There is always the potential for conflict in all places from home to work. The conflicts that arise in the workplace result from the working conditions, culture, organizational design and decision making. For these reasons, workplaces share much in common with school institutions. Conflicts are just a fact of life and they are not necessarily a bad thing. If resolved effectively, conflicts can result to personal and professional development.
Efficient conflict resolution makes the difference between the positive and negative outcomes of conflict. Managing the workplace relationships has become increasingly complex, especially due to challenges in the global market as a result of the cross-cultural conflicts. This essay will discuss the conflict resolution, decision making and the organizational design of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the company that the research is based on. The paper aims to evaluate organizational behavior in the work place.
Application of negotiation strategies to address potential conflicts in the workplace
Managing supply chains and channel power is most likely cause of conflicts, especially in an international setting like that of Wal-Mart. Cultural distance between the members of the workplace increases the possibility of misunderstanding, thus, the occurrence. There are five levels of conflict management or negotiation approaches that are used to tackle potential conflicts for better conflict resolution in the work place. According to Liu & Sharma (2011), negotiation is mostly applied to resolve conflict as the workplace is basically relationship oriented. Negotiation is an art that solves problems on a level ground to help members of a workplace to move to the same direction of success (Liu & Sharma, 2011).
The competing negotiation approach is applied at the competition level. Company owners and the executive management are mostly involved in negotiation at a competitive level. The leader states his perspective and what should be followed. The leader should be influential and has knowledge to support his/her perspective. This approach is very effective in making fast decisions, especially when there is a large resistance to change (Liu & Sharma, 2011).
The accommodating negotiation strategy tends to be passive and seeks cooperation at the accommodation level. The leader gives up his/her own stand and allows other members to have their own way. This approach is applied to bring peace to a delicate situation and it builds goodwill.
Avoiding is a negotiation strategy, whereby neither cooperation nor assertion is considered. The approach is considered, where people involved fail to make a decision and do not want to be involved in a conflict (Liu & Sharma, 2011). This is a relatively weak approach to conflict situations but it is prevalent in areas, where the outcome of the conflict is not of importance. Another scenario, where this level of negotiation strategy is applied, is when a person is in a better position to make the decision but the individual needs an encouragement to step into a leadership position.
The collaborative negotiation strategy is applicable in a case, where all ideas and perception are viewed with importance. The approach seeks to come up with a solution that satisfies all the ideas of the parties involved in the conflict. Collaborating involves an innovative solution that wraps up the needs and wants of the conflict (Liu & Sharma, 2011).
The last negotiation strategy is the compromising approach. It is applied between the competitive and accommodative levels of conflict. Leaders or people who compromise find a fast solution to benefit all the compromising parties. Compromising mostly involves both parties giving up a part of their needs and wants to come up with a common ground of conflict resolution (McCracken et al., 2011). The compromising strategy is mostly applied in situations like that of a project, whereby there is a deadline and the conflict poses a threat to complete the project in time. It can also be applied in cases, where emotions are involved and the parties reach a settlement to avoid the conflict becoming worse or involving more parties, as this could do a lot of harm, especially to an international organization like Wal-Mart.
The use of evidence-based management to the work environment
Evidence-based management is transforming principles into organizational principles based on the best evidence. Practicing managers transform into experts who take part in making organizational decisions through social science or organizational research. There are basic steps that Wal-Mart could apply so that evidence-based management can be integrated into its work environment. Application of evidence-based management would include three steps, which include conducting a research, interpreting the research with past knowledge and finally organizational adoption and implementation of the evidence obtained. The knowledge transfer basically is viewed through the lens of experts like researchers.
According to Allen et al. (2010), the first step involves conducting a comprehensive analysis to identify the rate, at which turnover can be a risk to the organization. This substitutes focusing on the most current concerns that involves the data showing any addition of turnover. This analysis is meant to encourage larger considerations of costs of turnover as well as rates and operations. The other step involves coming up with an interpretation of the researches through the consideration of the organization’s environment (Allen et al., 2010). Any research, conducted in the organization, is not likely to be efficiently analyzed if the past, present and future trends of the organization are not looked into. This provides a bigger range of probable outcomes that could arise from the implementation of evidence-based management.
