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The Cost of Unresolved Workplace Conflicts in the Manufacturing Sector

Employee Conflict Resolution Strategies

Employee Conflict Resolution StrategiesIt’s common for managers to neglect conflict resolution strategies within their workplace environment with a mindset that the conflict will eventually fade off. In most cases, this does not occur and conflict can lag within the workplace for several years, creating a continuous recycle of issues periodically. The resolution of conflict within manufacturing companies has focused largely on the levels of conflict that occur internally as well as in the public spectrum. However, it ought to be noted that conflict majorly occurs behind the scenes as it has been observed by the system designers and conflict analysts. Considering the light shed on the diversity of conflict resolution from an informal perspective, the solutions to these challenges are facilitated by the members of the organization through various means within the formalized processes, investigations, and litigations. The informal conflict resolutions also highly impact the organization through channeling these solutions to the informal mechanisms.

Moreover, the resolution of conflict also takes up a non-rational approach as discovered by various researchers. This method occurs unconsciously through the spontaneous aspects of disputes that are highly driven by impulses as well as the feelings of those involved. Emotions, in this case, are viewed as a method of managing the conflict levels rather than as a blockage to the management of the existent conflict. Conflict occurrence had more to do with emotions as a form of expression during the resolution of conflicts hence the expression of emotions did not imply a loss of reason. The formal methods of conflict resolution, however, did favor rationality over emotional expression.

On the other hand, the retrieval of power and validation of emotion are commonly tossed out with the age of reason which is required in the attainment of conflict dynamics. Intensified emotions have also been found to lead to diverse levels of reactivity which, in turn, cloud the purposefulness of emotion as a means to resolving conflicts. From various workplace conflicts, the underlying triggers of emotions are rarely addressed. The emotions are generated and redistributed through the entire organization system hence they play a significant role in the continuum of cognition and emotion intersection during the conflicts.

In the process of conflict analysis, there are ethical issues that have to be focused upon to come up with long-term solutions. Theft and sabotage is quite common during and after conflict occurrence within the workplaces. In most cases, the workers may opt to destroy the equipment due to reactive emotions arising from the unresolved prolonged conflict levels of a company. Venting their emotions related to their working conditions may be a method of getting even or a form of perceived deserved justice although costing companies in the long run. There exists a direct correlation of prevalence and employee conflict with the levels of damage and theft of inventory equipment within companies. A survey also reveals that estimated thousands of workers within the manufacturing sectors had observed 10% of purposeful damaging of machinery due to conflict at their workplace.

Consequently, the health and safety of the employees within a company are part and parcel of upholding the moral ethics of various industries and in this case, the manufacturing companies. The health and safety of the staff within the manufacturing sectors is another impact of conflict within the department. Due to the overlying unresolved conflicts of the workplace, costly effects are weighed on the company. Accordingly, a study reviewed that the Health and Wellness Research Database had an annual lost work period due to stress equating to an estimate of 1.7 billion. The interpersonal conflicts were found to be a major contributing factor to these costs relating to the workers’ health reductions.

Failure to critically evaluate the levels of ethical dilemmas within a company lead to the occurrence of workplace conflict that also impact the performance management systems.

Safety ChallengePoor Performance management systems

A performance management system primarily refers to a systematic process via which a particular department involves its employees, as group members or individuals, in improving the organizational effectiveness and efficiency geared toward the achievement of the agency goals and mission. It also refers to a combination of processes, forms, and procedures utilized by a given organization for performance evaluations of their employees. These evaluations are carried out for purposes of measuring their work efficiencies. Systems of performance management consist of various elements including performance expectation, job description, appraisals, commendations, and the disciplinary policies. Although employees and supervisors most often than not dread the annual performance evaluations, many systems of performance management function adequately to provide the required support for a productive labor force.

