Case: The Unreliable Associate
One common attribute of conflict is blame. This can exist for the circumstances, the misinformation, or the motives that generated the conflict. The biggest difficulty with blame is that when a problem can be attributed to someone else, there is little incentive for the first individual to work for resolution as he or she believes a successful resolution will only occur when the other party changes. Unfortunately, if both parties blame each other, they are at an impasse. This week you will have the opportunity to consider a conflict in which each party believes the other is at fault.
Consider the following scenario:
Your manager, has a “no-forgiveness policy” when it comes to receiving work late and holds you responsible for completing certain marketing reports. Unfortunately, you have missed the past two deadlines, which has caused your manager to become very critical of your performance. The problem is that in order to complete these reports, you need to obtain financial data from a fellow employee. This associate tends to either put off your requests for assistance on the grounds that other projects take priority or he e-mails you data at the last minute. In the latter case, you have found that sometimes the data you are getting is inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date. When this happens you must work late to check and double check the data before folding it into your report.
Until now, you have addressed this issue by sending frequent reminders to your associate through voice mail and e-mail messages, all of which you copy to your manager. The less responsive this employee has become, the more you are forced to insist that he fulfills his obligation to you. In addition, the last time you received inaccurate data, your manager criticized you for it during a staff meeting. You, in turn, defended yourself by turning to your associate and stating that the problem is his fault. At your comments, he exploded, stating that if the data he sent were incomplete, it was because your instructions were vague and difficult to decipher. After the meeting he came up to you and told you that he knows that you are “trying to set him up” for failure.
Questions: Please use the Dynamics of Trust
Furlong, G. T. (2005). The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing Diagnosing, and Resolving Conflict. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
How would you analyze this situation in terms of the Trust Model of Conflict? Following the guidelines for the model, what sequence of steps could you initiate to resolve this conflict?
Now switch the conflict to an online classroom. If you were involved in a group project and someone wasn’t pulling his or her weight, what could you do to resolve the situation?