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Conflict Management Plan

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Identify the available conflict management strategies and their strengths and weaknesses.

Strategy

Strengths

Weaknesses

Problem Solving

Tackles conflict as a problem to be solved. It fosters dialogue and considers all possible solutions.

It provides ultimate resolution; conflicted parties communicate and reach a consensus that satisfies them.

Avoidance

Confrontation is avoided.

Parties have time to think what they will do next.

It does not solve the problem. The real cause of conflict is not addressed, but ignored. 

Smoothing

An attempt is made to find common ground between parties in conflict.

It is only a short-term solution for the problem given the real cause of conflict is ignored.

Authoritative Command

Quick short-term solutions as conflicted parties are both intimidated by a higher authority.

Conflict may resurface in other forms as parties develop hard feelings.

Compromise

It provides for an outcome/resolution that satisfies both parties.

It does not solve the problem in reality; both parties end up unsatisfied.


 
Which of the available conflict management strategies is most appropriate for the current situation with David and James? Provide your rationale, including what factors you considered in making your selection.
Given the situation that David and James find themselves in, the most appropriate conflict management strategy is clearly problem-solving. These two employees are efficient; they are both valuable for the company and have both been chosen to be a part of the company’s new project. This means that they will be working together all of the time, so if they cannot establish a harmonic work environment, the project is unlikely to fail. Therefore, the idea is to grant them the opportunity to discuss their conflict, contemplate different alternatives, and find one that allows them to be fully satisfied. The other strategies fail at providing an ultimate resolution, and given that the project depends on how well all team members get along, only problem-solving seems adequate.
If the selected strategy is not successful, what is your alternate strategy? Provide your rationale for this selection.
Should a problem-solving strategy fail to solve the problem, I would select the smoothing strategy as my alternate. If a long term solution that allows for a harmonious work environment between David and James cannot be reached, then at least a short term solution that allows for the project to be completed successfully should be procured. Smoothing focuses on highlighting the good over the bad.  In this particular case, smoothing would mean focusing on completing the project successfully because both David and James stand a lot to gain from it.
What potential road blocks might be encountered in resolving the conflict? How would you address these?
In trying to find a resolution to the conflict it could be that either David or James (or even both) might be unwilling to set aside their differences and discuss the matter to reach a mutually beneficial solution. In such a case an alternative might be resorting to a higher authority to pressure them into agreeing to meet and discussing the problem. Another road block might be that the project’s timetable had to be rushed and there is no time for them to get together and work things out at their own pace. If the conflict’s resolution were to be rushed, this might be a significant problem towards the future (as it would be impossible to develop a long term, definite solution). In such a case the best option would be to pursue the alternate strategy, smoothing, in order to get the project finalized, and after the project’s completion allow David and James to settle the matter through problem-solving.

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