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1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Thesis Background

The term ‘conflict’ refers to a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or about to affect negatively, something that the first party cares. Conflict can occur between Individuals, Groups etc. irrespective of Age and Gender among people who are studying or working in an organization. In working Environment employees with diversity mix of education, gender & age differences plays a key role in shaping the organization performance. Conflict occurs quite common at this level but noted thing is that Students especially pursuing Management education were also involved in conflicts but they do initiate in resolving conflicts. If the conflict rises and resolved among students & when they enter corporate world with same attitude, might become difficult to sustain their position in organization. Conflict resolution styles among Employees and students vary. Research is about comparison of resolution styles of aspiring managers i.e., students who are pursing Post-Graduation/Under-Graduation & Existing Managers. To know the differences in resolution styles and accordingly propose a theory i.e. change agent useful for Employees at organization level and for students at their educational level which will help them to rectify their issues.

2. MOTIVATION

  • Student’s perceptions & conflict among themselves.
  • Employee’s perceptions towards colleague & conflict among them.
  • Interesting note: Jain.S(2010) persons are interested in other’s activities and are not concerned about them.
  • Previous work haven’t focused in comparing resolution styles of students & Employees(Who have just entered)

3. LITERATURE REVIEW

3.1. Conflict

March and Simon (1958) defined conflict as ‘a breakdown in standard mechanism of decision making’.

Conflict is the outcome of perceived incompatibility or contradictory view among the parties involved (Jehnand & Bendersky, 2003)

Robbins (2009) explained about Traditional view of conflict is harmful & must be avoided. While Human Relations view of conflict argued that conflict is natural & inevitable in any group. This theory dominated from late 1940s to mid-1970s.

Traditionally, conflict was viewed as dysfunctional for the organizations. It was used with terms such as violence, destruction, and irrationality to reinforce its negative connotation. Later researchers have accepted that conflict was inevitable could not be eliminated. Instead of terming it as dysfunctional for the organization, they believed that group’s performance could be enhanced when conflicts arose.

Interactionist view does not propose that all conflicts are good, rather certain conflicts enhance the performance of a group these are functional conflict which is constructive in nature and dysfunctional conflict destructive in nature. Differentiation among both the types is that one needs to look at the type of conflict (.Jehn K.A, 1995).

Interactionist view of conflict is not only a positive force but also necessity for a group to perform relatively. (Jehnand & Bendersky, 2003).
A Mintzberg (1973) view on conflict is that managers are handling disputes, which also involve the mediation of conflicts between colleagues, superiors.

Conflict has been viewed as a deviation of interest, or conviction that the parties’ current intents cannot be achieved simultaneously (Rubin et al., 1994).

De Dreu et al. (2001) Individuals and groups perceive & experience conflict as a result of differences between oneself or others as an individual or in a group.

Jehn K.A. (1995).explained conflict on a two-dimensional construct- emotional and cognitive conflict. The emotional conflict comprises of personal and affective factors such as tension, friction, and dislike among members within the group, whereas, the cognitive conflict comprises of differences in opinions relating to a certain task.

Further, Friedman R.A.et al., (2000) investigated to find the relationship between conflict & job stress based demographic characteristics, cognitive and affective conflict.

3.2. Conflict Resolution Styles

Robbins Stephen.P et.al. (2009) explained about existence of perceived conflict will be a condition among two parties that create opportunity to arise conflict. Intentions intervene between people’s perceptions, Emotions & their behaviour, lead to decisions to act in a given way. (Womack, 1988).Conflict styles can be defined as the style that an individual chooses to satisfy one or others.

Blake and Mouton (1964) developed the managerial grid, which included two dimensions: concern for production and concern for people with four styles’forcing (low-low for both, smoothing, compromising and problem solving (high- high for both).

(Deutsch, 1973) proposed a single-model i.e. cooperativeness and uncooperativeness later these models were rejected, because they failed to account for strategies involving a concern for self-interests.

