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Role Of Management And Leadership In Conflict And Negotiation

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Leadership and Management have an important function in the sustainability of a business and their functions have a profound impact on the success of a business. The existence of these two functions has been known since the 20th century. Since then these two topics are most discussed as to how these two functions affect the sustainability and profitability of a business. The deep desire and aspiration to protect the business investments and interests of shareholders have preoccupied many theories and debates from academia to business settings. In business, teamwork is required and conflict arises when beliefs and opinions of team members not been recognized, due to clashes of personalities or receiving wrong information. Effective leadership and management play a crucial role in managing such conflicts and negotiation in any business. In this way, it is argued that the success and profitability of a business is directly correlated to the fact that how effectively it is managed or Led. This study seeks to carry out a comparative analysis of Leadership and Management functions in Negotiation and Conflict Management. The study attempts to critically discuss these topics and their impact on the culture of an organization in the light of relevant academic literature. All information is obtained from secondary sources. A conclusion is made at the end of this report.

Management and Leadership

In a business environment, the two terms “Management” and “Leadership” are used synonymously in common use. However, the literary debates suggest that these two terms are associated with two distinct roles, whose implications are important in creating value in an organization. According to (Bolden, 2016) the term manages means to contrive, to attain success in accomplishing, and to bring about. While the term “Lead” means to escort, to conduct, to show a way, and to go before. This simple definition suggests that these two terms have a difference in their function. Egon Zehnder International has a reputation in assisting businesses to achieve their competitive goals. It has described nine benchmark competencies for an effective leader and manager. These competencies include change leadership, customer impact, team leadership, market knowledge, result orientation, commercial positioning, strategic orientation, collaboration, people influence, and development of an organization (Kouzes, 2006).

Kotter (2008) describes management as a set of practices that run complex system of people, technology in a smooth way with the main focus on planning, costing, staffing, establishing, controlling, and conflict solving. Kotter also defines leadership as a set of processes that develop organization and have the ability to adapt them according to the change in circumstances. In this way, leadership is more concerned in aligning people within an organization. Leadership is a broader concept which is not exclusive to or within management while, Management work for planning and achieving the planning. The relationship between management and organizational culture is different from the relationship between leadership and organization culture. Managers are people who are concerned with get things done, know how to communicate with their team and work in corporate culture (Alvesson, 2003).

Managers can adopt different kinds of leadership styles according to their situation and requirement of objectives. According to Carlson (1951) managers supervise the organization and operations at the same time. Many studies support this argument of Carlson and concluded that managers should dedicate their time in critical thinking as well (Tengblad, 2002, 2003, 2006).

Leadership is concerned with engaging and aligning people that include all employees and stakeholders (Kotter, 1990). Leadership provides a direction to the organization in which all employees can initiate action without being fearful. According to Kotter, managers have formal structures of communication, relationship, and trust with their team and employees while Leaders have an informal structure in these aspects. According to Gill (2002) managers need not risk out their assigned roles while leaders can help an organization in innovative steps and decision making for future goals. According to Lunenburg, (2011) Trait theory and trait approach leadership studies seek the qualities and personality traits of an individual that makes him a successful leader. However, the generalization and measurements of an individual personality trait is difficult. Behavioral approach and situational approach theories discussed the qualities of a successful leader and his impact on organizational culture (Gill, 2002).

Managerial traits that are important in shaping an organization culture include trustworthiness, consistency, empowerment, and mentorship (KANE‐URRABAZO, 2006). The most important ingredients for a successful leadership includes leadership style, communication skills, ability to inspire, conceptual skills, ethical standards and the ability to use power more effectively. Leadership can be autocratic (downward communication), participative (employee participation in decision making), Transactional (operational focus) or transformational (motivating others). Management has two important directions, its people and production of an organization. Managers work to manage people effectively by negotiating and resolving conflicts in the workplace. A conflict arises when different people have a different opinion, different demands, and varied interest and are not willing to compromise with others. A conflict may result in a positive or negative impact on organizational culture (KANE‐URRABAZO, 2006).