The present working teams within the manufacturing sectors may intend to eventually leave their jobs due to the current levels of unresolved conflict. Their morale are negatively affected which is also transferred to the remaining workers after they leave the workplace. This is an extra cost to the companies since they are still required to keep up with the rates of payment as well as benefits. In other cases, the intention of such workers could be collecting their pays while performing poorly due to unresolved workplace conflict within a poor system of performance management leading to increased company costs.

 Lowered rates of employee engagement

The efficacy of highly skilled labor will be constricted if employees are not fully engaged in the organizational climate and needs. Engagement takes place because people are committed to their work and the organization as a whole and are motivated to accomplish soaring levels of performance. There is a close resemblance between the notions of commitment and engagement which in business context refer to the identification or attachment with the company.

When employees feel they are important assets of an organization and their skills are exploited optimally this will be most likely reflected to their performance. Among the most noticeable impacts of conflict within the manufacturing sectors of the economy is absenteeism which has a larger impact on the productivity levels of the entire company. Numerous employees who eventually intend to quit their occupations due to conflict leave their workloads to others which negatively impact the morale of the rest.

In practice, it can be assumed that employee engagement lies substantially on deliberate job design and optimal utilization of the workforce through assigning challenging tasks and responsibilities to the quality employees. Accordingly, it has been argued that job satisfaction is linked to organizational commitment. Also, impartial appraisal and goal setting may be crucial, whereas the appointment of routine tasks to key employees could bear adverse effects.

Consequently, lowered rates of turnover are among the various costs of unresolved conflict within the manufacturing sector of companies. The staff members opting to leave their jobs due to conflict financially impact the company regarding their loss of productivity costs as well as extra expenses for the recruiting departments.

Opportunity costs

The pluralist approach in modern management models emphasizes that conflict is a crucial tool for social change and influence and must, therefore, occur regularly to articulate the willingness and capacity to act. Therefore, organizational conflict is inevitable towards ascertaining management effectiveness to particular limits necessary for productivity through developing creative solutions as the absence of conflict would possibly lead to poor decision-making, stagnation, and ultimately organizational effectiveness. However, it is imperative that this conflict is not allowed to spiral beyond control as it could lead to organizational disintegration.

A lot of time may be spent on the resolution of conflict while each involved party has to discuss their version to obtain more supporters. This factor largely affects the productivity of the departments within which conflict exists. The separation of employees is commonly approached which also factors in restructuring all the time having avoided the resolution of the conflict. All these factors take up working time that costs the company since they are yet to keep up with the hourly rates of the staff members who conflict. The opportunity costs, on the other hand, are missed with the wastage of time and it becomes impossible to quantify opportunities for growth and increased productivity levels. For instance, the key decision makers would take up to an estimated 30% of their working time resolving conflicts which could translate into an average of three working days of a week to deal with conflict. Consequently, the loss of experienced staff members to other companies that offer higher pay rates may occur due to the impacts of unresolved conflict.  The modern approach to understanding organizational conflict is therefore modeled from a systems standpoint, incorporates multiple levels and dimensions through a dynamic, interactive process. It requires that various disciplines are involved, motivation to come from different levels is descriptive, contains multiple variables, and is adaptive to the situation at hand. One should also view people have a universal human nature and one can mobilize them as self-regulating participants.

Conflicts can be managed through a focus on interpersonal relationships and structural elements, ensuring that it is a positive rather than a negative force that may threaten an employee that may lead to work delays, disinterest, and the absence of action that may negate on the organization’s productivity scale. Tools that can be utilized to manage conflict in organizations are multiparty negotiations. Nonetheless, there are various intercultural issues that one must keep in mind to ensure effective conflict resolution. Conflict resolution consumes useful managerial resources that could be used to increase productivity.  Prolonged conflicts could impact other parties’ emotional and physical states in a negative manner. These conflicts may decrease employee motivation, lead to work sabotage, and a declined market share hence an overall productivity loss. As such, the timely resolution of conflict can create “a cooperative atmosphere for promoting opportunities and movement directed towards non-violent, reconciliation, or basic clashing of interest” which is crucial towards enhancing productivity.

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