Project Conflict Management
For an enterprise or entity to excel, it has to perform projects to help it to adapt to changes or introduce new products or new processes. A project is a particular skill or action unit designated for the investment of given resources and competencies with an aim of attaining predetermined objectives. However, project management is the application and exploitation of processes, methods knowledge ways, and experiences to achieve the predetermined set of goals and objectives (Kerzner, 2013). Since the project is not a one man job or responsibility, there are chances that people will differ in their ideologies, and this may bring about conflicts within a project team. The project manager has the mandate and responsibility to ensure that there is coordination among various departments or units of a project team. A project office, which hosts the project manager, has the duty to solve any conflict that may arise in the course of implementing a project. Moreover, he has and to motivate all participants to ensure they are all contributing positively towards the realization of the objectives.
In any given project whatsoever, a project manager may have to choose the best conflict management to suit his organization. At times, they are used to use multiple styles of conflict resolution to ensure there is peace as they carry on with their work. One of the best and popular methods of solving project conflict is the use of power. In this case, the project manager is supposed to identify the conflict, face it and not ignore it. The overall supervisor or the manager calls for shots. He directs what to be done, who needs to stand down or how to go about a task. At times due to the primitive and irrational behavior of human being, nothing gets done without power (Meredith, 2011). In most instances we don’t seem to appreciate its constructive use. The threat of dismissal or firing by a senior officer may bring peace in a project organization.
On the other hand, a project manager may be forced to use a mediator to bring peace among his project participants. Some conflicts are just overwhelming. Mediation is the attempt to help parties in a disagreement to hear one another, to minimize the harm that can arise from such conflicts. Moreover, a mediator is that person that is involved in a conflict to help find a solution by bringing both parties to the table. In this case, the project manager may decide to bring in an outsider who neutral to help bring the belligerents in a project together so that they can come to an agreement. A mediator could take a form of a lawyer or a preacher. In some cases, mediation can be expensive since some of these mediators may need a little fee to help solve the disagreement.
Regardless of the method used to solve project conflict, the manager has an obligation to conduct a thorough study to ensure the decision he uses the right method to arrive at an agreement. The exercise of power, the employees or rather the project participants have no option as they have to take the instructions of the project manager and implement them regardless of whether they are good or are bad (Ramsbotham, 2011). On the other hand, the conflicting camps in mediation have to agree and decide on the way forward, and thus, they have a hand in making the final decision. Both ways are used differently. The exercise of power is widely used in scenarios where there are very high risks or dangers involved. The manager has to decide to protect his workers and ensure the safety of his employees. There is the issuance of a command to be followed by all without questions. As for mediation, it is appropriate if the conflict involves vast and unfulfilled contracts that could take the project down. Through this method, the manager can manage his resources wisely, and this may prove the smartest way to solve conflicts.
Mediation leaves all participants happy since their issues are adequately addressed there is a chance to make up and repair a broken relationship. Besides, mediation is less intimidating, and there are no strict rules of procedures. This flexibility and openness allow all camps involved to find the best path for agreement. Furthermore, there is high satisfaction considering that participants’ feelings are put into consideration. This brings more unity and boosts the morale of all parties. Despite mediation not having a formal process, they always have a way to agree. On the contrary, the exercise of power is a genre of dictatorship and may leave some of the players unhappy (Schwalbe, 2015). On many occasions, project managers are accused of misusing their power to benefit themselves and those close to them. Moreover, through mediation, the problem is solved once and for all but through exercise control, there are chances of the conflicting recurring. One or more parties are not open to being influenced or be told what to do by the authority. In some cases, public display of power is seen as crude and unedifying in an open and polite project organization. This may result in revolts or the worst case; go slow on work or strikes. At times, attempts to display or exercise power by weak or people of small size may be ridiculed, and their commands may be challenged by those below them.
Through my research, I came across an article titled resolving conflict with love and peace through mediation which provided me with information on intervention. The article mainly focuses on a couple who was copreneurs but had job disagreements that threatened their marriage. They had to call their friend lawyer to save their marriage and business. As a couple, there was much stake than being in marriage because of their company. They both were members of the board of directors and had a disagreement on the best strategic plan to adopt. On the same note, I also read an article titled effects of power misuse in an organization. The article talked about a start-up company that failed to meet its expectations due to constant conflicts and misuse of authority by the chief executive office. The project manager would openly bark orders to his colleagues without caring of the employees feelings. He treated them like machines or robots and never created time to listen to their grievances. This led to constant conflicts, and not even a single employee was willing to go on working in such an environment. It was a cruel treatment to the employees who are the main input in a company. It is prudent to have a good relationship with co-workers and avoid misuse of power.
Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.
Meredith, J. R. (2011). Project management: a managerial approach. . John Wiley & Sons.
Ramsbotham, O. M. (2011). Contemporary conflict resolution. Polity.
Schwalbe, K. (2015). Information technology project management. Cengage Learning.