Conflict and Negotiation

The conflict state of an individual is also linked with personality traits on an individual to those of others (Antonioni, 1998). The sources of conflict discussed in Donnelly (2000) study, includes differences in objectiveness, functional dependence, the difference in perception, and increasing demands of experts. Conflict is a process, in which people show their disagreement over some issue and show resistance. Leadership with fiscal understanding, vision thinking, and responsibility is required in conflict management with an organization. Negotiation is defined as bargaining for advantage. The successful management of conflict is based on negotiation. According to Sharma (2018) the stages of negotiation includes preparing, probing, proposing and closing. They described that effective conflict management is based on bargaining style of a leader, the goals of an organization, values, and relationship, and standards of fairness.

Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument describes different elements of negotiation in term of concern for substance or concern for negotiation as indicated in figure 1. In case of concern of substance, a manager can work to win for any cost or make withdraw, while in case of concern for a relationship the manager can collaborate (creatively solve a problem), or accommodate (build a friendly relationship). Making compromise in the negotiation process is based on splitting the differences. A leader can adopt right style in negotiation process to solve a conflict, an avoider who avoid the rise of conflict situation, a compromiser who care for relationship more, an accommodator who help to solve other problems, a competitor who work to win at any cost and a collaborator who work as a problem solver for all. According to Koley (2018) more than 75% of the successful negotiations are cooperative and only 10 % of effective negotiators have competitive style. Koley (2018) describes that determination of best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is the first step of an efficient negotiation process.

The consequences of a conflict may results in benefits or disadvantages for the organization as indicated in figure 2. Effective management use competition with other companies to reduce their internal conflicts and directing their energies to outsides conflicts. Conflicts are desirable and sometimes they are inevitable while un-resolved conflicts may be highly destructive for organizational culture. Loser effect and lack of cooperation can harm organizational performance. These conflicts are maybe intrapersonal, interpersonal, inter-group, or intra-group conflicts. Horizontal conflicts take place among different departments of an organization that works at the same level. Vertical conflicts are mostly linked with issues of power and control and occur in various levels of hierarchy. An organization culture decides how people in that organization view or handle conflict (Rahim, 2017).

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In this new era of business management, managers and leaders are no longer concerned in completely eliminating the conflicts from organization culture. However, managers are now interested to find more efficient ways to manage conflicts. The managers are required to be aware of the several factors and causes of the conflicts before they take action for its management and negotiation. There are two general approaches in conflict management; the behavioral approach which is more focused on stopping the conflict causing behavior, the other is the attitudinal approach that deals in addressing the root cause of the conflict (Chiocchio, 2015).

Ting-Toomey (2017) has described that honest and tough conversations are crucial for the managers to negotiate and resolve conflict at a workplace. The author suggested that for effective and productive conversation the discussion must be started with a third story. Conflicts can occur between different people or group of people within an organization due to lack of communication, non-compliance with rules and lack of cooperation. According to Zartman (2007) training is the most crucial element in resolving the conflict at a workplace. Conflicts cause money, time loss, less motivated employee, low decision quality, sabotage, and affect organizational behavior. Ting describes four mediation styles that an organization can adopt in case of unavoidable conflicts. Zartman (2007) developed a theory to identify the possible process and predictions in case of a conflict. Self, mediation, team mediation, and preventive mediation are different ways that an organization can use to resolve a conflict. Organization culture and organizational behavior are central to every business. Organization metaphors also play important role in the growth of an organization.

Role of leadership and management in the collaborative process of negotiation

  • Collaborative leadership is considered fundamental and crucial in negotiation and conflict management in an organization (Ansell & Gash, 2008).
  • The important qualities of a leader in conflict management include most influencing low personal interest traits (Vangen & Huxham, 2003).
  • The leader must be impartial with all parties of the conflict.
  • The leader could be one person or management that have credibility and legitimacy and have sufficient financial resources to manage the conflict efficiently (McKinney & Johnson, 2009).

