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Conglict Management Case Study

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Management
Wordcount: 3480 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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MGMT 1217 Simulation Assignment #1

Section I — Analysis of the conflict/problem

 i. What is the problem from each person’s perspective?Joe – Joe see’s that Tina’s behaviour seems to be escalating.  She has gone from a model employee in the beginning years to an employee who is now being rude and curt to customer’s along with being condescending with behaviour that is bordering on discriminatory.  Joe knows there are some personal matters occurring with Tina, however, he is not fully aware of them as Tina has been reluctant to discuss them.   Additionally, there have already been several talks and counselling sessions with Tina and they seem to be ineffect.  Tina has the skills and dedication however her behaviour is causing issues with her department, putting herself and job into jeopardy and negatively affecting the brand and the overall customer experience.

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Tina – is a dedicated and well-trained employee.  She is frustrated that Kim’s team are not following the policies and the processes that have been prescribed.  She knows her job inside and out however may feel that Kim’s team members do not.  Tina feels that all of the policies and procedures are put in place for a reason and are pretty black and white.  Her patience seems to be running pretty thin as she is dealing with a lot of frustration and change in her home life and is feeling the same way about the working environment.  Tina is also following the policies and procedures to the letter.  Tina also has gone through a divorce and has become a single parent.  She is having issues with a child and has not shared this information with Joe.

ii. What else might be going on in the situation? Tina has not been upfront and open about her home life and has not really talked about it.  There us a carry over affect from her home life into her work life.  She may feel that she is also losing control over things in the work environment because of Kim’s team and their promises to customers.  She also may be sitting in on the meetings and counselling meetings however she is not being very forth coming on what is actually happening.  Also, she has been there for five years she may be ready for a change or feel by this point she should have moved up the ladder.  She also may have wanted the position that Joe has which has led to some resentment.  Joe is new in the position and is still acclimating to the environment and really getting to know his people.  He may be judging and assuming that all of Tina’s issues are from the working environment.  Also, because he has only been there a short time, he never saw Tina when she was a model employee and for the most part has also mainly seen the negative behaviour.  There also may be a lack of trust between Joe and Tina because they have not had the opportunity to really get to know each other and establish a relationship of trust where Tina feels comfortable opening up.

iii. What are the underlying interests of each person?  Joe wants Tina to be an employee he can trust to work with their customers and ensure she is giving excellent customer service.  If Joe needs to step into a conversation with a customer that Tina is having that is taking time away from other tasks.  Also, Joe wants to be able to trust that Tina will always handle situations in a positive professional manner and not need to watch over her shoulder all of the time.  Also, spending all this extra time with Tina is taking the time he has set aside to be able to coach and develop his other staff.  Tina’s beviour also affects the morale of the team negatively and may be worried that this type of behaviour will lead to other behaviors within the team.  Tina has been there a long time and may be looked up to by newer staff – a role model – and this behaviour is not a reflective of their culture or environment.  Tina just wants to be able to do her job.  She is struggling with leaving her home life at home and not letting it affect her work.  She has little patience left and seems that she will lash out at customer’s as her coping skills have already been maxed out.  Tina seems to have lost a sense of control in all aspects of her life and this may be her way of regaining some of it back.   Tina may also feel like she was looked over for a promotion into Joe’s position and may not have an understanding of why.

iv. How can the interests of both parties be integrated to define the problem in a way that includes both perspectives?There needs to a conflict discussion between both Joe and Tina.  There needs to be a collaborative approach between the 2 of them.  There needs to actually be an open and very honest discussion on what is occurring, why it is occurring, what Joe could do to help support Tina, what Tina needs from Joe and a pathway forward with next steps.

A problem statement for this issue would be:  How can Joe and Tina develop a strategy to best support the customers in a positive manner and help give Tina the tools she needs to do her job effectively? (Parker, 2012)

v. What are options for resolving the problem? Some of the options that could be taken to address the problem are:  Some of the options to resolve this issue are:

