Conflict at Microsoft • Various sources conclude that Microsoft is riddled with dysfunctional conflict that could soon hamper its ability to remain competitive. • “Pretty much across the board people are saying that Microsoft is dysfunctional,” concludes one industry analyst. “They are not cooperating across business groups.”
Task vs. Socioemotional Conflict • Constructive (task-related) conflict – Conflict is aimed at issue, not parties – Helps recognize problems, identify solutions, and understand the issues better – Potentially healthy and valuable
• Socioemotional (relationship) conflict – Conflict viewed as a personal attack – Introduces perceptual biases – Distorts information processing
NHLPA Changes Conflict Styles Outgoing National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) boss Bob Goodenow (left) was called the Darth Vader of hockey, because of his forcing style of conflict management with NHL owners. Taking his place is Ted Saskin (right), whose diplomatic problem-solving conflict resolution style couldn’t be more different from Goodenow’s.
Forcing – May be necessary when: 1. you know you are correct & dispute requires quick solution 2. the other party would take advantage of more cooperative strategies – Problem: Fuels socioemotional conflict
Compromising – Best when 1. little hope for mutual gain 2. both parties have equal power 3. both parties need to settle differences quickly – Problem: “Good enough” solution that overlooks better solutions
Toyota Drums Out Differences Employees at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. are drumming out their differences in the car company’s drum room. Typically in groups of 15 to 50 from one department, employees bang on various percussion instruments. Most groups soon find a common beat without any guidance or conductor.
Reducing Differentiation • Remove sources of different values and beliefs • Move employees around to different jobs, departments, and regions • Other ways to reduce differentiation: –Common dress code/status –Common work experiences Edward Carreon/Newhouse News Service