Managing Conflict



You have just been part of a merger. You have each been chosen to head up your department and merge the two groups into a self-directed work team. Work with each other to lay out a plan describing how you will develop a new team within your department or departments. It is natural that there will be some confrontations between people. Look at the stages of team development and use that knowledge to work with the team. It is recognized that some employees will refuse to be part of the team. In fact, the new ownership expects that there will be some who lose their jobs because of these issues; however, that is a last resort. Use all your skills to negotiate with employees in an attempt to resolve conflicts and pull your team together.

Because you are working together as a team, it is seen by the ownership that if one is successful, you are all successful. Likewise, if one fails, you all fail. The future success of the company is dependent on your mutual success.

Consider the following:

  • As a team, you must come up with a plan and be in agreement because you have to implement it in your departments.
  • For each step you take, provide a brief explanation of your reasoning.
  • Use the library and the Internet to research these issues.

The Group should present your findings as a 3-5 pages (body of paper) Word document formatted in APA style.


Managing Conflict

Mergers and acquisitions typically occur in business environment due to a number of reasons such as diversification, growth, to create a competitive edge, to create synergy, or even to fulfill a business deal. During mergers, conflicts are bound to arise. These may surface in the early stages of the merger and lead to poor performance of the new entity. It is important for organizations to devise plans ahead of mergers that can be used to manage people issues. Change management during mergers is a critical task that is often undertaken by the HR department. This paper explores a detailed plan that will be used in merging two different groups into a self-directed work team.

In order for a successful merger to occur, it will be necessary to include key aspects identified in the teaming model by Tuckman. These stages will be integrated with other critical steps that must be taken to ensure a smooth merger and help retain employees.

Analysis of culture

This will be the first step in the integration process. This step will involve learning about the cultures of the two organizations and establishing the differences as well as the similarities. Since there are differences in culture between the organizations, it is important to decide on the culture to adopt, or to integrate key aspects of both cultures to come up with an entirely new one. Developing a new organizational culture is essential especially within the first few days of the integration. It not only helps to create a new identity but also helps employees build on their motivation, engagement, and sense of belonging to the new entity. This will enable the employees to withstand the pressures that result from mergers. Failure to address cultural differences may lead to failure of the merger. A new culture will thus be developed by blending the cultures of both organizations. This will involve establishing the mission, vision, values, and culture that the new entity may wish to perpetuate.

Read also: Analysis of Wal-Mart and Target

Review of transition issues and opportunities

The second step is to review opportunities and challenges that surround the merger. A SWOT analysis of the two organizations can enable the merger teams to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing both organizations. It is important to involve all major stakeholders during this exercise including employees of both organizations. Providing employees with an opportunity to provide feedback will make them feel they are part of the change (Kandula, 2003). The teams may then tackle the issues identified in the SWOT analysis. Meetings will provide the opportunity to both teams to interact and learn more about each other during this stage. Team leaders will take this opportunity to start modelling appropriate behavior on employees from both groups. During these meetings, the different two teams will likely act independently since they have not yet embraced the new identity.

Keeping communication lines open

It is critical to provide information to employees early. This enables employees to better understand the need of all the planned changes and hence build trust. Communicating in a timely and effective manner helps develop a strong relationship between the management and employees and enable them gain ownership of the transformation or changes. It is important that employees obtain all relevant information from the management rather than obtaining it from outside sources. This may make them feel like they are not part of the organization. Line managers should also provide employee feedback to the top management. This will enable the top management to address any issues that arising during the course of the merger. Effective communication also helps in clearing any uncertainties that may be cause for concern among employees (Kandula, 2003).

Developing cordial employee relations

This stage aims at establishing cooperation among employees from the two organizations. A number of activities can be conducted to enhance the relationship among employees. For instance, group work may help develop cooperation among employees from the two organizations. Attending training, seminars and joint workshops can also help employees forge a cohesive relationship. In this stage, employees should be free to form opinions concerning the character or integrity of other employees and to voice any concerns they may be harboring. Any disagreements or personality issues that arise should be resolved at this stage so as to foster a cohesive relationship onwards. Team leaders should emphasize on tolerance and openness towards other employees’ personality differences. According to Krug (2009), the storming stage is critical for the success of the merger. Groups which effectively emerge from this stage are able form strong teams and hence ensure the success of the merger.

Evaluating responsibility and authority

In any merger, the terms and conditions of employment are bound to change. The top management should clearly elaborate the responsibility of various employees in both organizations once the merger takes place. Each employee should be aware of the changes in terms and conditions of employment to take place in order to eliminate indecisiveness. The top management should prepare a detailed organization structure indicating the changes in employee role and responsibilities once the merge occurs. An evaluation of the employee compensation, industrial relations, benefits available, and severance policies should be conducted and communicated to employees. (Kandula, 2003). It is also important to establish a retention plan that shows whether the new organization will retain all employees and the termination plan if necessary. It is important for employees to feel secure in their jobs. This improves their motivation for work.

Employee stress management

Mergers can be stressful and unsettling to most employees. This is mainly occasion by a number of reasons such as fear of job loss, transfers, remuneration changes, adopting new status, power changes, and the general uncertainty that surrounds mergers (Pikula, 2009). This can lead to poor performance among employees, low motivation, absenteeism, high employee turnover, and among other issues. There is need to develop ways of alleviating merger stress. Merger stress management includes a variety of strategies such conducting merger stress audits, individual counselling, and merger stress training management. In addition, merger previews should be conducted to inform employees beforehand of what to expect once the merger occurs.

Post-merger activities

This involves assessing the running of the new organization and taking corrective action in case problems are identified. In this stage, the new culture is carefully assessed to ensure it helps develop positive relations and foster cooperation among employees. It is important to keep watch of employees at this stage and provide support that they may need. At this stage, employee development should be taken into consideration. As such, there will be measures to help employees improve their performance and to strengthen their relations. This will ensure that the merger is successful.


Kandula, S. R. (2003). Human resource management in practice: With 300 models, techniques    and tools. New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.

Krug, J. A., & Business Expert Press. (2009). Mergers and acquisitions: Turmoil in top    management teams. New York, N.Y.] (222 East 46th Street, New York, NY 10017:       Business Expert Press.

Pikula, D. A. (2009). Mergers & Acquisitions: Organizational Culture & HR Issues. IRC Press.   Retrieved from:       organizational-culture-and-hr-issues.pdf

Compensation Key Factors-StopNShopToday, Inc.,