A case study: management style and conflict

In a large telecommunication company in New York, conflict arises from the management style of two managers in the different department. Mark and Stefan both are head in two different departments in the same organization. Mark’s problem with Stefan is that he is taking staff from his department without his consent. On the other hand, Stefan thinks that he did the right thing as Mark’s department was overstaffed. This situation got more compounded as most of the employees in Mark’s department asking to be transferred while Mark thinks his department is not overstaffed. Mark feels Stefan is interfering in his duties while Stefan feels that Mark can do better with a leaner workforce. The management head, the director heard the conflict and apart from viewpoint of Mark and Stefan, he considered Kelvin’s opinion too. Kelvin is the immediate manager in the same department that is recently replaced by Mark. He has the same problem that Mark having with Stefan. He was able to handle those issues without directly confronting Stefan.

Analysis of Conflict Management

It is clear that both managers have professional as well as personal differences which altering their work effectiveness. Mark is the head of technological development department and Stefan is a manager at the production department, and both having a dispute that was affecting all organization. These two managers also have personality differences which were complicating the situation. Stefan is more confident in his competencies and he is judging Mark as incompetent towards his new duties. Mark was deeply involved in his work and he was not bothered by poaching activities of Stefan. This is called avoiding or withdrawing a conflict (Koley (2018). Instead of making effective conversation both managers were exchanging accusations against each other. These two managers before confrontation were using two different styles dealing with conflict, Mark was avoiding or withdrawing, this type of conflict management can be useful if the other party attempts aggression. Mark was waiting for an opportune moment to confront Stefan that he was doing wrong, this approach was wrong as it makes Mark’s position more weak and Stefan’s accusation can get a prove. Stefan’s style of conflict management is known as Forcing or competing, which was again a wrong approach to deal with the conflict. Both managers believe that they are right and other person had to be wrong. In this way, both managers were distracted from their original goals and objective and were wasting their energies in the wrong direction.

The best negotiation and conflict management style in this situation would have the collaborating style that is known as win-win style. In this style, all parties involved in a conflict get a mutually beneficial solution (Rahim, 2017). Before Mark, Kelvin the old manager in that department had the same problem with Stefan but was able to curtail Stefan’s attempt to steal his staff while Mark was unable to do so. In obtaining the right solution in this situation, Stefan was allowed to attain some of the talented members from Mark’s personnel through the right channel. In this way, Mark could have manageable personnel size while Stefan got some of the talents he requires. Analysis of this case study indicates some of the issues such as,

The difference in attitude and values

Both managers have personality differences and different attitude approach in their daily work activities. Mark seems like a private kind of person while Stefan was a highly determined and goal oriented personality. Mark should change his leading style and get more involved with his personality as many of them were not satisfied working under his leadership. Mark is needed to develop more interpersonal skills.

Poor communication

Another issue in Mark’s leadership style was lack of communication with his team members and staff. The lack of communication in manager and employees results in an unsatisfied Woking environment. Stefan took advantage of this lack of communication. There was also poor communication between two managers that were not able to solve their conflict (Rahim, 2017).

The absence of teamwork

Mark’s reserve personality makes difficulties in his team working; he had very little contact with his team members. Kelvin was a good leader in teamwork, that why was managing large workforce without any problem. Mark should develop more adaptability in his team management and interpersonal skills.


From this discussion, it is concluded that effective leadership and management both are crucial in resolving conflicts and making negotiation at the workplace. Conflicts can have adverse effects on the performance and reputation of an organization as well as on organization behavior. Poor leadership skills including communication, teamwork, and difference in opinion are the main causes of conflicts in the workplace. The conflicts have positive and negative effects and management and the employee both should work to achieve only positive impacts of conflicts. Managers should develop good leadership qualities, inter-personal skill for better conflict management. Learning how to prevent and solve the conflict and do effective negotiation must be a part of an employee training program.


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