Managing Organizational Conflict
SCENARIO: An insurance company executive and her managers have been challenged by their company to increase the productivity of their 100 customer service associates. The associates are very diverse in all respects, including cultural background and languages spoken. The executive observes associates mingling during work hours and is concerned they are under-performing as a result. She makes a unilateral decision to have associates log their time on each call so they are more accountable for their time. Associates complain that this new tracking system takes time from their schedule, making them less productive. After a few months, morale and productivity are lower, and tensions are high due to the tracking system. The insurance executive hires you as an independent management consultant to analyze the situation and recommend solutions, including helping the stakeholders decide if the tracking system should remain in place. Note that it is not your job to make this decision but to facilitate an agreement supported by all or most of the organization.
ASSIGNMENT: Use the best practices for managing and moderating conflict in the workplace that youve learned in Unit 2 to address this scenario. The insurance executive has hired you as an independent management consultant to analyze the situation and recommend solutions, including whether the tracking system should remain in place.
To complete the assignment, download the response template and answer the following questions in 5-7 sentences each. You will return the completed template as your Touchstone submission.
A. Assignment Questions
Using the template, answer the following questions:
What decision-making approach will you recommend the executive take for achieving the best decision on whether to keep this tracking system in place and for obtaining cooperation from the customer service associates? Why do you think this method is best? (See tutorial 2.3.3 Building Consensus).
You recommend that the executive and managers meet with their customer service associates to better connect with them and create empathy as a key step toward resolving the conflict. What advice would you give to the executives and managers to facilitate such a meeting? What advice would you give to customer service associates? (See tutorials 1.3.1 Listening, 1.3.2 Business Meetings, and 2.3.2 Managing Conflict)
To accommodate their customers, the company employs a number of native speakers of Spanish, Russian, and other languages. In your recommendation about this tracking system issue, how will you ensure the meeting feels inclusive and equitable to these staff members? (See tutorials 2.2.4 Advantages and Challenges of Diversity and Inclusion, and 2.2.5 Strategies for Inclusive Communication.)
Can you identify how this organizations conflict might result in improvements to its internal processes and productivity? Can you explain some possible benefits of such improvements to the larger organization? (See tutorials 2.3.2 Managing Conflict and 2.3.3 Building Consensus).
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