  • Tina could be directed to use the help of the EAP program through her benefits to help her cope with her home life problems
  • Tina and Joe could have an open and honest and how her home life is affecting her, how it is affecting her work environment and how this could also be potentially putting her job in jeopardy but also find ways for Joe to help support Tina
  • Joe could send Tina to a training program on customer service
  • Joe could use a power base approach and let Tina know this behaviour stops or she is fired
  • Joe can continually work on developing a professional and trusting relationship with Tina and the rest of his staff
  • Joe can show Tina video/audio footage of her interaction with Maria to help demonstrate what her behaviour actually looks like.  This may help Tina truly understand how she is acting
  • Joe could continue the disciplinary path until she has eventually worked her way through until termination
  • Joe could terminate Tina immediately and pay her out
  • Joe and Tina could just continue on as things are and not address the concerns
  • Joe could address concerns only on an ad hock basis
  • Joe could sit very close to Tina and watch every interaction she has with a customer and give her feedback

vi. Choose one option as the recommended solution and provide rationale as to why it is the best solution.The best solution would be to have Joe and Tina have a very upfront conversation.  Joe being honest on what he is seeing, how he can support her and what both the potential positive and negative outcomes could be.  Tina in turn also needs to understand that it is in her best interest to be open and honest on what is going on with her and what her source of frustration in the work place is.  She may not be fully aware of the impact she is having on her customer’s and more than likely her co-workers especially the ones who look up to her. 

Section II — Plan to address conflict/problem

i. Select the most appropriate approach for resolving this conflict based on the Thomas-Killmann model. Identify why the approach you’ve chosen is the best approach and why the other approaches would be less effective.

Using the Thomas-Killmann approach I would recommend using the Collaborating approach.  Since there have already been conversations with Tina, (and we are unsure of the type of conversations that may have been held before hand) this type of approach would allow for each party to work together.  This will also help Tina and Joe develop a trusting relationship and enhance any relationship they may have.  There may be some challenges to this approach especially if Tina shuts down or becomes combative however Joe will need to prepare for all scenarios. This approach would also, most likely, would be the approach that Tina would respond the best to.  It will allow for each person to give their perspective and truly understand what each is thinking and dealing with. 

Competing would not have been a wise approach for Joe.  Joe could go in use a power-based approach and tell Tina what she has to do and what behaviours need to change.  He could use his position of authority to demand these behaviours change.  This would destroy any chance of building a trusting and future relationship and if anything could bring out more negative behaviours from Tina. (Diagnostics, 2019)

Accommodating would have meant that Joe just “gave in” to Tina which means none of his own needs would have been met. He could talk with Tina find out her issues (which would be the frustrations over Kim’s team) agree that she is right and simply move on.  This would reinforce her current behaviour as he is almost justifying her behaviour and if anything would reinforce it. This would not resolve this situation and could exasperate the situation. (Diagnostics, 2019)

Avoiding the behaviour would solve nothing for either Tina or Joe.  Joe could go on as if nothing is wrong.  This would or could escalate the entire situation.  The next time Joe needs to deal with a situation when it came to Tina the steaks could be much higher, the situation much more volatile and at that point there may not be an opportunity to actually dig deeper into what is really happening or be able to support Tina. (Diagnostics, 2019)

Compromising would not get to the root of the problem.  There maybe a quick win for Joe, as Tina could “behave” for a few shifts however old behaviour would resurface because the true root of the issue was never addressed with Tina.  A comprise is kind of the middle ground and therefore Tina may really not understand how destructive her behaviour truly is when it comes to the customer experience or her co-workers or the impact even on herself. (Diagnostics, 2019)

ii. What are the key messages you need to communicate in the discussion with the other person? Some of the key messages that need to be discussed are:

  • How Joe feels when he sees Tina treat a customer in this way
  • How Tina’s behaviours are affecting her customers and co-workers
  • How can Joe support Tina during this time
  • Asking Tina what she needs to help support her
  • Joe showing that is open to listening to Tina and wants to be there for her
  • What behaviours Joe needs Tina to change
  • How they are going to move forward, Tina in her daily behaviours in her job and Joe with the expectations of Tina in her role
  • Expectations of the role

iii. Provide a script for the conversation, including anticipating the other person’s responses.

Joe – Tina I want to thank you first off for meeting today.  Would you like a coffee or water?

I wanted the opportunity to have this conflict discussion with you.  I know it may feel scary, however, please don’t let it scare you.  This is an opportunity for us to really have an honest, open and safe conversation.  What I would like to do is have this discussion and for us to come up with a plan of action and then some follow up.   Ok?  Good! I am very concerned about some of the negative behaviours I am seeing from you with customers. Can you help me understand   what is occurring that I am seeing more of these negative behaviours?

Tina – I am frustrated because we have policies and procedures in place for a reason and no one follows them!

Joe – I her what your saying and can certainly agree that when people do not follow the policies it can be frustrating.  We all know, especially with new staff, mistakes can happen.  What I am trying to understand is why lately your frustration level seems to be higher.  Has something else happened either inside or outside of work?

