departments, increasing the availability of resources for both departments might result in dissipating that conflict and help the employees get back to high performance. Ambiguity over responsibility and over jurisdiction: People are sometimes uncertain as to who is responsible for performing various tasks; when this occurs, each person disclaims responsibility and conflict can develop over this issue. Similarly, uncertainty frequently exists over who has jurisdiction or authority. As we discussed before, role clarity is very important. Intergroup bias: This is the “us” vs. “them” or “in group” vs. “out group” thing. People can be assigned to groups for absolutely arbitrary reasons (e.g., hair colour), and this arbitrary
assignment can still bias perceptions regarding their group and other groups. People view others in their in-group in favorable terms whereas they view people in the out-group negatively. Out-group members are assumed to possess more undesirable traits, are perceived as more alike (homogeneous), and are often strongly disliked. This perception leads to what has been termed the ultimate fundamental attribution error . We tend to attribute desirable behaviors by members of our in-groups to stable, internal causes but attribute desirable behaviors by members of an outgroup to transitory, external causes. Obviously, this dislike for and negative bias against outgroups has some serious ramifications on effective organizational functioning. There are potentially numerous groups to which employees might identify with in an organization (people at the same level in the hierarchy, people in the same department, people in the same work group or team, etc.). Further, there are equal numbers of potential out-groups with which employees might have a bias against. These biases not only lead to conflict in interpersonal processes, but they can also interfere with the achievement of organizational goals (for example, people might try to sabotage the performance of another department). So, organizations need to pay particular attention to people’s perceptions of who comprises their in-group. Obviously if you can expand an employee’s in-group to the entire organization (i.e., frame the out-group in terms of an organizational competitor, for example), this source of conflict might be minimized. Further, to facilitate this, the organization could create superordinate goals—goals that organizational members must work together in order to accomplish (e.g., quash the competition). Differences in power, status, and culture: Conflict also surfaces in situations wherein there are great differences in power, status, and culture among individuals. If one person has power over another—meaning that one person is dependent on the other, conflict can arise. Similarly, differences in status can initiate conflict, particularly when the power or authority defies norms and runs the other way—such as when a high status executive finds himself in the position of being dependent on the IT guy. Finally, if an organization develops more than one distinct
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- Fall '17
- bahrami rad