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How Manage Conflicts in Companies?

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How manage conflicts in companies?

Florian GUEFFIER

27/11/2009

Group I Professor: Elen Riot

INTRODUCTION

To create my Organizational Behaviour term paper, I relied on my internship experience which was my first step in the business world. Much to my surprise, where I met difficulties was not on the business skills but on the management skills because the place where I did my internship, a real estate office, employees were under pressure. So, through the OB term paper, I will present the situation during my internship in the real estate agency in a first part, explain with outsides references what are the causes of conflicts in companies and how manage the tensions they create in a second part, and finally, what will be the modifications I'll make if I were in my internship again or at the place of the managers.

THE SITUATION

As a student of the ESC RENNES School of Business, you have to find a commercial internship during the summer holidays. The minimal internship length required was about 10 weeks at least. I chose to discover how a real estate office works. Indeed, I'm interested by the real estate on a personal view, that is to say, to create a company established to managed personal holdings (French name : SCI  Société Civile Immobilière) to buy flats and rent them.

So, my internship began the 18th of May 2009 and ended at the beginning of September. During the four months of my internship, I learned lots of things about the real estate but also how a real estate office is managed, how and particularly when conflicts appear. Unfortunately, I didn't see how tensions and conflicts are managed and resolved because the managers didn't make anything to settle problems.

What were the management problems of the real estate office and why they were numerous?

First, the economical situation of the real estate is really bad. Indeed, because of the financial crisis, people don't trust in the future because lots of companies are in difficulties and because many of them lay off workers. Because the situation is difficult and, because a moving house costs a lot, people wait and don't move. That's why, real estate agencies have less sales or renting. So, the agencies have fewer customers and on the other hand, managers ask sales people to complete the objectives.

Moreover, the wages of the sales persons are a commission plan. They don't have a base salary, all is variable and it creates stress on commercials because customers are not numerous.

In the sale department, sales people have sales sectors which represent the districts of the city. This distribution is criticized because the prices of the flats our houses are not the same as well as the number of customers, as a consequence it creates conflicts.

In the management team, there are also problems because they didn't react to the conflicts between people or when they did something, the solution didn't resolve problems. The manager of the renting department didn't see what the problems in her department were because; when she was in her office she closed the door and she did only 6 or 7 hours per day. Indeed, she always arrived after her employees and always left real estate office a long time before the end of the day's work. This person had also difficulties to finish its works.

What's more, the renting department was organized as an Open Space. Normally, this organization facilitates the communication between employees but both sales persons didn't speak and when they have to tell something to the other they send an email. Indeed, the open plan office is really good to communicate when there is a lot of work but, in this period, where there are less customers, the discussion are not only professional but also personal and this creates jealousy between the employees. Moreover, they felt spy on.

During my internship, I was involved in a conflict with one sale person. Indeed, this person with a strong personality didn't understand that an intern can say no to her orders. Indeed, she asked me to do a job completely different of my internship and I didn't want to do the job so we entered in conflict.

Finally, the building where is the real estate office has two floors. The ground floor is occupied by the commercials departments, and, on the first floor are for the accountancy department, the litigation management department and the top management. Between the ground floor and the first floor there is no communication between people and it doesn't exist meeting with all the departments.

All these problems I noted during my internship reduce the productivity of the employees, reduce the production of the real estate office and make it harder to manage the office because there were two resignations, one person laid off, and numerous sick leaves.

Therefore, during my internship, I saw lots of conflicts which were really instructive for me. Now, I will make a conflict analysis according outside references and courses to explain what type of conflict was, the causes, the conflict management style used by the managers, and techniques used by the parties to resolve conflicts.

ANALYSIS

a) Types of conflicts & their causes

The conflicts seen during my internship were numerous, but the levels of conflicts I was involved or as a witness were inter-personal by a majority. Globally, these conflicts were about ideas between people of the same services. In the department of my internship, the conflicts was created by one sale person who had difficulties to follow the orders of the managers, to work with her colleagues and to understand that sometimes her ideas are completely wrong and prejudicial for the real estate agency. This person was constantly in interpersonal conflicts.

Indeed, during the periodical meetings, the management team used to give threats to the sale person who realized less renting. So there was a competition for limited resources because the real estate customers were not numerous because of the economic situation.

There were also disagreements over objectives. Indeed, the numbers of customer this year were not numerous but the top management

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