Mini-Case: Reaching An Agreement on Flex Time

Scenario: Norma’s Need for Order Norma’s life has never been easy. At the age of 42, she could proudly say that she had earned her position through hard work and extra effort. It was no secret that she was one of the most promising managers and a likely candidate for a vice presidency in a few years. She knew other employees complained at that and made suggestions that there must be other reasons for her rapid advancement in the company. Norma managed to ignore the majority of these comments but once had to file a harassment complaint against an employee who had implied to others that she was having a relationship with the division head. Part of the problem, she supposed, was that she was a demanding manager. She understood that it could be difficult to work for her. She wanted top performance from her staff at all times. The marketing business is ruthless and fast-moving, and those that fall behind, stay behind. It was this understanding and a strong work ethic that propelled Norma from the rank-and-file staff several years before her colleagues. Her devotion to her job has not been without a price. Her friends and family constantly harass her to take more time for a personal life, and though she would love a vacation, she feels that she cannot afford the time away from the office. Recently, Norma was assigned a large project, a huge indication of trust from her superiors as well as an opportunity for her entire team to display their competence. If this project is successful, all of them will reap the benefits. One day, one of her best staff members, Norm, approached her and asked about the possibility of arranging flexible work-from-home hours. Norm has been a reliable worker for 10 years, though recently he’s seemed slightly less engaged. Norma tried to emphasize the importance of this new project, explaining the entire team would need to be fully committed for it to succeed. But she could tell Norm was upset by her decision. The next day, while heading over to Norm to provide him additional details about the project, she overheard Norm speaking with another employee about her refusal to consider his request. He intimated that it was because family was not important to her. Norm made several suggestions about why Norma might still be single at her age, remarks that offended her greatly. She requested that Norm come into her office where she proceeded to formally reprimand him for his comments. You will analyze the above scenario given using worksheets for two different conflict resolution models, the Circle of Conflict (Furlong, p. 46) and the Triangle of Satisfaction (Furlong, p. 77), and then post your answer to the follow questions: • Describe the conflict in your chosen scenario and how it may impact the workplace. • Which of the five conflict drivers (relationships, externals/moods, structure, interests, data, or values) influenced the conflict? • Now, using the Triangle of Satisfaction Model, identify potential areas of impasse in this conflict for each of the three types of interests. Which impasse was the hardest to identify? Why? • Based on the knowledge gained in the course, offer a suggestion/proposal that best resolves the conflict in your given scenario. Book: Furlong, G. T. (2005). The conflict resolution toolbox: Models and maps for analyzing, diagnosing, and resolving conflict. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.

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