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Addressing the conflicts surrounding the proposed new bottling plant required the Human Resources Department (HR) to use gathered data and the generating of numbers to assist in the deconstruction of the various conflicts. Proposed recommendations to take place within the organization may not be well received or regarded as acceptable by all concerned stakeholders. However, after careful consideration of the gathered data, and documentation of certain events, it is the opinion of HR that necessary steps must be taken if the proposed new bottling plant is to be a success, and to resolve the conflicts which have been brought to our attention.
According to the Tuckman’s Model (chart 1) in comparison with the Ishikawa Diagram (diagram 1), it is alarmingly clear that our U.S. employees are experiencing difficulty with personality and professional conflicts which is negatively affecting their overall productivity (diagram 8). This is also harshly reflected in the data outlining disputes and attrition vs. employee customer satisfaction and sales (diagrams 7 & 8).
Examination of management dispute reports indicates various department managers have attempted to accommodate employee demands. However, it is clear that taking the unassertive and cooperative style of conflict management has not succeeded in the attempts to arbitrate the disputes. Using this approach “neglects their (company’s) concerns because of high level concern about others” (Mitchell, Gamlem, 2015, pg. 142). While employees may feel they have won, it adversely affects the company’s best interests. Other managerial reports indicate the use of trying to compromise with employees. The objective to this approach is “to find some expedient, mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies both parties.
It falls between completing and accommodating management styles” (Mitchell, Gamlem, 2015, pg. 142). Further managerial reports indicate competing and avoiding management styles have also been attempted. As can be ascertained by the collected data, these attempted management styles are not effective, or efficient, in resolving the conflicts (see diagram 7) within our organization.
All managers, throughout our company organization should not focus on just one style of conflict management. “If a manager only uses one type of conflict management style in handling all conflicts in the workplace, it may not work as they expect it to. In conflict response, a supervisor is not only affecting the relationship between the supervisor-subordinate, it also affects the trust and loyalty of subordinates that perceived a supervisor as a representative of the organization” (Lim, Yazdanifard, 2012, pg. 142).
It is strongly suggested that a different more cooperative approach to a conflict management should be taken. This would lessen the attrition rates, and employees will feel that their voices are being heard. “Taking a cooperative approach to conflict creates an environment in which conflicting ideas can be expressed and integrated as well as supports solutions that are responsible to various aspects of the conflict and needs of the parties” (Kugler, Brodbeck, 2014, pg. 4). With this approach everyone involved in the conflict will regard the outcome as fair and attitudes, plus performance, will be positively affected. This approach will also pull the various department teams together and give them drive, plus necessary focus, to build a stronger more cohesive, cooperative, team.
In order to build a cooperative team, HR also recommends the use of Tuckman’s Theory Model (diagram 3). With this model issues can be brought to managements’ attention, especially in the Storming phase in which it is brought to light how everyone is regarding certain situations, and brainstorming tactics can be utilized. Each phase in the Tuckman’s Model can be clearly outlined and flexible parameter objectives set for ease of transition through the team building steps. By utilizing this tool everyone involved in the conflict(s) will be able to visualize the issues, have their voices heard, and have an active role in the brainstorming session(s). Management will also be able to gain greater understanding of where everyone on their teams stands and what exactly is needed.
Tuckman’s Model also reflects if a group, or groups, of teams are in a collaborative readiness state. “Collaboration can be highly beneficial and even a survival factor for industrial companies. But it can also be risky, being important to assess the readiness of potential partners. Although most works in the past were focused on ‘hard’ factors, such as competency matching or technological preparedness, the success of a collaborative process depends on several other factors of a ‘soft’ nature such as an organization’s character, willingness to collaborate, or the affectivity/empathy relationships” (Rosas, Camarinha, 2009, pg. 22). With our organization’s conflict issue it would be a highly beneficial, and favorable, approach to use the Tuckman’s Model to assess collaboration readiness. By using this collaboration style in combination with the cooperative technique the organization can be assured of proper resolution to discovered issues.
