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Mgt 4550: Conflict - Project Management

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Neeme Patel

MGT 4550

March 5, 2015

Case 1 – Conflict Exercise

  1. What types of organizational units are these two departments and why do you classify them as such?

The Project Expediters would fall under a functional organization.  This is because they have to go through upper management and have little authority to make decisions.  Due to the need for upper management to oversee all decisions, slower communication is a result.  With functional siloing, PE’s do not care to see multiple viewpoints and have a lack of customer focus.  The people on each team may have varying interests.  This is made clear in the case because the PE’s do not care about bettering the organization and simply care for the overtime pay.

The Project Coordinators would fall under a weak matrix organization.  This is because they have project coordinators, not project managers.  The functional departments have control and the project manager does not have direct authority.  Negotiations are made across multiple groups with different agendas and different organizational units.  The PC’s agenda is different than PE’s because they want to think more in terms of what they can do to make the project, and the company, a better place to work.

  1. Analyze the conflict situation on the team and identify the sources.

It is very clear that there is a conflict within the project.  This conflict is the team members.  There is a lack of project team motivation, poor communication, dysfunctional behavior, and poor leadership.  However, the leadership is getting better with a new project manager.  The main conflicts are with the Project Coordinators and the Project Expediters.  It seems that the departments work within different organizational units, have different goals of the project, and a lack of motivation.  The sources of the conflicts are: different goals and expectations, interpersonal conflict, and uncertainty about authority.

  1. What motivations are apparent in the individual project team members?

The Project Expediters are motivated by hourly wages and overtime to buy the sports car.  The Project Coordinators, on the other hand, are motivated by wanting to make the project and the company a better place to work.  The Project Manager is motivated to make the project work with the budget and time constraints.

  1. What approach(es) should you take to resolve the conflict?

The approaches I would take to resolve this conflict are to mediate, control, and negotiate.  There are six steps to take to resolve conflict.  First, determine what each party must have to reach satisfaction.  Second, have each party clearly express those needs.  Third, jointly develop a common purpose that is causing the conflict.  Fourth, work out the differences, resolve issues, and reach a consensus.  Fifth, focus on the needs and not emotion.  Sixth, negotiate and strive for a win/win resolution.

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