Rahim (1983), Thomas and Kilmann (1974), Leung (1997), adopted a two-dimensional framework to explain the various conflict resolution styles.
Rahim, (1983) developed Organisational Conflict Inventory (ROCI-II). This is one of the widely used models to measure the conflict resolution styles. They are Integrating, Obliging, Dominating, Avoiding, and Compromising

Further, Dunnette, M. D., Hough, L.M. (1992) developed a new model which linked the Rahim (1983) two-dimensional framework to the concepts of distributive versus integrative bargaining

Dimensions of conflict-handling Intentions are competing, avoiding, collaborating, compromising, accommodating. (Thomas & Kilmann.1974) developed a two-dimensional model, they are assertiveness & cooperativeness.

Fig-1: Thomas & Kilmann Model

Assertiveness is for self-concern & cooperativeness is concern for others. The model developed by Thomas & Kilmann (1974) states that there are five modes of conflict resolution i.e. competing, collaborating, avoiding, accommodating and compromising as shown in Figure 1. Competing mode of conflict resolution is characterised by a high concern for self. Individuals adapting to this style strives to maximise their gains at the cost of others. Accommodating style of conflict resolution mode is characterized by high concern for others. The avoiding style of conflict resolution is characterised by low concern for self. If the individual is low on assertiveness, he/she shall try to avoid conflict as far as possible. Individuals having a collaborative style of conflict resolution mode strive to achieve constructive solutions to conflict so that the interests of all the parties involved are met. The compromising mode of conflict resolution lies in between cooperativeness and assertiveness.

3.3 Demographics & Conflict Resolution styles

Demographics play a significant role in conflict resolution styles among individuals or groups, might be in case of managers either aspiring & existing mangers. Following sub-sections explains about previous work on demographic factors such as age, gender role significance and also conflict styles adopted by different individuals.

3.3.1. Gender & Conflict resolution styles

In handling conflicts women tend to favour accommodating style in comparison to male (Greeff & de Bruyne, 2000; Rubin et.al., 1975). men are more avoiding in their style of conflict management than are women (Greeff & De Bruyne, 2000; Mackey & O’Brien, 1998; Haferkamp, 1991).

Sheryl D. Brahnam (2005) explained about the significant difference among male & female graduates majoring in information security. The conflict styles in previous studies also stressed the differences in gender while adopting particular conflict resolution style collaborating style followed by accommodating style were having some significance difference among male & female graduates majoring in information security.

Conflict management styles do not vary in studies involving managers as much with gender role expectations (Korabik et al., 1993; Eagly & Johnson, 1990)

3.3.2. Age & Conflict resolution styles

Jain.S(2010) in his paper explained about the significance of age as emotional quotient & intelligence increases their might some difference in conflict resolution styles among aspiring mangers.

Peter Jordan J. & Ashlea C. Troth (2002). Emotional intelligence is about controlling emotions of self and ability to control others. No research has been conducted to determine if there is a link between emotional intelligence and preferred styles of conflict resolution till date. Results of this paper suggests that the emotions that are generated during an organizational change process may be managed by providing employees with the necessary skills to manage those emotions, this also comes with maturity i.e. age has some significance.

Overall in demographics factors such as age & gender are taken into consideration in previous work aspiring mangers tend to favour collaborating style followed by accommodating style of approach in resolving or approach to resolve the conflicts.

4. THEORITICAL FRAME WORK

Jain.S(2010).tried to explore the individual differences by relating gender and conflict resolution styles among aspiring Indian managers.

Nurdan Ozaralli(2002).explained about which conflict resolution strategies are preferred by Theory X (autocratic) and Theory Y (democratic) leaders in conflict situations.

Smarty Mukundan et.al (2013). tried to find out whether Gen Y with their typical characteristics has a specific conflict style. Preference of conflict styles across the gender, educational back ground & Work-Experience.

Stephen M. Croucher et.al. (2011) in his article mentioned about demographic factors influence on conflict styles preference in Indian context.

Vasanthi Srinivasan(2012) discussed the challenges of multi-generations in the Indian workforce, their impact on leadership styles and managerial practices.

Ken Bowlby et.al. (2011) explained the Significance of Gender-Based differences on Machiavellianism levels and a compromising approach adopted by students.

Tanuja Agarwala(2008) addressee the individualism-collectivism & career orientations of MBA students in India.

