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Robbins & Judge

Organizational Behavior
13th Edition

Conflict and Negotiation

Bob Stretch
Southwestern College

© 2009 Prentice-Hall Inc. All rights reserved. 15-1

Chapter Learning Objectives
 After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
– Define conflict.
– Differentiate between the traditional, human relations, and
interactionist views of conflict.
– Outline the conflict process.
– Define negotiation.
– Contrast distributive and integrative bargaining.
– Apply the five steps in the negotiation process.
– Show how individual differences influence negotiations.
– Assess the roles and functions of third-party negotiations.
– Describe cultural differences in negotiations.

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Conflict Defined
 A process that begins when one party perceives that
another party has negatively affected, or is about to
negatively affect, something that the first party cares
– That point in an ongoing activity when an interaction
“crosses over” to become an interparty conflict
 Encompasses a wide range of conflicts that people
experience in organizations
– Incompatibility of goals
– Differences over interpretations of facts
– Disagreements based on behavioral expectations

Transitions in Conflict Thought
 Traditional View of Conflict
– The belief that all conflict is harmful and must be avoided
– Prevalent view in the 1930s-1940s

 Conflict resulted from:

– Poor communication
– Lack of openness
– Failure to respond to employee needs

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Continued Transitions in Conflict
 Human Relations View of Conflict
– The belief that conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in
any group
– Prevalent from the late 1940s through mid-1970s
 Interactionist View of Conflict
– The belief that conflict is not only a positive force in a group
but that it is absolutely necessary for a group to perform
– Current view

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Forms of Interactionist Conflict

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Types of Interactionist Conflict
 Task Conflict
– Conflicts over content and goals of the work
– Low-to-moderate levels of this type are FUNCTIONAL

 Relationship Conflict
– Conflict based on interpersonal relationships
– Almost always DYSFUNCTIONAL

 Process Conflict
– Conflict over how work gets done
– Low levels of this type are FUNCTIONAL

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Sources of Conflict

Status Overlapping
inconsistency Authority


Scarce Task
Resources Incompatible Interdependency
Sources of Conflict
1. Different goals and time horizons: different
groups have differing goals.
 Production focuses on efficiency; Marketing on sales.
1. Overlapping authority: two or more managers
claim authority for the same activities.
 Leads to conflict between the managers and workers.
1. Task Interdependencies: one member of a
group fails to finish a task that another
depends on.
 This makes the worker that is waiting fall behind.
4. Incompatible Evaluation or reward system:
workers are evaluated for one thing, but are
told to do something different.
 Groups rewarded for low cost but firm needs higher
4. Scarce Resources: managers can conflict over
allocation of resources.
 When all resources are scarce, managers can fight over
4. Status inconsistencies: some groups have
higher status than others.
 Leads to managers feeling others are favored.
 Ambiguous jurisdictions
 Conflict of interest
 Communication barriers
 Dependence on one party
 Differentiation in organization
 Association of the parties
 Behaviour regulation
 Performance expectations
 Competition for limited resources
 Lack of cooperation
 Unresolved prior conflicts
The Conflict Process
 We will focus on each step in a moment…

Stage I: Potential Opposition or
 Communication
– Semantic difficulties, misunderstandings, and “noise”
 Structure
– Size and specialization of jobs
– Jurisdictional clarity/ambiguity
– Member/goal incompatibility
– Leadership styles (close or participative)
– Reward systems (win-lose)
– Dependence/interdependence of groups
 Personal Variables
– Differing individual value systems
– Personality types

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Stage II: Cognition and
 Important stage for two reasons:

1. Conflict is defined
• Perceived Conflict
– Awareness by one or more parties of the existence of
conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise

2. Emotions are expressed that have a strong impact on

the eventual outcome
• Felt Conflict
– Emotional involvement in a conflict creating anxiety,
tenseness, frustration, or hostility

Stage III: Intentions
 Intentions
– Decisions to act in a given way
– Note: behavior does not always accurate reflect intent
 Dimensions of conflict-handling intentions:
– Cooperativeness
• Attempting to satisfy
the other party’s
– Assertiveness
• Attempting to satisfy
one’s own concerns

E X H I B I T 15-2

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 It refers to interventions that alter the level and form
of conflict in ways that maximize its benefits and
minimize its dysfunctional consequences.
 Depending on people’s intentions in a given
situation, the behaviour of conflicting parties can
range from full cooperation to complete
 Two intentions determining the type of conflict-
handling behaviour are “assertiveness” and
 Assertiveness refers to an attempt to confront the
other party and Co-operation refers to an attempt to
find an agreeable solution.
Conflict Management Styles


(Motivation to Concern for Self

satisfy one’s
own interest)

