Workers whose job is in close proximity are under two conflict-management situations. One, their role functions are interdependent and co-related and second, their different personalities are in direct and intense daily contact. Confusion sets in whether these conflicts between office workers are a result of inadequate organization and administrative structure or it is just that the various personalities of these people clashes. Nonetheless, an effective conflict management minimizers and approaches can immediately address the problem.
In any team environment such as in radio company or station, conflict could not be avoided for the reason that an office set up brings together a variety of personality and skills with each perceiving tasks and actions in different ways. Although these variations offers the workplace and its workers the depth and opportunity to successfully achieve the project objectives, these are also the factors where conflicts may arise and vary from simple discrepancies on job descriptions to innate personality conflicts.
Although conflict spells disagreement between what is the perceived reality in a workplace and what is seen as the perfect, it is fitting and helpful as it enables the employees to expand their understanding of certain concerns and obligations. Having good ways to minimize and effective approaches or solutions to solve the conflict will help those in charge to handle the problem when it occurs. (Hazleton).
In a radio station set-up, workplace conflicts affect the productivity and profitability of a particular company. Adkins, in his article Workplace Conflict Affects Productivity, discussed topics such as the amount of business loss due to unmanaged conflict; the importance of an evaluation of conflict; management abilities to a company; and signs of unresolved workplace conflict. All of which have an impact on the daily workload of any office and a radio station in particular. (Adkins, 2005)
Simple disagreement among workers if not managed effectively could affect the organization and the daily workload of its employees in particular. In his article, Peace talks: workplace conflict will impact your business if you don’t know how to deal with it, Kent described the consequences of conflict when it is not managed quickly and accordingly in an organization. “Workplace conflict is bad news for you, your employees, your customers and ultimately your business.
Conflict without effective intervention destroys businesses. Who wants to work (or shop) in an uncomfortable environment? If two or more people disagree and cannot move forward, it’s conflict. But avoiding workplace conflict is almost impossible. While conflict resolution may seem like one of those “touchy-feely” management styles, knowing how to resolve even minor conflicts is fundamental to any successful business. No matter how hard you try to keep everyone on task, conflicts will arise over politics, over stealing prospective customers or over other matters. Conflict even may cost you and your best employees because they want to avoid any flying inventory” (Kent, 2004).
When someone takes things personally in a radio station, it can create so much harassment that everyone suffers from the public, to officemate, to sponsors and other supporters. Performance of the workers suffers and conflicts escalates. Most conflict situations arise because someone is operating from their animal brain and taking things personally.
The Val couple further said in their book, The Winner’s Attitude, that “if you ask people if they want conflict in their lives most will say, “no of course not.” It happens because the animal brain which is about survival, takes over and when that happens, it wants to defend itself, it can never be wrong, and it always wants to blame others. As a manager, your job is to operate from your human brain and see who is operating from survival and fear and step in to smooth things out. Don’t allow someone operating from their animal brain to be let loose in the office. Don’t allow them to run the place or it will wreak havoc.”
The couple also cited some pointers for someone to work in his or her human brain so that acceptable preventives for any conflict that a workplace may encounter can be minimized. A worker needs to have a daily affirmation by repeatedly expressing positive remarks at the start of the day.
A worker has to recognize that once operating from your animal brain, he or she should be quick to ‘switch’ to the human brain. When a co-worker operates from his or her animal brain, do not engage with it. It would be preventive to just instead continue to work from your human brain until the best solution presents itself. Once you recognize or face with possible conflict, it is effective to shift into your human brain as it has all the answers and is the most powerful and effective tool once can use (Val 2007).
But the best way to minimize conflict particularly in the radio industry was the preventive measure of creating the Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice 2002 by the Australian Broadcasting Authority and cited by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. “The purpose of this code is to ensure licensees have appropriate dispute resolution procedures in place to deal with internal disputes.
This code also ensures stations act in a timely and conscientious manner in resolving disputes, and actively manage the conflict resolution process. Internal conflict is the situation where the goals, values, interests or opinions of one group or individual are incompatible with, or perceived to be incompatible with, those of another individual or group.” The code’s 6.2 provision stated that “community broadcasting licensees will have a written policy & procedure in place, which outline mechanisms to facilitate internal conflict resolution within the organization.”
Among the approaches to conflict management that were introduced by Mary Parker Follet in her Constructive Conflict publication in 1926, the approach called “reaching consensus” is the best as it is the tool, where any workplace’s objective to come up with a decision, that best manifests the insights of all workers.
To enable the office managers to come up with a successful consensus, first they should assume the role of facilitator or being the middle man who can connect the gaps between the two opposing parties. In reaching consensus, it would also be helpful that a same objective was identified and eventually met. When all points were presented, they must be analyzed and understood thereby creating a solution which will meet the thoughts of all parties involved thus creating a consensus (Hazleton).
When there is a work conflict, there are steps needed to be taken so that the issue is resolved quickly. Cloke’s book focused on ways to actually resolve conflicts as opposed to simply settling disputes. The author believed that conflict is a way to transform the company and grow if it is dealt with in a healthy way. To do so the individuals involved need to get to the root of the problem and find a permanent solution instead of just settling or agreeing to disagree (Cloke, 2001).
An article by Goldsmith on the hand provided a methodology that is used to reduce conflict resolution in the workplace. Resolutions are given to assist managers and employees to determine if they need to approach the conflict at hand. A resolution preparation technique is also provided to evaluate the conflict scenario. This approach has created positive results in the workplace (Goldsmith, 2003). The authors cited the step of “change the culture and context of conflict” in the organization.
“The challenge is to change a counterproductive culture of conflict into one that values openness, dialog and collaborative negotiation. To do this, the authors say that conflict must be seen as both an opportunity and a journey. The “flight or fight” habit must be substituted with alternative responses. Instead of assuming that the other person is out to “attack” you, you could view the “attack” as a request for assistance and respond more positive” (Cloke and Goldsmith, 2005).
The sooner conflict is identified and confronted, the more quickly it can be resolved. When this is accomplished calmly and objectively, many areas of conflict will be eliminated. Addressing conflict as it arises also sends a clear message to the team that the practice seeks resolution, not punishment or negative consequences.
Adkins, Ben. Workplace conflict affects productivity. Fort Worth Business Press; Vol. 18 Issue 8, p47, 2005.
Cloke, Kenneth, & Goldsmith, Joan. Conflicts at work: A complete guide for everyone on the job. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2001.
Cloke, Kenneth & Goldsmith, Joan. Workplace Conflict resolution as a State of Mind. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2005.
Davies, Kent R. Peace talks: workplace conflict will impact your business if you don’t know how to deal with it. Dealernews. 2004.
Gee, Jeff and Val, “Using The “Switch” Method To Change How You Deal With Difficult People And Get The Best Out Of Any Situation At Work.” The Winner’s Attitude. Mcgraw-Hill Book Company. 2007.
Goldsmith, B. Conflict resolution in the workplace. Office Solutions, (Volume 20,Issue 6; pp 46. 2003.
Hazleton, Mark. “Conflict Resolution Project Conflict Management. Project Mechanics.” 7 January 2008 <http://www.projectmechanics.com/resources/conflictresolution.htmlgclid=CLfX0uvQzZACFQGNHgodDCl6Pw>