Inter-Group Conflict at VodafoneVodafone is renowned the world over as a multinational corporation that deals in telecommunication. Because of how the organization operates in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and in Africa, one of the most rampant forms of conflict involves jurisdictional ambiguities. In the said situations, there is unclear provisions on how to perform responsibilities. Different departments end up having different goals leading to a breakdown in communication as a result of the operations in different countries and the emergent ambiguities. The combined failure in communication and unclear roles gives rise to conflict, where employees become frustrated and their productivity reduced.
In Week 9, conflict is defined as any social interaction where one entity negatively impacts on another party. In this management perspective, Vodafone’s large size creates an issue in the proper definition of roles and responsibilities as well as in creating barrier to effective communication leading to negative outcomes for employees. Dysfunctional conflict occurs at Vodafone as a result of the managerial system and organizational culture employed. The dysfunctional conflict affects the process of work, tasks, and the relationship between different parties. Therefore, communication issues and jurisdictional ambiguities are responsible for the situation at Vodafone leading to conflict in how employees relate, their tasks, and the work process.
The inter-group perspective on conflict can be best applied to the Vodafone case. The roles and the different functions of every department and team create hostility and ambiguity, ending up running up against one another. The main cause for this occurrence include lack of information due to poor communication and information reach and the incompatibility of roles between different departments. The theory of conflict management identifies inter-group conflict as one of the most dangerous types of organizational conflict as it can systemically introduce a new organizational behavior and culture with far-reaching consequences to performance and output (Mikkelsen & Clegg, 2018). I think that dysfunctional conflict observed at Vodafone could have been avoided because the reasons are not intentional, yet the consequences are serious.
In the future, the situation can be avoided through negotiation. Negotiation will be important in resolving the conflict by allocating different resources (Van Kleef & Côté, 2018). The tasks and roles should be better defined to avoid jurisdictional ambiguities, the expectations of different arties streamlined through better work organization, and the communication improve to ensure all employees have better access to information relevant to their performance and execution of roles. Towards this end, an integrative bargaining is proposed by Mikkelsen & Clegg (2018) because of how it creates a win-win outcome. The result of an integrative bargaining for Vodafone would be the creation of functional conflict and the willingness of the conflicting parties to ensure smoother working environment in the future. Overall, better task description and the improvement of communication are the best possible solutions to avoid the inter-group conflict and to reduce the toll on employees. It is also important for the organization to introduce newer organization designs in order to eliminate conflict that is inherent to traditional organizational structures. The size of Vodafone makes it difficult to manage at every level and these suggestions would be effective in reducing instances of conflict.
Mikkelsen, E. N., & Clegg, S. (2018). Unpacking the meaning of conflict in organizational
conflict research. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 11(3), 185-203.
Van Kleef, G. A., & Côté, S. (2018). Emotional dynamics in conflict and negotiation: Individual,
dyadic, and group processes. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 5, 437-464.