After reading “The New Career Development Program that Ruins Careers Case” on pages 330–332 of the textbook (Fundamentals of organizational communication: Knowledge, sensitivity, skills, values (seventh Ed.) by Shockley-Zalabak, P. S.) which will henceforth be referred to as the case study. I also reviewed chapter nine, Organizational Conflict, of the same textbook and have identified many examples of conflict preferences, strategies, tactics, and emotions displayed by all of the participants involved in the case study. All of which will be discussed forthcoming, as well as how Jane can resolve this conflict.
This case study displayed three of the five conflict preferences outlined in chapter nine to include avoidance, competition, and collaboration (Shockley-Zalabak, 2009, pg 303, 306-308.) Both Jill and Roger provided a good example of avoidance when they decided to remove themselves from contention. They also collaborated to make it known that they are not yet ready for the new tasking. Both Denise and John demonstrated competition preferences while presenting their cases to be in charge of the new program by citing experiences and accomplishments. John also pointed out Denise’s avoidance issues by stating, “You (Denise) just won’t confront things openly (Shockley-Zalabak, 2009, pg 331).”
Throughout this case study, one could make out all four conflict strategies and tactics (escalation, avoidance, maintenance, and reduction) that were displayed. Right in the beginning, John escalates the conflict by openly declaring his desire for the program lead position. Denise demonstrates avoidance tactics by trying to shut down the topic, shifting the decision back to Jane, and reminding others that she is the “senior member of this team (Shockley-Zalabak, 2009, pg 331).” Jane tried to adopt the tactic of maintenance when she encouraged all parties to voice their opinions. However, Jane was ultimately forced to use reduction tactics as the meeting became too hot tempered by calling an end to the meeting, addressing the two primary aggressors independently, and reconvening the meeting the next day.
The three main participants (Jane, Denise, and John) of this case study displayed a varying degree both cognitive and behavioral emotions that contributed to the outcome of each stage in this conflict. Denise’s opening words conveys her cognitive emotions. These emotions are compounded by John’s own cognitive emotions that quickly turn into a behavioral emotional response demonstrated by his outburst towards the end that was directed at Denise. Jane’s cognitive emotions came out when she responded to Denise avoidance of John’s outburst and claim for the position by insisting for Denise to state her position of the lead role. Each of the three participants feeding off and escalating the conflict until Jane had to end the meeting. This gave Jane some time to evaluate and determine who is best suit for the lead position.
After this conflict, Jane has to be careful to find a mutually agreeable solution to who will have the lead position or run the risk creating a hostile working environment or even losing a valuable employee. Both Denise and John have a proven track record and expertise that demonstrates that they both could excel in the position. However, both displayed a lack of maturity and poise needed for a project of such magnitude. Therefore, I believe that Jane should initially take lead and have both Denise and John write a proposal on the ways to improve the Career Development Program. Then compare and analyze each proposal. Afterwards, combined the best ideas of each proposal to form a comprise between them. Then assign Denise and John as Co-leads for the new Career Development Program. By forcing them to work together the program get the benefit from both well established experts and both Denise and John get the credit and acknowledgment they desire.
Shockley-Zalabak, P. S. (2009). Fundamentals of organizational communication: Knowledge, sensitivity, skills, values (seventh Ed.).