Claude-H??l??ne M et.al. (2012), addressee the Cross-cultural issues in an organization among employees based on Gender.

Sheryl D. Brahnam et.al. (2005) compared the conflict resolution styles among employees in an organization i.e. gender-based difference.

Liz J et.al. (2008).Influence of organizational level on employees’ perceptions and reactions to a complex organizational change.

Roger J. Volkema, Kogod(2012).introduced a model for initiation of conflict-process and described the effects of culture and personality.

5. OBJECTIVES

To study Conflict resolution styles of Aspiring & Existing Mangers based on Demographic factors.

To compare the conflicts styles preferred by aspiring & existing managers based on demographic factors.

6. IMPORTANT FACTORS

Category Factors Author & Year
Demographics
Age Peter Jordan J. & Ashlea C. Troth (2002)
Gender Greeff & de Bruyne (2000)
Ken Bowlby et.al. (2011)
Sheryl D. Brahnam et.al, (2005)
Education
Researcher contribution

Conflict Resolution styles Competing Nurdan Ozaralli(2002)
Korabik et al. (1993)
Thomas & Kilmann (1974)
Smarty Mukundan et.al (2013)

Collaborating
Accommodating
Avoiding
Compromising

Managers Aspiring Manger Jain.S(2010)
Existing Manger Researcher contribution

Table 1: Factors

7. SCOPE OF STUDY

Conflict can arise irrespective of age, gender, education, but resolving approaches varies.

Attempt to know whether these styles applied on aspiring & existing mangers based on demographic factors will reveal some interesting facts.

8. GAP ANALYSIS

Study on Comparing Students & Existing Mangers based on demographic factors such as Age, gender & Education was not done yet i.e. limited research was done in this area.

9. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Do Demographic factors such as Age; Gender and Education have some relationship between Students & Employers in conflict resolution styles?

Does identifying these factors helps in solving issues at Student level & will be able to sustain their attitude while working in an organization.

10. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

10.1. Research approach

Exploratory research & qualitative will be collected. Questionnaire will be prepared using Thomas & Kilmann(1974) mode of instrument consists of 30 items, highlighting on five dimensions of conflict resolution styles to identify the personality of Aspiring Managers & Existing Managers. Influence of Demographic factors such as Age, Gender, and Education are taken into consideration, while preparing a questionnaire. Questionnaire will be an open type. Statistical tools & tests are applied in later stage for appropriate data analysis.

Fig-2: Research Methodology

10.2. Hypothesis

H1: Collaborating style of conflict resolution will be adopted by existing & aspiring managers.

From previous study & literature review it is found that mostly aspiring managers prefer competing style irrespective of age, gender etc. To know whether same style of preference exists in existing managers & accordingly hypothesis framed.

H2: There is a significant difference in conflict resolution styles among aspiring & existing managers based on gender.
Conflict management styles do not vary in studies involving managers as much with gender role expectations but is there any difference in aspiring & existing mangers is the question.

H3: There is a significant difference in conflict resolution styles of aspiring & existing managers based on age.
As stated in literature review that emotional intelligence takes place major role in conflict resolution styles adopted by individuals in different situations.

H4: Educational back ground has a role in conflict resolution styles adopted by aspiring & existing managers.

10.3. Data collection

Thomas & Kilmann (1974) instrument consists of 30 items will be administered, printed & online distribution of questionnaire to the existing managers & aspiring managers will be the approach for collection of data. Existing managers are employees presently working in an organization such that questionnaire will be open for all sectors & aspiring managers are under graduate/ post graduate students who are in final year of their respective fields.

