McKnightTFinalPaper

McKnightTFinalPaper - CONFLICT IN THE WORKPLACE Conflict in...

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CONFLICT IN THE WORKPLACE 1 Conflict in the Workplace Terrance McKnight Teachers College – Columbia University
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CONFLICT IN THE WORKPLACE 2 Conflict in the Workplace Trevor was a coworker of the author at the author’s former place of employment. It was a financial services firm that provided tax and audit services to large corporations. Their workgroup consisted of ten external auditors from various offices across the Southeast United States; these individuals were responsible for providing an audit to a regional bank. The employee organizational structure of the project team progressed from associate to manager to partner. The author was an associate; Trevor was a senior associate. Thus, Trevor was the author’s immediate supervisor. During the year-end audit for their client, the author became discouraged, due to not being permitted to attend the inauguration of President Obama. He was told by Trevor that an approaching deadline of the group required the office presence of every associate in the group. The author’s morale, and subsequently, his work productivity, declined. The following week, Trevor assigned him a large weekend workload. The inability of the author to complete this task began the process that led to his removal from the audit project, and subsequently, his voluntary separation from the firm. This ending could have been avoided with proper negotiation or mediation intervention, however, the mishandling of the conflict situation by all parties hindered this scenario. This incident, as will be shown, was a classic, though mild, example of the progression of anger as depicted with the Anger Volcano (Resolution, 2009). Role is formally defined as the characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual and a function or position (Krantz & Maltz, 1997). Dealing specifically with groups, role can be differentiated in two ways: informal roles and formal roles. The author’s informal role was a scapegoat; this was a product of role conflict. His formal role, as associate, was not specifically outlined within the aforementioned project team; this led to role ambiguity.
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CONFLICT IN THE WORKPLACE 3 The primary task of a workgroup is survival (McRae, 2010); this task often goes unnoticed, as it is not tangible, and normally involves an unconscious process. Any member of this particular group, if asked what the primary task was, would have likely said that the main goal of the group was to complete the audit; survival was not important, because it was not imperative to any of the members’ future success that they work together after completion of the project. Members solely had a working relationship; for example, although the project required each member to travel from out of town, no members coming from the same city carpooled with one another. Though the group was called a team internally, the members’ individual work was often independent from others’ work; members often never felt the need to confer or collaborate about work-related processes. Thus, despite the need for
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course ORL 1000 taught by Professor Buontempo during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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McKnightTFinalPaper - CONFLICT IN THE WORKPLACE Conflict in...

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