punitive act that was not in line with the codes of conduct of the organization.
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The first approach that can be recommended for Kate to manage the adverse risk personally and professionally is establishing a rapport with the manager. This approach would assist her to understand sincerely the position of the other party and arrive at a tangible conclusion of the conflict (Davis, 2011 p. 202). Secondly, it is advisable for Kate to embrace communication to the manager and inform him of the issue instead of a mere assumption that the manager is discriminating upon her. However, it can clearly be evident that she has neither been given an annual nor the semiannual review that would be necessary for promotion. According to Davis (2011 p. 208), it is worthy for employees to be open to the supervisor about their feelings rather than taking on their back with the coworkers. This aspect would also assist them to be objective with their conclusion and clear the air on the possible animosity between them.
If the advice that Kate received from the coworkers is critically evaluated, it can be deduced that it was a good advice but not appropriate for her situation. Firstly, it is because she was dealing with an assumption that the manager was intentionally sidelining her from promotions despite her loyalty. Secondly, she failed to analyze the real roots of the conflict before taking the necessary actions towards resolving the conflict. It can be assumed that reporting the issue to the management would not provide the suitable remedy, because Kate was not sure of the core expectations of the manager to consider her for a promotion. Alternatively, the board would have ignored her argument on the ground of pettiness if the manager convinced the board of the reasons for their actions. In addition, the manager might decide to be assertive and uncooperative and the conflict would be difficult to resolve at that level.
The most appropriate approach that can be recommended for Kate is to compromise. Compromising gives an individual opportunity to find an expedient and the most remarkable remedy to a conflict (Rahim, 2015). This strategy falls in the category of being assertive and cooperative at the same time. According to Rahim, compromising is similar to negotiation because both parties engage in a dialog voluntarily. Therefore, this strategy would give Kate an opportunity to arrive at a conclusion that is the most appropriate for her and the manager. Later, she can approach the manager and diplomatically request for a promotion without using force. For example, if negotiation fails, then Kate can resort to facing the management for mediation and address her grievances in a polite way for justice to prevail. This strategy is the most ideal for Kate, because it enables them to reach a consensus on a solution that is most convenient for both of them. In addition, this strategy is also necessary for ending the conflict without intimidating the reputation and dignity of any of the parties.
If my conflict resolution strategies are rated on the scale of five, I am certain that it would be five in terms of ending the conflict. According to this aspect, compromising gives the parties responsible a chance to negotiate on the solution that is suitable for both. It is significant in solving a problem once and for all and it prevents chances of engaging in the same conflict. For instance, in my case I compromised with the conflict and eventually I obtained a better position at the workplace. I was crowned the most outstanding employee, something that I would not have achieved if I had not compromised. However, if negotiation does not work, it would be liberal to resort to mediation.
The mediation process is one of the most significant knowledge for conflict resolution and management. The following are the primary reasons why mediation is an important instrument in the conflict resolution process. Firstly, mediation is a simpler and faster method of resolving conflicts compared to litigation. The knowledge of neutrality in the application of mediation process will help me to know how to find neutral solutions that would be mandatory in providing solutions to conflicts. It would help me to give equal opportunities to the conflicting parties, because in mediation the belligerents should be given equal chances to express their positions. As a manager with the knowledge of mediation process, I will be in a position to encourage peaceful coexistence at the workplace by providing working solutions in case of a conflict. The emotional intelligence skill acquired in the study of the mediation process will be relevant in helping the participants to arrive at an amicable solution without using emotive language.
The knowledge of arbitration process would be significant to help me in understanding my limitations when suggesting solutions for a problem. The knowledge will also alleviate my managerial skills by encouraging fairness and integrity in the context of a conflict. The knowledge will also help me in the process of selecting and recommending the best conflict resolution practitioner in case of a conflict in the organization. The knowledge of arbitration will as well help in comprehending how arbitration operates. This aspect will assist me as a manager to cope with the dynamic challenges in the business world. Besides, it will be significant in making me comprehend the role of witnesses in conflict resolution. For instance, as an entrepreneur the knowledge will be useful in establishing the different languages spoken by various customers hence setting a reasonable policy. The knowledge of arbitration will assist in maximizing of chances in the event of a dispute involving the subordinate staff hence a skilled manager.
One of the changes that have occurred in my life since I experienced the conflict was empathy. I have learned to empathize in the event of a conflict. I have also learned to embrace a dialog whenever I have conflict, because negotiation is significant in resolving disputes without violence.
In conclusion, conflict management is one of the essential knowledge for an organization. The element of conflict is inevitable in an organization and healthy for the continuity and growth. It helps an organization to identify its areas of laxity and execute necessary actions that can assist it to move forward. However, some of the conflicts are controversial and requires expertise to deal with them. The choice of conflict resolution approach matters.
Therefore, it is an obligation for the whole management team to ensure that this aspect is given priority. The supervisors and employees in the contemporary society are expected to reform their behaviors so that they can catch up with the extreme global challenges. An effective conflict management criterion would be beneficial to the organization’s internal process.
Therefore, certain types of conflicts that may affect the operation of the entire system should be handled professionally to prevent violence.
On the other hand, effective conflict resolution strategy is based on significant communication skills that are possessed by an individual. It is also an obligation for the education bodies to facilitate the conflict management education at all levels.