11. REFERENCES

1. Barki, H., and Hartwick, J. (2004), ‘Conceptualizing the Construct of Interpersonal Conflict’, International Journal of Conflict Management, 15 (3), 216-244.
2. Blake, R.R & Mouton J.S (1964), the Managerial Grid, Houston, TX, Gulf Publishing.
3. De Dreu et.al. (2001), ‘Productive Conflict: The Importance of Conflict Management and Conflict Issue’, journal of organizational behaviour, 22,309-328. doi:10.1002/job.71.
4. Deutsch, M. (1973), the Resolution of Conflict: Constructive and Destructive Processes, Yale University Press, and New Haven, CT.
5. Eagly, A.H., Johnson, B.T. (1990), “Gender and leadership style: a meta-analysis”, Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), pp.233-56.
6. Friedman, R. A. et.al.(2000),’ What Goes around Comes around: The Impact Of Personal Conflict Styles On Work Conflict and Stress’, International Journal of Conflict Management,11(1),32-55.
7. Greeff, A.P., De Bruyne, T. (2000), “Conflict management style and marital satisfaction”, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 26(2), 321-34.
8. Haferkamp, C.J. (1991), “Orientations to conflict: gender, attributions, resolution strategies, and self-monitoring”, Current Psychology, 10 (4), 227-40.
9. Jain.S(2010).Gender Perspective on Conflict Resolution Styles of Aspiring Indian Managers. Asia Pacific Business Review, 6(4), 88-95.
10. Jehn K.A. (1995),’A Multimethod Examination of the benefits and determinants of intra group conflict’ Administrative Science Quarterly, 40(2), 256-282.
11. Jehn, K. and Bendersky, C. (2003), ‘Interpersonal Conflict’, Research in Organizational Behavior, 25(1), 187-242.
12. Ken Bowlby et.al. (2011). ‘Personal values, behaviour and conflict resolution styles: a study of contemporary mainland Chinese business students’. Journal of International Business Ethics, 4(1), 42-59.
13. Kilman, R.H., Thomas, K.W. (1977), “Developing a forced choice measure of conflict-handling behavior: the ‘MODE’ instrument”, Education and Psychological Measurement, 37(2), 309-25.
14. Korabik, K. (1993), “Managers’ conflict management style and leadership effectiveness: the moderating effects of gender”, Sex Roles, 29(5), 407-422.
15. Leung, K. (1997), Negotiation and Reward Allocations across Cultures in Early, San Francisco, CA: New Lexington Press.
16. Jones L et.al. (2008) “Employee perceptions of organizational change: impact of hierarchical level”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 29(4), 294 ‘ 316.
17. Mackey, R.A., O’Brien, B.A. (1998), “Marital conflict management: gender and ethnic differences”, Social Work, 43(2), 128-41.
18. March, J. G. and Simon, H. (1958), Organizations, New York, NY: Wiley
19. Mintzberg, H. (1973), the Nature of Managerial Work, New York, NY: Harper & Row.
20. Myers L.L. & Larson R.(2005).’Preparing Students for early work conflicts’ Business Communication Quarterly, 68(3), 306-317.doi:10.1177/1080569905278967.
21. Neil B. et.al (2002), ‘Gender Role, Organizational status & Conflict Management styles’, international journal of conflict management, 13(1), 78-94.
22. Nurdan O. (2002), ‘A Study on Conflict Resolution Styles Employed by Theory-X and Theory-Y Leaders and Perceived Leader Competence’. Journal of Business Perspective, 6(2), 81-86.
23. Peter Jordan J. & Ashlea C. Troth (2002).’Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution: Implications for Human Resource Development’. Advances in Developing Human Resources.4 (1), 62-79.
24. Rahim, M. A. (1983), ‘A Measure of Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict’, Academy of Management Journal, 26 (2), 368-376.
25. Robbins Stephen .P et.al. (2009). Organizational Behavior, New Delhi, Dorling Kindersley Pvt ltd.
26. Roger J.Volkema & Kogod(2012), ‘Understanding propensity to initiate negotiations: An examination of the effects of culture and personality’ .International Journal of Conflict Management,23(3), 266-289.
27. Rubin et.al.(1975), The Social Psychology of Bargaining and Negotiation, Academic Press, New York, NY
28. Sheryl D. Brahnam et.al, (2005) “A gender-based categorization for conflict resolution”, Journal of Management Development, 24(3), 197 ‘ 208.
29. Smarty Mukundan et.al. (2013). A Study on the Conflict Resolution Styles of Generation Y Students in Indian Context. International Journal of Global Business, 6 (1), June 2013, 81-90.
30. Stephen M. Croucher, Kyle J. Holody, Manda V. Hicks, Deepa Oommen, Alfred DeMaris, (2011).”An examination of conflict style preferences in India”, International Journal of Conflict Management, 22( 1), 10 ‘ 34.
31. Tanuja Agarwala, (2008) “Factors influencing career choice of management students in India”, Career Development International, 13(4), 362 ‘ 376.
32. Thomas, K. W. & Kilmann, R. H. (1974), Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Survey, New York,NY: Xicom Tuxedo.
33. Vasanthi S (2012). ‘Multi generations in the workforce: Building collaboration’, IIMB Management Review, 24(1), 48’66.
34. Watson, C., Hoffman, L.R. (1996), “Managers as negotiators: a test of power versus gender as predictors of feelings, behavior, and outcomes”, Leadership Quarterly, 7(1), 63-85.

