The workplace can be an especially stressful environment. Personal conflicts between coworkers, fear of layoffs, and heavy workloads can be causes of negative stress. This stress can be carried to our homes and after-work activities, impacting personal health. Allowing these stressors to build and intensify will only further impair the work environment. For this assignment, you are required to review a scenario regarding a woman (Kate) who has experienced negative stress stemming from her work environment. Then, you will compare your own conflict management skills and experiences against Kate’s experiences. Follow the directions below to write an 8–10-page report on conflict management.
Review the following scenario:
Kate has been employed by a well-known manufacturing company for 12 years. She is the only female on her line and the fastest worker. She has been promoted several times through mergers and acquisitions, but has always been looked over for a senior management position. Kate believes she is qualified for advancement but thinks her manager has a problem with her personally. To top it off, Kate did not receive a semiannual or annual review, which would have resulted in a raise. Her coworkers (all males) have urged her to go to management and report what she believes to be discriminatory behavior from her immediate manager.
Now, complete the following tasks:
Discuss a situation you have been in where you felt you were passed over for a promotion, made to feel indifferent, or were discriminated against. Compare and contrast your story with Kate’s.
Compare the possible ethical breaches of Kate’s manager against your own manager’s behavior. Utilize scholarly research on leadership theory as justification.
Compare the possible legal breaches of Kate’s manager against your own manager’s behavior. Utilize scholarly research on leadership theory as justification.
Recommend an approach Kate could have used to manage the negative risk both personally and professionally.
Evaluate the advice Kate received from her coworkers.
Referring to the conflict resolution strategies taught in this course, determine which one is best suited to resolve Kate’s conflict. Justify your position.
In the chart below, evaluate your conflict resolution skills from the past five years. Rate yourself on a scale from 1–5, where 1 represents low performing and 5 represents high performing.*
I’VE ALREADY RANKED MYSELF ON HERE SO GO AHEAD AND USE IT AS A REFERENCE INTO GUIDING YOU ON THIS PAPER*
Conflict Resolution Approach
Rate Yourself (1–5)
Preventing the conflict
Suppressing the conflict
Avoiding the conflict
Using false emotions for distracting the conflict
Eliminating the conflict
Accepting the conflict
Recognizing the value of the conflict
Encouraging interpersonal criticism
Managing the conflict
Select one conflict resolution approach in which you ranked the lowest and develop an individual improvement plan for that approach.
Explain how the mediation process could strengthen your conflict resolution and management skills.
Discuss how the arbitration process could strengthen your conflict resolution and management skills.
Implement some portion of your plan. Provide a detailed summary of the changes that occurred in your development as it relates to your ability to handle conflict.
A Comparison of Own Conflict Management Skills and Experiences against Kate’s Experiences
Women discrimination is not a new thing in the military. Women have always been discriminated at all level including receiving sexual harassment and denial of promotion chance among other things. As a militant woman, I have felt passed over for a number of times. However, there is one episode that I will always remember. In this episode, I was denied a promotion opportunity even after pass all the evaluation measures, just because I was a woman. I am a corporal and the most recent performance review demonstrated that I am fit for promotion into a sergeant. However, after the review my immediate boss raised a concerned that I am a woman and thus, I cannot be given such a big post and responsibility while there are men round. According to him, a man with slight lower performance than me would perform better since he can join the force comfortably in the battle field while a woman cannot perform excellently in the field. The most disappointing part is that the panelist were carried away by his concerned and no assurance from my side was good enough to make them change their mind. The militant man who was slightly below me in the performance merit was given the position and I had to remain a corporal just because I am a woman. This was the most hurting incident in my life as a militant.
Just like in Kate’s case, I was denied to move up my career ladder just because I am a woman. Unlike Kate who thinks that the immediate manager has a personal issues with her, I am sure that my immediate boss and other seniors in the military have a problem with my being a woman. Although Kate was punished by the manager refusing to conduct her review to ensure that she does not appear in the list of those to be considered for a promotion. However, in my case, the evaluation was done but the thought of women as weak individuals made a person who had lower performance to take the post I deserved just because I am a woman. We both suffered from gender based discrimination from our immediate bosses which is truly against human ethics and the law.