The last step involves the collection of data to identify and adapt cause and effect connections and relationships in the Wal-Mart environment (Allen et al., 2010). Depending on one source of data like, for example, interviewing existing employees presents a narrow decision making frame. It should be considered that even the employees, who do not quit working in the Wal-Mart environment, may also be not satisfied with their pay. Evidence-based management retention strategies are determined by the turnover data, analyzed and interpreted by the organization’s environment and the turnover diagnosed (Allen et al., 2010). The implementation of change in the Wal-Mart working environment may take from weeks to months.
The strategies that human resource managers and other executive leaders need to take into consideration in the implementation of evidence-based management include audit and feedback. The strategies also include use of reminders, opinion leaders and educational outreach of this form of management. It is important that executive leaders are aware of change that could be brought about by evidence-based management in Wal-Mart and continue to encourage employees about this change and its sustenance. Using the better and deeper logic of data and employed facts allows leaders to make better decisions in implementing change in the organization.
Blocks, stages, and methods of creative decision making to determine the best approach the employer should follow, when making managerial decisions
Majority of the businessmen finds it difficult to make creative decisions as they lack imagination. The process of analyzing decisions provides a good basis for creative decision making of new alternatives. For a manager to be successful, he or she must observe new opportunities for the beneficial change of an organization. Managerial decisions like those of Wal-Mart depend on the executive leaders’ ability to be flexible so as to remain competitive in the global market.
According to Assakkaf (2003), the steps of creative decision making process involve preparation, incubation, enlightenment and verification. Preparation is the stage, where the manager learns and understands the elements of the problem. This stage contains uncertainties of addressing the problem. The incubation stage prepares the manager to make a decision as well as explore new alternatives that can solve the problem. This stage involves the elimination of all assumptions and adopting a perspective to decision making. The enlightenment stage is the stage, where the decision maker becomes fully aware of the solution to a problem. The verification stage is a stage of certainty, whereby the decision maker goes ahead to make the decision in support of other members of staff.
There are blocks that hinder the generation of creative decision making. Such blocks include the perceptual and framing blocks. These blocks are the results of the way a person perceives, defines and examines a problem or a decision to the problem. The blocks involve a person making assumptions, stereotyping and being unable to understand a decision from different perspectives (Assakkaf, 2003). There are also other blocks, known as the value-based blocks, where one’s principles or objectives interfere with a person’s ability to make a new and creative alternative of decision making. These blocks involve the fear to take risks, fear of alteration of the status quo and low judgmental or criticism ability. The other blocks are the cultural and environmental ones. These are the surrounding environment ethics as well as traditional perspectives. They involve failure to make creative decisions because of taboos, especially in cultural perceptions like that of religion.
The methods or techniques, involved in creative decision making processes according to Assakkaf (2003), include the personal establishment of fundamental objectives and finding good ways and alternatives to improve the decision. There are also methods that involve group interactions like widening the decision context to find room for new ideas, so that the decision maker can look at as many perspectives for solving the problem as possible. An additional technique is coming up with fast and flexible new ideas to solve the problem. Another method for making creative decisions is brain storming, whereby the decision involves two or more people to help the manager in coming up with new ideas.
The best approach to making managerial decisions in Wal-Mart should involve this analytical process of constantly searching for new and better alternative decisions. This approach to decision making is very creative. This creative aspect leads to advancement of the organization. Such an approach should be accompanied by practice diligence and enlightenment of decision making.
The environmental and strategic factors that affect the organizational design of the company
The organization design is the structure of an organization. A large organization like Wal-Mart has a formal structure, where tasks are specialized and rules and procedures are detailed. One of the main roles of the CEO of Wal-Mart, Mike Duke, is to position the organization towards success by coming up with goals and strategies that maintains the organization’s competitive power.
Wal-Mart is driven by the low-cost leadership strategy. This customer friendly strategy is faced with factors such as providing the employees with average wages and also suppresses small upcoming businesses. Employees are also faced with low compensation and benefit costs like those of health plans. Wal-Mart has faced many fines over the last couple of years due to violation of air and water pollution rules. The company has taken initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in its global supply chains. It also faces technological factors to keep up with competition in the dynamic industry. Wal-Mart, therefore, continuously improves and updates its organizational design through technology.
In conclusion, the efficiency of an organization’s decisions like in the case of Wal-Mart determines its success. The most appropriate decision making process and structure must be at per with the organization’s goals and strategies. Wal-Mart involves creative decision making to solve its issues like those presented by environmental factors. Conflict resolution, creative decision making and organization design help in improving the organizational behavior of the work environment.