This paper will discuss a situation that took place at a high end plus size women’s store when a new store manager was hired. Also covered will be the style of conflict resolution that the manager employed and how that style of thinking influenced her ability to deal with conflict situations. To finish a resolution to how the employment of a new style of dealing with conflict would improve the work environment.
Background After a long search for a store manager for a popular plus size women’s tore, let’s call it “betty’s”, a woman that we are going to call Sarah was hired and she had came managing a teen jewelry store and had never worked in retail clothing. Retail clothing is different from where she worked because in her previous job she did not have to completely change a store’s floor plan every month, this was called an IMP. This was very stressful, for it to go smoothly it called for her to be able to ensure all shipments Of new inventory were ready to go out on the floor in a relatively quick manner.
The problem with completing this task was at this particular location they had a smaller Taft than other stores and the staff they had could only work restricted amounts of hours due to the sales for the store being down and this results in lower amounts of hours the store receives for the work week. The pressure of this situation caused there to be conflicts amongst the associates and the new store manager because of her lack of communication skills and the way she employed a power-based approach with dealing with the associates along with her having a dominator style of dealing with conflicts, this lead to a poor work environment.
Literature Review When it comes to dealing with conflict, there are three approaches that people use to deal with conflict. These three styles are power based, rights bases and interest based. The following is a description of these three styles according to Griffith and Goodwin (2013): A Power-based approach to resolving conflict depends on who has the most power. A resolution to conflict, or at least an end to the dispute, is reached because one party is able to wield power over a weaker adversary and force compliance on its terms.
The use of power to resolve a dispute can have mixed results. While a Stronger party can force a weaker party to accept a resolution, the Costs in arms of lost trust and damaged relationships do not generally make the exertion of power worth what can be gained. Rights-based approaches to resolving conflict depend on rules, policies, laws, procedures, or similar frameworks from which parties can make claims to equity, justice, procedural fairness, or other entitlements.
Whereas a power-based approach involves a claim that a party should prevail because it has the power to reward or punish, a rights-based approach involves a claim that the party should prevail because such a conclusion is the correct one based on the law, policy, or there framework on which the party relies. Interest-based approaches focus on parties’ underlying needs, concerns, and desires and on finding solutions that will address them.
The ideal context for facilitating interest-based conflicts is a collaborative model whereby the parties seek to understand each others interests in the dispute and find ways to achieve an outcome that is acceptable and mutually beneficial. Unlike power-or rights-based approaches, wherein outcomes are achieved the rough superior force or superior argument, an interest-based approach focuses on the “why” of a dispute. Losing this approach, parties discern the underlying issues that brought them to the point of conflict in the first place. The following contexts illustrate the use of interest-based approaches. Pages 34-37) The use of the power based approach when employed by mangers, especially new mangers, can lead to dissension in the workplace and hard feelings amongst the employees toward that manager. The problem lies in the fact that the manager tries to assert unnecessary power over the employees when all that is needed to communicate what is expected out Of them and the consequences of what would happen if it is not. The method that most successful managers employ is the rights based method; this method works the best because it relies on rules and policies that the company has in place so that they are justified in their arguments.
The interest based approach is best used in minor workplace conflicts that do not deal with major issues and is usually between two employees. Now if you were to couple the power based approach with a manager that also has a very high ranking of the dominator style of dealing with a conflict situation the results are most likely going to end badly. Those that employ the dominator style view conflict a Attlee for supremacy, and they will force to dominate and manipulate to get what they want. According to the LSI Self Development Guide, there are three approaches that dominator use to approach conflict situations: 1.
If in a position of less power, they will create alliances with those in power by indemnifying with their values and goals. 2. If in a more powerful situation, they will use force to gain compliance. 3. If in a position of relatively equal power, they will subvert the power base of their page 55) The guide also discusses behaviors that the dominator style can enhance ND maintain to be able to handle conflict situations for a more agreeable outcome. The first is that they are sensitive to the power Of others so they will be able to emphasize more with them.
Next is that they identify that power is significant in conflict and understands that others want to hold this power. Also because they employ manipulating and controlling tactics they can recognize when it is happening to them. Finally their desire for power will empower them to be assertive and defensive when handling conflicts of personal interest. Managers should not be afraid of conflict because it is a trial part of human nature. A quote from Forbes magazine best sums it up as: ‘While you can try and avoid conflict (bad idea), you cannot escape conflict. The fact of the matter is conflict in the workplace is unavoidable.
