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Intergroup Conflict and Communication: Causes, Impact, and Resolutions

Essay by   •  December 6, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,885 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,685 Views

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Intergroup Conflict and Communication: Causes, Impact, and Resolutions

Abstract

Intergroup relations between group members are quite often needed to complete the work that is required to get the job done and keep the business running smoothly. Many times, when groups get together, there is a conflict that arises. Some conflict can be functional and get members to think outside the box, which may enhance overall performance. What if the conflict is dysfunctional? Dysfunctional conflict among group members can hinder organizational progress, attainment of goals, and ultimately harm the organization. This paper discusses intergroup conflict and communication in a group within an organization, the impact of intergroup conflict, the causes, and how it can be managed and resolved.

Keywords: hinder, progress, goals, harm, managed, resolved

Table of Contents

Statement of the Problem.....................................................................................4

Descriptive Overview of the Organization...............................................................4-5

Problem Background..........................................................................................6

Literature Review...........................................................................................6-7

Problem Analysis............................................................................................7-8

Recommendations.............................................................................................8

Conclusions..................................................................................................8-9

Bibliography..................................................................................................10

Intergroup Conflict and Communication: Causes, Impact, and Resolutions

A conflict arises whenever two or more individuals are dissimilar in different ways. According to Morris, (1982), a conflict is a clash between individuals arising out of a difference in thought process, and attitudes, understanding, interests, requirements and even sometimes perceptions. In groups and organizations, conflict will arise. Sometimes conflict can be good and lead to discussion that enhances the understanding for the overall group or organization. On the other hand, conflict can be bad and lead to hindrances that can ultimately harm the group or the organization.

In this organization, Collection Central, Patrick and Sasha were asked to give their opinions about how a new collection strategy should be implemented in their group. There was a major clash in how they thought the strategy should be implemented. Sasha wanted to implement the strategy one way and Patrick another. The difference in their opinions was a conflict between the two of them which became an issue at every meeting. The manager of the group, Mrs. P, and the group members were becoming tired of this dysfunctional conflict and were trying to determine how it could be resolved. This case study will provide knowledge about the group, the conflict, the impact of intergroup conflict and communication, and the causes. In addition, it will highlight some of the resolutions including problem solving, avoiding, compromising, negotiating (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2011).

Description Overview of Organization

Collection Central is a widely used collection agency which specialized in collections for individual and small businesses. With 1200 employees and revenues in excess of 30billion annually, Collection Central's success is its people. It has small groups all over the county, comprised of a manager and twelve or less employees. There is a territory manager who is over all of the managers and a director who is over the territory manager as shown in the organizational chart. There are also support teams for technical issues that may arise.

Organizational Chart

Figure 1. Collection Central organizational Chart. The members of Mrs. P's group are identified by letter, those in direct conflict by name, and the case study author by first and last initial.

"Conflict is neither inherently good nor bad, but is inevitable" (Ivancevich et al., 2011, p. 311). Conflicts can have both negative and positive consequences. A functional conflict can have a positive consequence on an organization because it enhances and benefits the organizations performance. A dysfunctional conflict, on the other hand, has negative consequences on the organization because it harms or hinders the achievement of the organizations goals (Ivancevich, et al., 2011, p. 311). When there is dysfunctional conflict within a group, it must be managed, but before it can be managed, the cause of it must be explored. Organizations rely on people to get the job done and those people make many groups of people. Within those groups there will almost always be some conflict because people are different with different opinions, concepts and ideas. In the case of Sasha and Patrick, at one time they were really close. Something happened along the way that put a rift in their relationship and it has not been the same since. This rift has greatly affected their work relationship and the group members around them because they seem to always be at odds. Something needed to be done so Mrs. P called a meeting between the two and a mediator to help resolve some of the issues. As it turns out, Sasha received a promotion before Pat and he was angry about it because he was hired three months before her and was her trainer. So there were changes within the group that may have triggered the potential for conflict.

Literature Review

There are many recommendations by journal and textbook authors

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