Organizations are bound to work as guided by work ethics. Ethically managers are supposed to treat their employees with respect. Managers are required to show all employees that they are valued by the company as a way of motivating them. Organization managers also have a moral duty of promoting talents in an organization. This is normally done by motivating employees and appreciating their hard work through promotion, verbal recognition and salary increment among other rewards. In this regard, the managers should only consider the employee talents, abilities and contribution to the organization when promoting, demoting, terminating, or rewarding employees, and not any other discriminative factor such as gender, race, age, religion or sexuality. The manager in my scenario failed in employing this ethical requirement by putting discriminative gender factor above the employee ability to lift the organization to a different height (Aom, 2006). However, on Kate case, the manager deliberately refused to evaluate the employee performance so as to deliberately leave her out for any promotion consideration. This is a sabotage which end up killing employee’s personal drive, job satisfaction, motivation, vigor and personal growth of an employee. Ethically, managers are anticipated to create an ethical culture in an organization where by every member of the organization will feel obligated to do only what is right. However, the two incidences, the two do not only destroy the ethical values in the organizations but also individual employees esteem and value in the organization (Swailes, 2013).The second scenario seems to be even more fatal since the top management in the branch supported the manager in his discriminative mission. This a clear indication that the entire organization does not consider any ethical values when doing their duties.
Workers appraisal is one of the regular organization practices that are employed to evaluate employee performance with intentions of changing duties, making promotion, demotion, or termination. It is also done to identify changes that can be made to increase employee’s efficiency. The unethical act of refusing to review an employee for whatever reason was not only committed against the employee, but also against the company (Guerci et al., 2015). The company anticipated that the activity will help in identifying the best talents it has and be able to utilize them to enhance its performance. Thus, the manager had ethically failed the company by failing to perform his duty sincerely for the best interest of the company. He also failed the company by doing a demoralizing act that can easily kill a talent that could have been very beneficial to the company (Robroek et al., 2012).
The managers in my scenario failed in employing transformational leadership which is a form of leadership that advocate for change. Transformational leadership focuses on changing the organization culture to create a new culture that is more favorable to the performance of an organization (Meinert, 2014). Ethically, a leader should focus on developing an organization that embrace inclusion in a diverse workforce. My manager had a moral duty of making women appreciated, respected and recognized in the organization. It was his duty to try the women’s ability in aspect he had doubts on. Good performance beyond the surrounding men in all other category demonstrated high potential even in untested aspect. It was the manager’s moral duty to convince other panelist that women ought to be given a chance to evaluate on how they would perform in untested areas. This way he could have enhanced a positive transformation in the military. However, instead of creating change, the manager contributed in devaluing women in the military an aspect that is highly demotivating and demoralizing.
The two incidences demonstrate a high level of discrimination in the workplace. This goes against the American antidiscrimination law which was established in 1964 under civil rights act. This law prohibits workers discrimination based on ethnicity, originality, sex, color, race, disabilities, age, sexuality, or religion among other similar aspects (Houseman, 1999). In this case, the managers introduce sex based discrimination in promotion. Kate was discriminated by being disregarded during the performance evaluation activity with intention of leaving her name out while evaluating the individuals to be promoted. Although the reason for discrimination is not clear in Kate’s case, it is evidence that the discrimination is not based on genuine aspects such as performance, skills or abilities but something malicious or illegal. Kate suspect that she was discriminated because she is a woman. On the other hand, I was discriminated by being denied a promotion just because I was a woman.
Corruption could be another aspect that could have contributed to the two acts. Promotion is normally considered a great milestone in a career of every person. In this regard, different means can be used to sabotage promotion of an individual who has an aspect that can be used discriminatively to blur him or her from achieving it. This can be done either by other employees who are in competition with the individual in question. This can also be done by an individual in the management who is completely against women in management. This corrupt act could have been authorized from the top or by one of the employee who is highly favored by the manager. Either way, the two managers are highly involved in these corrupt deals particularly in Kate case, corruption could have played a great deal in what happened (Smith et al., 2007).
