Conflicts are common at family level and among employees working in the same organization. It is noted that though people working in the same organization are bound together by common and shared goals, conflicts among them are inevitable in the course of working towards realization of these goals. In most cases, conflicts within an organization stems from disagreement between and among employees as well as with other stakeholders like customers, suppliers, authorities and competitors and from differences in personality, emotional stability/intelligence and cultural intelligence (Robbins & Judge 2009). Contrary to popular thinking, conflicts are not absolutely disruptive or destructive to an organization’s performance, productivity and focus. When handled properly and professionally with an open mind that is not unnecessarily clouded by emotions of the involved parties, conflicts can be the origin of positive change in an organization that leads to another level of better organizational performance and productivity. Thus, depending exclusively on how conflicts are dealt with, they can inspire positive progress within an organization. The purpose of this essay is to discuss conflict management approaches used in my place of work, that is, Los Angeles Police Department and to find out if they are in harmony with my preferred conflict management styles.
Conflict management approaches used in Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles Police Department has attracted police Officers and civilian employees from different socio-cultural backgrounds with diverse talents, strengths and abilities and who possess different academic qualifications. Consequently, conflicts are common in our endeavors to achieve goals and objectives of our agency irrespective of recognition by virtually all officers and employees and a constant insistence of the importance of unity and togetherness by the top authorities. Conflicts arise from time to time between and among our employees and officers and between our agency and other groups with whom we must work together in order to enhance protection of our people and their properties. In addition, our agency handles numerous cases though it’s out-of-court conflict settlement capacity involving individuals and groups.
Different people use different ways to deal with conflict in their individual private life, as well as, in their places of work (Robbins & Judge 2009; Whetten & Cameron 2007; Miller 2008). There are various conflict management styles that are used in police administration and other normal organizations. They include permanent transfers and dismissals, changing organizational culture and/or structure, practicing job rotations or temporary assignment, an interpersonal conflict handling approach (collaboration), increasing diversity awareness ad skills, appealing to third parties (compromise) and changing the source of the conflict (Gaines &Worrall 2011). However, there are two conflict management styles that are popular in our place of work. They are Collaboration and compromise (Omika 2007). However, it is not uncommon to come across conflicting situations necessitating the use of other conflict resolution approaches such as accommodating and avoidance styles (Omika 2007).
Security provision involves working with police officers and other necessary civilian staff who differ in virtually all aspects. It also involves working with numerous organizations which too has their own vested interests. Collaborating conflict management style is characterized by evident mutual and assertive behaviours (Omika 2007).It is an effective and practical conflict management approach that is earmarked by deliberate attempts towards coming up with solutions that meet the needs of all persons involved.
This approach involves the use integration and problem-solving methods. Collaboration approach to conflict management is perfectly in harmony with my preferred conflict management styles, as well as, leadership and management style. It has numerous advantages which ensure that all parties to a conflict come out fairly and satisfied. First and foremost, using this style enables parties to work together so that everyone can win (Omika 2007). Importantly, selecting the style guarantees that individuals endeavors to identify an elucidation that will assists all parties apprehend their interests and help everyone maintain a good relationship (Omika 2007). Its ability to enable parties to maintain good, long term and beneficial relationships make up its core strength which makes it suitable for various conflicting situations involving various groups within and outside our organization. For instance, it has been used effectively to resolve stand offs between our employer and our trade union regarding our remuneration, as well as, working conditions. It has also been applied effectively in situations involving our agency and other organizations ensuring that our cordial relations which are necessary for success of our organizations are safeguarded. It is important to note that effective communication is requisite to collaborative conflict management. Parties to a conflict should share as much information as they can (Omika 2007; Miller 2008). They should also be ready and willing to listen to others patiently until a win-win solution is found.
In a nutshell, collaboration ensures that there is no conflict aftermath because it deals directly with the root causes of a conflict and strives to remove them. According to Omika (2007), collaboration is the most effective style in encouraging new, innovative ideas and achieving positive results that culminates into high productivity and organizational performance. I prefer this style because it enables conflict handlers to see conflict as inevitable, natural and beneficial and also having potential to lead to more creative solution if handled carefully (Svedin 2009). In addition, it enables parties to recognize that when conflict is dealt with to the satisfaction of all involved parties, commitment and loyalty to the solution arrived at is high (Omika 2007).
Compromise conflict management style is another solution oriented approach to conflict management. It is fairly mutual and assertive and avoids going to either extremes. In other words, it involves making compromises in order to resolve a conflict (Omika 2007).It is also a popular and widely accepted approach to conflict management in our organization. It also matches well with my conflict management style because just like collaboration it is a practical method of resolving conflicts and helps individuals and organizations which are party to a conflict to sustain friendly and good relations for the future (Omika 2007).However, according to Omika (2007), unlike collaboration parties using this approach engages in give and take and may make a chain of compromises and by doing so they may easily end up failing to fully resolve the root causes of a conflict. Consequently, the conflict which is visible on the surface is only reduced or subsided while the underlying conflict remains unresolved (Omika 2007).
Our preferred approach to conflict resolution or management is certainly determined by our values, personality, and our socio-cultural backgrounds, as well as, management and leadership styles which are also affected by these factors (Robbins & Judge 2009). Age and experience can also potentially affect the kind of approach that an individual employee chooses to deal with different conflicting situations. Even though particular situations may necessitate the use of competitive, avoidance and accommodating styles of conflict management, collaboration and compromising styles are my preferred approaches to conflict management because they are practical and solution oriented. Collaboration in particular is an effective approach to conflict management because it enables individuals using it to treat conflict as natural and see its potential in helping and leading to a more creative solution if handled properly. It ensures satisfaction for all thus increasing chances of loyalty and commitment to the solution(s) arrived at.
Gaines, L. K., & Worrall, J. L. (2011). Police Administration. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Miller, K. (2008). Organizational communication: approaches and processes. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Omika, R. (2007). Corporate Conflict Management: Concepts and Skills. New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Svedin, L. M. (2009). Organizational cooperation in crises. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Whetten, D. A., & Cameron, K. S. (2007). Developing management skills. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.