It will find you whether you look for it (good idea – more later) or not. The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict will serve you well as a leader – the inability to do so may well be your downfall. ” (Matt, 201 2) This means that managers need to learn how to deal with conflict in the work place and be able to handle all that come with that because it is going to be there at some point. According to a Human Resources expert there are three things to avoid in conflict resolution and the reasons why: 1.
Do not avoid the conflict, hoping it will go away. Trust me. It won’t. Even if the conflict appears to have been superficially put to rest, it will rear its ugly head whenever stress increases or a new disagreement occurs. An unresolved conflict or interpersonal disagreement festers just under the surface in your work environment. It burbles to the surface whenever enabled, and always at the roost possible moment. This, too, shall pass, is not an option – ever. 2. Do not meet separately with people in conflict. If you allow each individual to tell their story to you, you risk popularizing their positions.
The person in conflict has a vested interest in making himself or herself “right” if you place yourself in the position of judge and jury. The sole goal of the employee, in this situation, is to convince you of the merits of their case. 3. Do not believe, for even a moment, the only people who are affected by the conflict are the participants. Everyone in your office and every employee with whom he conflicting employees interact, is affected by the stress. People feel as if they are walking on egg shells in the presence of the antagonists.
This contributes to the creation of a hostile work environment for other employees. In worst case scenarios, your organization members take sides and your organization is divided. (Hatfield, 2014) Once the conflict has been identified and the two parties have tried to deal with it but have come to a stalemate it is best to make use off mediator help resolve the problem. The definition of mediation according to the International Academy of Mediators s “Mediation is a voluntary, non-binding process using a neutral third party to guide the parties toward a mutually beneficial resolution of their dispute. Unlike an arbitrator, who can impose a decision, the mediator helps the parties to decide for themselves whether to settle and on what terms. The mediator acts as a catalyst for the process, helping parties reach agreement by Identifying issues, exploring possible bases for agreement and the consequences of not settling and encore raging each party to accommodate the interest of the other parties. It is a cooperative, interest-based approach to conflict resolution. (Agree. Mom, 2014) Analysis When comes to analyzing the situation at “Betty’s”, it is important to understand that the manager always dealt with her associates using a power- based approach. In doing this she would assert her power as manager over the girls and make them feel as if they did not matter and sometimes fearful for their job. Sarah would not approach the girls in a manner that let them know she was willing to listen to their opinions on matters or what they could suggest to make the process of completing the IMP go more smoothly; even though Sarah had never been given such a task in her past employments.
The problem with this is that the associates who have worked in the store for some time now know what they are doing and could influence how well this process could go down, but Sarah is so bent on being the one in charge and calling all the shots that she will not take their words into consideration and this leaves the associates upset with Sarah because they truly want to help the situation. Now the way that Sarah can better the situation at work, would be to approach the associates using a combination of the rights based approach and the interest based approach. Using the rights bases approach will allow
Sarah to have the companies rules and policies as a means to back up her arguments on how things need to be done and let the associates know that it is not her being this way for the sake of arguments it’s her trying to operate in the way the company says she should. Also for minor occurrences that happen amongst the girls, employing an interest based approach is good way to go at the problem. Using this manner, Sarah will seek ways to understand the others interests and find ways to help them to achieve an outcome that would work to benefit all those involved on a mutual level.
Let be understood hat these two approaches will work every time, because “Any dispute may have elements of power-, rights-, and interest-based approaches the parties use to achieve desired outcomes. In the course of a negotiation, even the most open-minded individual seeking a win/win may seek to influence another party by claiming a proposed solution is the just thing to do (rights based) or by asserting she has the leverage to take a certain action (power based) if an agreement cannot be reached. There are not always clear demarcations signaling when a dispute has left the realm of one approach and entered another.
The approach taken will depend on the nature of the conflict and the parties’ perception of their options for having their needs met. ” (Griffith and Goodwin, page 37) Another problem that Sarah faces is that she deals with conflict situations mostly using the dominator style. This style “reflects the belief that people are basically motivated by power and control; in other words, we behave as we do because of the rewards we stand to gain or the punishments we wish to avoid. Based on this belief, Dominator view conflict as a power struggle for supremacy. Their strategy is to accumulate power and use force to pursue heir interests.
The manipulative tactics employed by Dominator incite combative action and escalate conflicts quickly. ” (Leaflets, 2014) This description perfectly describes how Sarah faced her conflicts and explains why they never ended quickly and without much of a fuss. To better her conflict dealing skills, Sarah would benefit from adopting the pragmatist style. The pragmatist style can effectively resolve conflicts by taking ‘the initiative in conflicts by candidly and analytically presenting their intentions and needs; if opponents reciprocate, this direct approach quickly uncovers points of preference and sets a course toward a rational conclusion.