Recommended Approach for Kate
The situation in the Kate case is not very clear. Although it is clear that the manager has personal issues with Kate, it is hard to pin point the actual problem that the manager has. It could be he is threatened by Kate’s achievements, just as he could be threatened by a man with Kate’s ability or he is bias on Kate case because she is a woman. The truth regarding the manager’s position on Kate’s issue cannot be identified unless investigated further. The best strategy Kate can employ to establish the actual problem is by approaching the manager politely with intention of knowing why neither her annual or semiannual review was done. Kate should be keen to note the manager’s tone and visual expression while giving his response, together will noting the response. This response should determine her next move. In case the manager will pretend that this happened by mistake, Kate should just cool down and discuss on when the evaluation can be down. However, if the manager become satirical and demonstrate an aspect of arrogance or dismissal, or incase the manager places personal discriminative demands to allow a review, Kate should consider reporting this to his seniors.
The reporting process should involve an email written to them manager inquiring on why she has not been reviewed for a whole year. This email should be copied to the senior as a way of notifying them on what is going on and also as a way of forcing the manager to give a professional reason for this. Kate can raise her concern or present her complains to the senior as a reply to the email or in a new email thread. This will make everything easy since she will have introduce the seniors to the case and provided the manager a chance to raise his argument. In case the management is aware of the biasness and by any reason facilitated it, Kate should consider filing a case on the court of law regarding discrimination in the workplace for the established reasons, probably due to her gender. In this case, a systematic procedure will be useful.
Evaluation of Coworkers Advice to Kate
Kate is advised by her co-workers to consider go to the management is viable. However, this may great more problems between her and her boss in the future than it is today. Kate’s boss may feel that Kate is trying to tarnish his boss reputation to his seniors which may affect his job. In this regard, he may make some major advances that may cause Kate’s job and hence her twelve years of hard work. In this regard, Kate should only consider involving the management as advised in case she is completely unable to resolve the issue with the manager. The management may also refer her back to the manager in case they realize that she bypassed him. Kate should consider approach her immediate manager first prior to involving other seniors. This will demonstrate her effort to resolve the issue and create a sense of urgency when the issue reach to the management. The management will be sure that they are handling a case that could not be handled by those responsible and thus give it a considerable magnitude of importance. Moreover, there is always a communication and conflict resolution protocol in the company. It is always safe to follow the provided conflict resolution protocol. The first stage would involve evaluating if there is any other employee with a similar complain and join hands in resolving the issue. If there is no any other such case, Kate should consider establishing the reason why she was treated differently and demand for equal treatment. If this does not workout, she should consider involving the management.
Best Conflict Resolution Strategy
The best strategy to employ to resolve conflict in Kate case suppressing the conflict. Kate is cannot manage to prevent or avoid the conflict since the situation created by the manager has already introduce the conflict. Kate needs to know what happened and why she was not evaluated for a whole year. Anything can happen while trying to obtain this information since she does not have control of the manager or other involved parties reaction. However, Kate can try to suppress the conflict by approaching the problem in a careful manner. For instance, instead of reporting the case directly to the management Kate should consider trying to resolve the case with her immediate manager so that she may understand why the manager is so mean to her. This way, Kate will avoid advancing the conflict to the top management without trying to resolve it at the current level.
Mediation can be employed to strengthen the process of conflict resolution. To enhance the process of resolving this problem, Kate may consider approaching another manager of the same level with her immediate manager but from a different department to work as a mediator. Mediation will highly assist in creating a consensus between Kate and the manager. He will assist Kate in making the manager understand Kate’s concern and also assist them in identifying the best way to resolve the solution. A mediator who is supposed to be neutral will highly assist in pointing out mistakes and establishing the best neutral solution (Oore et al., 2015). Similar to a mediator, conflict resolution can be handled by use of an arbitrator. Arbitrator will act as a judge. He will listen to both sides of the story and make a decision. In this case the two involved parties will have to follow the decision made. Kate can consider looking for an arbitrator to handle this case. However, she should be ready to work with the mediator’s solution. If Kate will consider a mediator or an arbitrator, then she will consider not involving the organization management and resolve the matter with the manager by use of a mediator or an arbitrator.