Assignment 1: Case Study Analysis and Discussion
The case study is provided to you (an acting consultant) in five parts, as follows:
- Part 1 is a contextual description of the company and how it carries out its business.
- Part 2 is a letter from a Mr. James Baker, a one-time employee of Metro Services.
- Part 3 is a synopsis of the principles and the business conditions.
- Part 4 is a synopsis of the spokesperson’s role and agenda; some of the problems are further defined.
- Part 5 contains the results of a ten-item survey that was given to the employees, with the items and results shown.
You have been asked (retained) by Metro’s management to study the five existing documents and identify:
- The positives (for resolution) and negatives (for resolution) in favor of the management group and in favor of the employee group
- Points of contention related to the positives and negatives. Any of these points can relate to or create conflict conditions
- A time-phased strategy to address the conflict and recommendations for change and resolution
- By the due date assigned, submit your responses to the Discussion Area. Through the end of the module, review and comment on at least two classmates’ responses.
All written assignments and responses should follow APA rules for attributing sources.
Module 5 Overview
The second assignment in Module 5 asks you to identify someone you know who is a professional and who is willing to talk about a serious conflict in which the dynamics of leadership were important as the events moved (or did not move) to resolution. Selection of this person is obviously important. His or her willingness to search and discuss is the key requirement.
There may be some ways that have helped you do mindful searches in order to grasp memories and organize these thoughts. Taking time to talk through this process of recall and analysis with the interviewee may help improve the quality of the interview. It may very well be that you interview a second or even a third person in order to achieve the objectives of this assignment.
The interview interaction in the second assignment is preceded by a case study wherein you carry out your analysis of the situation and then provide a scenario solution. This scenario actually demonstrates a quasi-leadership role. As you complete the second assignment, try two juxtapositions, one as the president of Metro Services, Inc., and the second as the appointed leader of the employee group. What would be some important things that the leaders would need to make happen to resolve this conflict? Try visualizing the interactions between the two leaders.
Or, you may want to seek another classmate to role-play the scenario with you, and work together to come to a resolution for the two factions in the scenario. You may find that this role-playing experience may provide some insight as to how you might react during a resolution (or negotiation) meeting.
From these two assignments, you may detect some personal attributes, similar to your results of the four assessments, that stand out as significant forces—or modus operandi—as you work through the case studies. Is there possibly a key value that is a deep-seated belief influencing your actions, feelings, and ideas?
You are to discover any patterns, postures, or perspectives that inform you as to how or what you are doing when completing the case studies. Know that first reactions to a situation provide important clues. Repetition of a response is another clue. Identifying a rather unusual method or solution yet not acting on it are also key to identifying deep-seated values, personality traits, conflict style, and emotional intelligence.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Conflicts are basically resolved through some type of negotiation. Without constructive communications, there is no negotiation. The three characteristics of this phase are the dependence that the parties have on each other, which entails negotiation; the common and contradictory issues at hand; and the objective of an agreement. The difficulty is in trying to understand the real motives and goals of the situation. Identifying the source of the problem can be very difficult. This is why it is so important to find an objective criterion that is possibly acceptable so that once the criterion is agreed upon, you can move forward. Once this is accomplished, concessions will have to be made and accepted by agreeing upon the best alternatives.
Mediation uses a third party, which attempts to bring about a middle ground that is mutually acceptable to both parties without having lawyers, etc., involved. Mediation is a widely used method for conflict resolution as it does enable the involved parties to convey their concerns related to the dispute. A mediator does not hold any bias toward one party or the other, nor does he or she favor one solution over the other. The mediator’s sole purpose is to simply assist both sides involved to find a resolution for the conflict that would be lasting and fair to both parties. The mediator will communicate with both parties to try and have the parties assess the relative merits of the different options in the hope of developing an agreement that would satisfy all sides. While the mediator will attempt to find a common ground that both parties can find acceptable, it still may not happen. Even after mediation, the parties can freely reject the settlement and try an alternative means for resolving the conflict.
Trade-Offs and Risk Analysis in the Mediation/Resolution Process
People who are in lengthy or prolonged conflict will often begin to take risks in order to settle the dispute. The downside of this is that barriers to conflict resolution can begin to develop, making it essential that the mediator focuses on the specifics of the risk aversion and moves toward trying to have the parties communicate on specific points of acceptability. Therefore, the mediator must do a risk analysis and ask the parties involved to consider some of the risks involved in order to develop an agreeable solution. The trade-offs and risk resolution result in the parties having to come to a settlement if the remaining risks are acceptable to them, and the parties must understand that more variables may have to be evaluated if the risk taking continues to occur. In mediation, there is usually a small length of time wherein mediation may be successful, and if mediation is tried before or after this time, it may not succeed.
Arbitration, as with mediation, is normally accomplished in a setting wherein sensitive issues can be discussed without them becoming public knowledge. Arbitration is adversarial and allows all sides to state their positions, and then the arbitrator reviews the evidence and makes a decision or agrees to a solution. Some parties will try to avoid arbitration because it will normally not develop a win-win situation; more often than not, it will end in a win-lose solution. An arbitrator will usually decide that one side is right and the other side is wrong. Arbitration is slightly different from adjudication in that the parties can usually agree on their arbitrator and, in many cases, the arbitrator is an expert in the field at hand whereas a judge is usually not. Arbitration is usually much quicker than adjudication since the arbitrator has the final word and it is binding as there is no appeal.
Refer to the Managing Conflict to learn more about conflict management.