Conflict Management Case Study

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Effective leaders must learn to embrace conflict because it is an inexorable part of human interactions and without intervention, it seldom finds its own productive solutions (Myatt, 2012). The failure to address conflict early on will likely lead to workplace acrimony, disengagement and poor communication and cooperation (Myatt, 2012). The story of the conflict between Cindy and Dr. Jones is an excellent case to analyze the elements of conflict and conflict management. The case study begins with Dr. Jones requesting Cindy to reschedule his afternoon clinic. Cindy is frustrated because this request is the third of this month, he is leaving for personal entertainment, and it will require some patients to be rescheduled multiple times. Cindy…show more content…
It appears to have been generated when determining the ultimate goal; was the goal to solve the scheduling problem, or was the goal to make Cindy feel better? Cognitive Conflict. The initial cognitive conflict in this case study is the direct result of the apparent goal conflict. Cindy's hostility toward rescheduling patients and perceiving it to be “all the time” is contrasted with Dr. Jones casual response to Cindy telling her she can handle it and instructing her to tell patients “I have an emergency” clearly indicates that Dr. Jones and Cindy have conflicting perceptions on if there should be a cancellation of appointments for the afternoon in question. An additional point of cognitive conflict was demonstrated when Dr. Jones was notified of Cindy's complaint and was caught off guard. He expressed dismay because his perception was there was nothing wrong and in fact, they worked together, with no problems, since the…show more content…
Cindy's negative emotions are evident when she uses the phrase, “sick of it” and states “not work another day under these conditions” these statements suggest elements of Cindy's affective conflict as her negative emotions are not compatible with a conflict-free workplace. The affective conflict is increased when Dr. Jones is met with and expresses his surprise, frustration, and anger. These inflamed emotions resulted in management believing they had to permanently reassign Cindy to keep Dr. Jones and Cindy from working together. Procedural Conflict. Management's behind the scenes approach, allowing it to “mushroom” created procedural conflict for Dr. Jones. His expression of surprise and anger when he realized how long this issue had been discussed in the background without his knowledge, or even a hint of a problem, suggests he felt the procedures followed to address the issue should have been different. A conflict can be composed of all or some of the four types: Goal, Cognitive, Affective and Procedural. Managing multiple types of conflict is sufficiently difficult but there is added complexity due to the need to assess the level of conflict. Dedicated attention to the complexity of conflict is necessary not only to avoid a dysfunctional dynamic but to also facilitate positive operational outcomes (Wombacher and Felfe,

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