Tina – yes lots!

Joe – Tina, please elaborate on what lots means.  The only way I can best support you or get you the support you need is for you to be open and honest. 

Tina – sigh……. I have gone through a messy divorce and I am struggling with my children.  I do not want to go into details about them but there are some legal issues that I am also handling with one of my kids.

Joe – I am sorry you’re going through this Tina.  It must be very hard for you.

Tina – it is!  I was not expecting any of it so I may still be in some shock as I try and figure out my life.  I am feeling very overwhelmed

Joe – Tina, I can understand how feeling overwhelmed can be difficult. What are the things at work that also you might find overwhelming?

Tina – Well honestly work isn’t overwhelming, I am just tired because I cannot sleep as I worry all the time.  When I come into work, and people do things that they are not supposed to do I just finally snap.  It just really pisses me off why people cannot do their job properly.

Joe – The job itself is not overwhelming however your frustration is escalated when you feel someone has not done their job correctly?

Tina – yes Joe.  Honestly, I just feel like I have no energy when I am here.  I know I have said some things that I should not have said to both customers and co-workers.  It is like right now I have no filter and I am a time bomb each day ready to explode.

Joe – from a customer experience stand point you know that we cannot have our staff blowing up

Tina – I know.  I know I should not be doing it and for that I am very sorry.  I am trying but I am having issues getting it all under control.  I know I need help for my personal life but I have no idea what or where to go.  I also know I am skating on thin ice here.  I am actually grateful for this conversation.  I do not tend to share a lot of my personal business however after you asked for this meeting, I did some reflecting and knew what behaviours I was displaying that we were going to talk about….

Joe – Tina, I need you to understand that I am here for you as well as the company.  What can I do to help support and reduce your frustration?

Tina – I dunno……. maybe try and get more sleep…. I have tried coming up with a plan but it has not worked.  Do you have any suggestions on what I can do?

Joe – I cannot help directly but we do have an EAP plan with your benefits.  I know they have counselling for individuals and for family.  Have you looked into that?

Tina – No, I did not realize we had that.  That might be very helpful for me and my family.

Joe – Here I will give you their number.  If you want, once we are done, you can take 10 mins to give them a call and see how best they will be able to support you.

Now, on the work front, what can I do to help reduce your stress when you’re here so that you are able to give a great customer experience?

Tina – Joe, a few days off might help me get my head back on straight plus talking to the EAP people.  I know it may be a lot to ask but the break might be what I need to just regroup.

Joe – Tina why don’t you take the next 3 days plus the 2-day weekend so it will give you 5 days off to get things settled. 

Tina – thank you Joe!!  I know I have not been the best employee but thank you for listening to me and at least giving me a direction.

Joe – My pleasure Tina.  I am here for all of my people!!  So, you will have the next 5 days off.  Now returning to work on Monday, the expectation would be a deliberate change in behaviour.  A positive attitude and the delivery of a great customer experience. 

Tina – yes, that is something I can do.  Can I come talk to you for a few minutes if I am finding the a little tough?

Joe – yes absolutely Tina.  If during your shift if you need to take a min to breath please do so, and I am always here if you need to talk.  Also, I would like to set up some follow up meeting a week a part.  More like a check in to see how your doing at work.  I may not be able to support your home life but I can certainly support your work life.

Tina – thanks Joe I truly appreciate you listening to everything I had to say.  Hopefully with the time off and the EAP I can be the person I was when I won employee of the month.  I was so proud of achieving that and would love to do it again.


  • Diagnostics, K. (2019, ND). An Overview of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). Retrieved from Kilmann Diagnostics: http://www.kilmanndiagnostics.com/overview-thomas-kilmann-conflict-mode-instrument-tki
  • edu, d. (ND). Toolbox: Conflct Management Options Through DoDEA’s Center for early Dispute Resolution (CEDR). Retrieved from Toolbox: Conflct Management Options Through DoDEA’s Center for early Dispute Resolution (CEDR): https://www.dodea.edu/Offices/CEDR/upload/CEDR_Toolbox.pdf
  • Parker, J. (2012, Feb 02). Writing an Effective Problem Statement. Retrieved from Enfocus Solutions: http://enfocussolutions.com/writing-an-effective-problem-statement/
  • Steven Kursh, T. L. (2016). MGMT1217: Emplyee Resolution and Problem Solving Fanshwe College. Boston: Pearson.



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