APPENDIX
Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Instrument
1. A. There are times when I let others take responsibility for solving the problem.
B. Rather than negotiate the things on which we disagree, I try to stress those things upon which we both agree.
2. A. I try to find a compromise solution.
B. I attempt to deal with all of another’s and my concerns.
3. A. I am usually firm in pursuing my goals.
B. I might try to soothe the other’s feelings and preserve our relationship.
4. A. I try to find a compromise solution.
B. I sometimes sacrifice my own wishes for the wishes of the other person.
5. A. I consistently seek the other’s help in working out a solution.
B. I try to do what is necessary to avoid useless tensions.
6. A. I try to avoid creating unpleasantness for myself.
B. I try to win my position.
7. A. I try to postpone the issue until I have had some time to think about it.
B. I give up some points in exchange for others.
8. A. I am usually firm in pursuing my goals.
B. I attempt to get all concerns and issues immediately out in the open.
9. A. I feel that differences are not always worrying about.
B. I make some effort to get my way.
10. A. I am firm in pursuing my goals.
B. I try to find a compromise solution.
11. A. I attempt to get all concerns and issues immediately out in the open.
B. I might try to soothe the other’s feelings and preserve our relationship.
12. A. I sometimes avoid taking positions which would create controversy.
B. I will let another have some of their positions if they lets me have some of mine.
13. A. I propose middle ground.
B. I press to get my points made.
14. A. I tell another my ideas and ask them for theirs.
B. I try to show him the logic and benefits of my position.
15. A. I might try to soothe the other’s feelings and preserve our relationship.
B. I try to do what is necessary to avoid tension.
16. A. I try not to hurt the other’s feelings.
B. I try to convince the other person of the merits of my position.
17. A. I am usually firm in pursuing my goals.
B. I try to do what is necessary to avoid useless tensions.
18. A. If it makes the other person happy, I might let them maintain their views.
B. I will let the other person have some of their positions if they let me have some of mine.
19. A. I try to get all concerns and issues immediately out in the open.
B. I try to postpone the issue until I have had some time to think it over.
20. A. I attempt to immediately work through our differences.
B. I try to find a fair combination of gains and losses for both of us.
21. A. In approaching negotiations, I try to be considerate of the other person’s feelings.
B. I always lean toward a direct discussion of the problem.
22. A. I try to find a position that is intermediate between mine and another person’s.
B. I assert my wishes.
23. A. I am often concerned with satisfying all my wishes.
B. There are times when I let others take responsibility for solving problems.
24. A. If the other’s position seems important to them, I would try to meet their wishes.
B. I try to get the other person to settle for a compromise.
25. A. I try to show the other person the logic and benefits of my position.
B. In approaching negotiations, I try to be considerate of the other person’s wishes.
26. A. I propose a middle ground.
B. I am nearly always concerned with satisfying all my wishes.
27. A. I sometimes avoid taking positions that would create controversy.
B. If it makes the other person happy, I might let them maintain their views.
28. A. I am usually firm in pursuing my goals.
B. I feel that differences are not always worth worrying about.
29. A. I propose middle ground.
B. I feel that differences are not always worth worrying about.
30. A. I try not to hurt the other person’s feelings.
B. I always share the problem with the other person so that we can work it out.

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