Before definitive corrective action can be undertaken to resolve the issues, it is important to identify the causes behind the conflicts. Psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart have identified 8 common causes for conflict in the workplace. They are: “Conflicting resources, conflicting styles, conflicting perceptions, conflicting goals, different personal values, unpredictable policies” (Bell, Hart, n.d.). Managers first steps are to ascertain if the conflicts arise from these eight categories, then undertake necessary steps to address them, using the collaborative and cooperative techniques previously touched upon. If said techniques cannot resolve the issues, then HR must step into the conflict. All concerned parties will be called together in which each concerned stakeholder will be allowed to speak their grievances, without interruption, which will be displayed on a whiteboard into categories, and then everyone involved will be told to brainstorm solutions. “The key thing is the participants knowing they are responsible for the results and they are the ones developing the solution” (Lytle, 2015).
If the problems still are not resolved stronger measures will be undertaken. Anger management classes are offered in our company’s Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), which are detailed in the employee handbook that was issued to every person upon first coming to work for the organization. Our EAP offers help for: Mental health issues, marriage and family issues, health management issues·which includes a wellness policy so employees may participate in recreational activities provided by the company and an onsite physician within the provided health clinic, interpersonal communication issues, financial and legal issues, and substance abuse issues. EAP also includes the anger management classes, cultural sensitivity training, incentives for furthering education and bonuses for completing college. If upon exploring, and following through, on the EAP program, best suited for the employee’s issue(s), the conflict still cannot be resolved said employee(s) will be transferred, and possibly demoted, to another department which is best suited for their needs. Three counseling sessions will be set, if further conflict occurs. If at the end of the counseling sessions the issues cannot be resolved HR will then have no choice but to relieve said person of their employment with the organization.
It is understood that not all employees will welcome intervention, either through one on one meetings or through the utilization of EAP. Resistance to change or anger over the perception of being forced to do something against their will, is foreseen as being a major resistance. Expectations for each employee has been set from the beginning of employment, as well as instructions of what to expect if they cannot meet said expectations. Intolerance, violence, not following set standards, sabotage, violation of confidentiality agreements, and refusing to cooperate are ground for counseling and/or termination of employment. However, the organization does try to give benefit of the doubt, and cares for all employees. This is why the EAP is offered free of charge for all who may need help.
In order to identify if the corrective actions have made a difference, HR will examine, at regular 3-month intervals, the following metrics. (1) Have the employees referred people to the organization? “If an employee likes an organization they work in, often, they refer friends and family. Employee referrals must make up at least 25 percent of the total hires for an organization. This means the best talent in the company is helping pick and choose familiar and recognizable applicants who’ll expand the talent pool. If you’re hiring and posting unknowns this means there is something definitely wrong with the organizational structure” (BasuMallick, 2018). (2) What are the number of requests for EAP? Voluntarily vs. managers sending employees to said office? The voluntary use indicates the employees are loyal and want to do their best. If managers give employees no option but to come to the EAP office this indicates initial corrective actions are still not being effective. (3) Attrition rates. Has the churn rate (percentage of employees leaving the company over a specified period) exceeded the acceptable 7 to 8 percent? This is calculated using the following formula “R=S/((B+E)/2) R=turnover rate, S=number of separated employees, B and E = beginning and ending size of workforce” (Adkins, 2017). (4) Use of wellness policy. How often have employees taken advantage of the recreational facilities, health clinic and extracurricular activities sponsored by the organization? (5) Productivity rates. Has production increased or decreased? (6) Customer satisfaction surveys (7) Employee satisfaction surveys (8) Sales. Are sales rising or have they dropped? (9) Internal transfers. Are employees exploring departmental functions and responsibilities? Are employees upskilling? (10) Are gender and ethnic disparities being addressed satisfactorily?
By measuring and tracking changes in the quantifiable metrics of these 10 areas, HR will be able to measure the progress, or stalemate, of the outlined corrective actions. If there is no measurable progress at the end of one year, a meeting will be called for all major stakeholders to address the issue.
No progress indicates a necessary re-writing of the corrective measures and a serious examination of the organizations Statement of Purpose. A positive progress point out the organization is healthy and on track with the Statement of Purpose, and it indicates the evaluation is on track with employees who are happy, healthy and pleased with who they work for.
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