Concern for Others
Low (motivation to satisfy High
Cooperation Other party’s Cooperation
Conflict Management
Conflict Management
 There is a menu of strategies we can choose from
when in conflict situations:
1. Competing/Forcing – Forcing tries to win the
conflict at the other’s expense. People use formal
authority or other power to satisfy their concerns
without regard to the concerns of the party that they
are in conflict with. (WIN-LOSE)
2. Accommodating – It involves giving in completely
to the other side’s wishes, or at least cooperating
with little or no attention to their own interest.
 This style involves making unilateral concessions
and unconditional promises, as well as offering help
with no expectation of reciprocal help.
3. Avoiding - Not paying attention to the conflict and not
taking any action to resolve it. It represents a low
concern for both self and the other party; in other
words, avoiders try to suppress thinking about the
conflict. (LOSE-LOSE)
4. Collaborating – Cooperating with the other party to
understand their concerns and expressing their own
concerns in an effort to find a mutually and
completely satisfactory solution.
 Information sharing is an important feature of this
style because for both parties collaborate to identify
common ground and potential solutions that satisfy
both (or all) of them. (WIN-WIN).
5. Compromising - Attempting to resolve a conflict by
identifying a solution that is partially satisfactory to
both parties, but completely satisfactory to neither.
Stage IV: Behavior
 Conflict Management
– The use of resolution and stimulation techniques to achieve
the desired level of conflict
 Conflict-Intensity Continuum

E X H I B I T 15-3

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Conflict Resolution Techniques
– Problem solving – Bringing in outsiders
– Superordinate goals – Restructuring the
– Expansion of resources organization
– Avoidance – Appointing a devil’s
– Smoothing advocate
– Compromise
– Authoritative command
– Altering the human variable
– Altering the structural
– Communication

E X H I B I T 15-4

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Stage V: Outcomes
Functional Dysfunctional
– Increased group – Development of discontent
– Reduced group
– Improved quality of effectiveness
– Retarded communication
– Stimulation of creativity
and innovation – Reduced group
– Encouragement of interest
and curiosity – Infighting among group
members overcomes group
– Provision of a medium for goals
Creating Functional
– Creation of an environment
for self-evaluation and Conflict
change – Reward dissent and punish
conflict avoiders

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 Negotiation (Bargaining)
– A process in which two or more parties exchange goods or
services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them
 Two General Approaches:
– Distributive Bargaining
• Negotiation that seeks to divide up a fixed amount of
resources; a win-lose situation
– Integrative Bargaining
• Negotiation that seeks one or more settlements that can create
a win-win solution

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Distributive versus Integrative
Bargaining Characteristic Distributive Bargaining Integrative Bargaining

Goal Get all the pie you can Expand the pie
Motivation Win-Lose Win-Win
Focus Positions Interests
Information Sharing Low High
Duration of Relationships Short-Term Long-Term
Source: Based on R. J. Lewicki and J. A.
Litterer, Negotiation (Homewood, IL: Irwin,
1985), p. 280.


E X H I B I T 15-5

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Bargaining Tactics and the
Bargaining Zone
 Distributive Tactics  Integrative Tactics
– Make an aggressive – Bargain in teams
first offer – Put more issues on the
– Reveal a deadline table
– Don’t compromise

The Negotiation Process
– The Best Alternative
To a Negotiated
– The lowest acceptable
value (outcome) to an
individual for a
negotiated agreement
 The “Bottom Line”
for negotiations
E X H I B I T 15-7

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Individual Differences in Negotiation
 Personality Traits
– Extroverts and agreeable people weaker at distributive
negotiation – disagreeable introvert is best
– Intelligence is a weak indicator of effectiveness
 Mood and Emotion
– Ability to show anger helps in distributive bargaining
– Positive moods and emotions help integrative bargaining
 Gender
– Men and women negotiate the same way, but may
experience different outcomes
– Women and men take on gender stereotypes in negotiations:
tender and tough
– Women are less likely to negotiate

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Third-Party Negotiations
 Four Basic Third-Party Roles
– Mediator
• A neutral third party who facilitates a negotiated solution by using
reasoning, persuasion, and suggestions for alternatives
– Arbitrator
• A third party to a negotiation who has the authority to dictate an
– Conciliator
• A trusted third party who provides an informal communication
link between the negotiator and the opponent
– Consultant
• An impartial third party, skilled in conflict management, who
attempts to facilitate creative problem solving through
communication and analysis

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Global Implications
 Conflict and Culture
– Japanese and U.S. managers view conflict differently
– U.S. managers more likely to use competing tactics while
Japanese managers are likely to use compromise and
 Cultural Differences in Negotiations
– Multiple cross-cultural studies on negotiation styles, for
• American negotiators are more likely than Japanese bargainers
to make a first offer
• North Americans use facts to persuade, Arabs use emotion, and
Russians used asserted ideals
• Brazilians say “no” more often than Americans or Japanese

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Summary and Managerial
 Conflict can be
constructive or
 Reduce excessive conflict
by using:
– Competition
– Collaboration
– Avoidance
– Accommodation
– Compromise
 Integrative negotiation is
a better long-term
E X H I B I T 15-8

© 2009 Prentice-Hall Inc. All rights reserved. 15-31