I need a 150-word reply to forums 1 & 2(forum post by classmates) and a 300 word reply to each of forums 3 & 4 (main forum in a new week):
The machine tool company conflict is a case of intergroup conflict, where the owner in this case represents management, and his employees represent the opposing group. The 35 highly skilled employees are all members of a union, which also connects them as a sub-group, and sets the tone for a ‘them vs. us’ approach to a legitimate problem that the company is facing. As stated in Organizational Behavior, cohesiveness can be a bad thing when ‘groupthink’ occurs, and critical thinking gets pushed aside (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p 374). Correct critical thinking would allow for a pragmatic evaluation of the reality of the economic downturn, which is the real cause of the problem, not management.
The owner has presented a functional conflict solution which yields a win-win result, but apparently is being resisted by his union employees. Using a Third Party Intervention might prove successful in this conflict, given both sides have made their case, and are locked in opposition. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), incorporating a mediation technique (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p383), would allow the employees to actually listen to the options that would facilitate preserving their jobs rather than experiencing the more detrimental alternative of layoffs. Clearly, groupthink is at work in the union employees group, which is hindering the process of successful negotiations. Avoiding a win-lose outcome is crucial to maintaining a positive and continued relationship.
The challenges to effective communication include the apparent unethical approach to negotiation brought in by the union and its legal representation. Ethical negotiations would require the union to abandon their distributive, one-sided solution demand, in favor of an integrative negotiation approach, which would call for a progressive win-win strategy (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p385). In addition, the shouting, name calling, and profanity prevent a rational exchange of understanding. This also represents the inability to listen with understanding, or being able to see and understand the opposing point of view.
Because evidence-based decision making (EBDM) is based on using real and available data, which are both available in this case, this process would be helpful in resolving this situation. Accordingly, the 5 steps of evidence-based decision-making, are apparent in the dilemma scenario being discussed. Step 1, identifies the problem as the economic downturn; step 2 identifies the sharp decline in business based on implied internally gathered evidence and data; step 3 projects the external analysis rendering a worsening of conditions; step 4 identifies accountant data that reflects the stakeholder’s (owner) interest. All of this along with additional external data suggesting disgruntled union workers, without regard to a previously harmonious relationship, leads to step 5, integrating and appraising all data to make a necessary decision (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p 338).
Kreitner, R., & Kinicki, A. (2013). Organizational Behavior, (10 ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
The way we live life and the way we conduct business is forever changed by the advent of technology mediated communication. Whether virtual video conferencing, emailing or social networking, not only have our communication tools changed, but they require a certain aptitude for use and execution. The reality is that technology has changed at a faster rate than the age of the overall workforce employee being encouraged to implement its uses, which can present a challenge to organizations seeking technological overhauls in their communication methods. Although e-mail has been available in the scientific and academic communities for over 30 years, its integration as a standard business communication medium has only truly taken hold in the past couple of decades (Urquhart, Bommelie, & Schmidt, 2002). While computer mediated communication has beneficially resulted the increase in the reach of global business interactions and marketing, the digital transferring of messages has also caused the increase in miscommunication or misunderstanding of the intended message itself, which is a challenge that must be overcome. This impact is directly related to the reduction in face-to-face communication, which is still considered to be the most effective means of communication.
A remedy for some of the workplace challenges could be aligning the best communication methods with the appropriate work groups by assessing the preference of communication media, be it telephonic, Web-based, e-mail messaging, or physical face-to-face interaction (Urquhart, Bommelie, & Schmidt, 2002). Adequate training in the various tools of computer mediated communication is necessary to both reduce the generational resistance, as well to teach on avoiding some of the possible barriers to effective communication due to less face-to-face interaction.
Urquhart, S., Bommelie, R. & Schmidt. W. V. (2002, February 1). The Impact of Computer-Mediated Communication on the Workplace: A Pilot Study [Blog post]
Conduct some web-based research into one organization that professes to have adopted a servant leadership philosophy (e.g., SWA, Men’s Warehouse, TDIndustries). What are the organization’s values? Compare these organizations to another in the same industry using major performance metrics (employee turnover, market share, profitability, etc.) and conclude whether or not you think having a servant leader philosophy makes a significant difference in company performance.
Read the article, “Leaders, Too, Need Support.” (See below) How do you see yourself in the role of supportive follower? What power bases would a supportive follower be more likely to employ? What challenges do you have with this concept? What can you do to overcome those challenges?
 Main forum was: Many types of negotiations occur in business settings. This example is indicative of the ethical dilemmas inherent in many negotiations.
Assume for a moment that you are the owner and CEO of a small machine and tool company. You have 35 employees, most of whom are highly skilled machinists who belong to a local union. Generally, you are an open manager with an abiding sense of fair play and ethics. For this reason, you have been able to attract workers who are skilled and committed to the company’s long-term success. In fact, labor relations are calm – even harmonious. For example, contract violations are usually handled between you and shop stewards in a problem-solving context with an almost complete absence of acrimony or contentiousness. Now, however, you face a serious and unprecedented issue. Due to an economic downturn, business activity has taken a sharp decline with the expectation that things will get much worse. You have just met with your accountant who has informed you there is no other choice but to lay off people or reduce wages. Your initial meeting with the union representatives shocked you into reality because it was filled with divisiveness, arguing, name-calling, and even occasional profanity. Things turn much worse in the second meeting because the union lawyers are present. After reading the article “Ethics in Negotiation: Oil and Water or Good Lubrication,” you are stunned to discover that the deceptive tactics outlined in the article read like a primer for what the union is doing. Answer the following questions based on the case and the article:
- What type of conflict is occurring in this case, and what conflict management style would you, as the manager use? Justify your choice.
- What are the challenges to effective communication in this case and how can these challenges be mitigated?
- How would evidence-based decision making help in resolving this case?
 Main forum was: Workers increasingly rely on means of technology-mediated communication in the workplace. Besides e-mail, workers commonly utilize tools, such as instant messaging and virtual meeting spaces, to regularly interact with coworkers and clients. How do you think such tools impact interpersonal dynamics in the workplace? What are the benefits and challenges of these tools? How might those challenges be overcome?