Microsoft Corporation is one of the largest software companies in the world. The company deals in software development, manufacturing and licensing software products including operating systems, server applications, business and consumer applications, internet software technologies and services as well. Under the leadership of Bill Gates Microsoft has succeeded in placing at least one of its products in every personal computer world wide.
Over the years, Microsoft has experienced growth as a result of the creative and innovative nature of the employees. The chief executive Steven A. Ballmer (2010), said that the standards of business conduct are an extension of Microsoft's values and the foundation of their business tenets. This shows that Microsoft is a consumer oriented company that has the interests of the end user at heart. He goes on to say that all Microsoft employees are responsible for understanding and complying with the standards of business conduct, applicable government regulations and policies. Microsoft employees are expected to raise compliance and ethical concerns through established channels which the chief executive officer terms as the way to ensure that Microsoft continues to be a great company for a great people.
Microsoft over the years has upheld corporate values like integrity, honesty, passion for customers, partners and technology, being open and respectful to others and being dedicated to making them better, willingness to take on big challenges and see them through and also self-critical, questioning and committed to personal excellence and self-improvement among other values. Steven Ballmer (2010) has it that Microsoft is a company that has standards of business conduct with a reason. He says that as responsible leaders, it is not enough to intend to do things right but, they must also do them the right way which means making business decisions and taking appropriate actions that are ethical and in compliance with applicable legal requirements. However despite Microsoft having upheld its corporate values like the ones indicated above conflicts have still emerged in the workplace as a result of various reasons.
Conflicts at workplace.
Conflicts refer to disagreements among individuals. In this case we focus on disagreements at workplaces among different organizations like Microsoft that are characterized by people with different interests visa vie the organizational interests. For instance, Microsoft employees at one moment or the other have engaged in a conflict where some people have not been willing to uphold the organizational values like integrity while as the organizational leader expect them to uphold them.
Susan M. Heathfield, (2011) has it that organizational leaders are responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive. She goes on to say that if turf wars, disagreements and differences of opinion escalate into interpersonal conflicts in work places immediate intervention by leaders is needed.
Mary Rau-Foster (2000), says that conflicts are normal and part of our workplaces and life. According to her unresolved conflicts can result into feelings of dissatisfaction, hopelessness and depression which renders an employee less effective and even result into resignation from jobs or even violence. Mary Rau-Foster (2000) considers communication as both a cause and solution to conflicts.
Conflicts at work are brought about by various reasons and also various ways are always deployed to solve them. Among the causes of conflicts in workplaces are conflict of interests, limited resources like time, space, materials, and equipments whereby competition for such materials breeds' conflicts. Another prospective cause of conflicts in workplaces is unclear definition of responsibilities since these results into numerous occasions for conflict to arise over decisions made or actions taken in disputed territory.
Though the workplace situation sets a fertile ground for conflicts breaking out as a result of the dynamics and interdependency of the employee-employee, customer-employee relationships and employee to outsiders relationships. With this kind of interdependency conflicts are inevitable if there is no open communication in an organization. Lack of open communication fuels underground conflicts which create a downward spiral of misunderstanding and hostility. Conflicts can be solved in different ways and should never be assumed so as to avoid dangerous repercussions in the long run.
How motivational theories can be applied to conflicts in workplaces.
Center for Management and Business Administration (2010), points to McGregor Douglas' two motivational theories that he named X and Y. Under theory X he assumed that an average person dislikes work and attempts to avoid it, is self-centered and therefore does not care about organizational goals, resists change and is gullible. With such a person McGregor suggests that can either be dealt with harshly or softly. Dealing with such people harshly involves things like coercion and strict supervision while as a soft approach involves such things as being permissive and seeking harmony in hope that the employees will cooperate in return.
Conflicts in the workplace that are as a result of people who are anti-change and are reluctant to honor the organizational values like integrity for the case of Microsoft will ultimately cause conflicts in the organization. Steven Ballmer (2011), says that their employees as Microsoft have set standards of business conduct which failure to comply with would result into accompanying punishment or punitive measure. McGregor talks of satisfied needs as no longer being motivators drawing from Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Conflicts are needs to be solved and if they are promised to be solved effectively the employees are motivated. But once they are solved the motivation that they had in hope of things being better dies. This coincides with McGregor theory X
McGregor came up with an alternative theory Y that assumes that work can be as natural as play and rest, people will be self-directed to meet their work objectives if they are committed to them, he also assumes that under such conditions people will seek responsibility. He also assumed that people can handle responsibility because creativity and ingenuity are common.
Microsoft has tried to solve conflicts in accordance to this motivational theory by promoting creativity which shows the theory applies in solving conflicts in workplaces. In promoting creativity and innovation room for employees, despising one another's ideas is eliminated within Microsoft. This is so since no ones idea is invalid as it has the potential of culminating into a new product which may advance the company.
McGregor's motivational has an opportunity to align personal goals with organizational goals by using an employee's own quest for fulfillment. By so doing conflicts in workplaces are reduced since people work towards satisfaction which in the long run turns out to be a motivator. This theory applies to conflicting situations in the workplaces more so where by not all people in the work place are mature which means in the long run they might conflict.
More so this theory gives room for performance appraisal and job enlargement which helps in solving conflicts since if people were conflicting through performance appraisal it is easier to detect conflicts and solve them. More so job enlargement helps to solve conflicts that result from job description and lack of motivation as a result of thinking some employees are more favored than others that is why they have more job tasks.
Motivational theories as seen above can be applied in conflict resolution in workplaces whereby by motivating employees to work towards a common goal conflicts are ironed out though this does not mean that no room for conflicts is left.
The role of organizational leadership in conflicts at work.
The organizational leadership has a great role to play in contributing to conflicts or solving conflicts in an organization like Microsoft corporation for instance. Microsoft has chosen to have a leadership in place the all the stakeholders to the company in mind. For instance there was a time their internet software sip address networking had a problem that was evolving conflicts from the customers the leaders stood in the gap and assured their customers they were going to solve the problem of which they dead in deed.
Susan M. Heathfield (2011) has it that organizational leaders by all means are responsible for creating a work environment enables people to carry on smoothly. This shows that organizational leaders have a role to play in conflict resolution in an organization and also to ensure that there is harmony in an organization. As leaders who value their organizations, failure to intervene in times of conflicts is not an option. This is so because in conflict ridden situations the mediation of leaders is critical skill that is required. However leaders ought to be tactful as they intervene in conflicts so as to avoid causing more harm than good.
Converging people together to iron out their differences is the role of leaders. Leaders are not expected to meet the people involved in conflicts one by one or separately. Susan Heathfield (2011) says that meeting the groups separately only gives either party to justify themselves rather than telling the truth. This is so since no party wants to appear guilty just like any other human being. In order to meet the interests of both parties and manage…