Conflict Management Strategies In Organizations: A Case Study On The New Career Development Program

Theoretical Framework

The study of communication within organizations is a crucial concept for development of any organization. For an effective communication to occur leadership skills and competency in interpersonal sensitivity, ethical values and problem-solving is mandatory. Theories and programs have therefore been developed in order to help managers resolve conflicts as one of their responsibilities.

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Conflicts are normal in any organization due to the fact that people have different opinions, feelings, and reservations which are not usually contrary to other people’s interests and objectives. Senior managers like Jane in the case study on “The New Career Development Program that Ruins Careers Case” therefore are confronted with a test of competency in conflict management in order to maintain human relations among co-workers and achieving good business performance. Jane has to adopt a theory to help herself out in determining who should be given the lead position for the AMEX program training corporation.

According to Putnam (2012), Conflict is always a dynamic process which takes time to develop and is manifested in different stages. Referring to the case at hand, Jane is tense at first and discerns the conflict among her officials at a latent stage. The conflict then goes to a perception stage where all the individuals at the meeting become aware of the conflict between John and Dennis Gilles. The tension and anxiety grow to the situation of apathy and aggression whereby if organizational rules might be broken and thus Jane has to make a rational judgment.

Having studied the case study some of the conflict preference observed include avoidance, competition reduction, and collaboration. Jill and Rodger removed themselves from the argument. “Everyone knows the lead job is between Denise and John” They also collaborated by announcing that they were not ready for the lead position yet. “I would love to lead the project but with about five years more experience” Those who were left competing were John and Denise since each one tabled out their experience and accomplishment in the company all eying the position in different ways. John from the beginning escalates the conflict while Denise adopts the avoidance tactic through trying to shift the decision back to Jane. “It is (to Jane) your responsibility to make that decision” (Shockley, 2014).

Jane strategy was that of maintenance and reduction.  First, she encourages all members to air out their opinions.  As the argument went on conflict level escalated. She, therefore, adjourned the meeting when tension was rising high and this reflects the reduction strategy. The whole case demonstrates the presence of the four strategies adopted in studying the actions of all the members.

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Conflict preferences observed in the case study

Emotions play a significant role in the development of any conflict. In the case study, there is a varying degree of both behavioral and cognitive emotions among the members. The emotional state of the individuals heightens tension and anxiety which escalates to hostility as portrayed by John in his response to Denise. At this point, Jane should study the behavior and competency of the two competitors and rationally evaluate who to take the position? In my case, therefore, Jane should appoint Denise or John under one condition. Both should write a proposal on how to improve the carrier development program and present them to Jane.

Modern organizations need a management strategy that completely reduces negative effects of conflicts by using constructive dimension in order to achieve success. This is according to (Bies, et al, 2018).  The best model to be adopted by Jane is that of macro organizational approach which entails diagnosis and analysis of conflict stage, intervention, learning effectiveness and feedback. Jane also will have to use a persuading tactic to win over the partners and to reach a better end decision since her aim is not subjective to neither John nor Denise but to find a solution which is useful for all.

Considering the bare facts that John and Denise have excellent expertise that could qualify any of them being the lead, their competency record matters a lot in determining one between the two. However, Jane may not feel secure and comfortable when one member gets the privileged position over the other. To my view, therefore, Jane should split the lead position into two to accommodate both of them. In doing this she will have forced the two experts into working together for the benefit of the AMEX corporation as well as quenching the desires of the both.

In conclusion, conflicts are normal therefore all managers have to adopt a conflict management model and strategies that are effective in conflict resolution. The decisions made should always be objective and should have a chance of creating compromise, interpersonal sensitivity, and show competency and in pursuit of developing good image among all in the organization.


Bies, R. J., Shapiro, D. L., & Cummings, L. L. (2018). Causal accounts and managing organizational conflict: Is it enough to say it’s not my fault?. Communication Research, 15(4), 381-399.

Christensen, L. T., & Cornelissen, J. (2013). Bridging corporate and organizational communication: Review, development and a look to the future. In Organisationskommunikation und Public Relations (pp. 43-72). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Putnam, L. L., & Wilson, C. E. (2012). Communicative strategies in organizational conflicts: Reliability and validity of a measurement scale. Annals of the International Communication Association, 6(1), 629-652. 

Shockley-Zalabak, P. (2014). Fundamentals of organizational communication. Pearson