Conflict, Its Nature And Sources Case Study

Length: 7 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Careers Type: Case Study Paper: #22853643 Related Topics: Dentistry, Conflict Resolution, Conflict, Erik Erikson
Excerpt from Case Study :

Conflict Resolution

(c) Based on what you learned in T205A concept file 02, and T551 Linear Programming:

what is meant by conflict, its nature and sources?

Conflict in psychological development theory offered by Erik Erikson is a dichotomy. It can act both as a means of moving ahead towards growth and development or on the other hand lead to a dead stop. A situation that one finds oneself in causes internal emotions that are in direct opposition to each other (Cherry). A conflict can hence result in decisions that are least anticipated, even by the individual afflicted by it. Individuals working in organizations, specially, face conflicting situations regularly even though they may not realize it. The participants in the ADEA Leadership Workshop sought out the sources of conflicts. In organizational behavior, it was evident that the younger generation was not disposed to aligning with the values professed by the senior colleagues, often taking up senior administrative positions higher up in the hierarchy (Hoelscher and Comer, 2002). The loyalty for the organization is thus found wanting. The second issue raising conflict is the respect for tradition. While the older generation prefers to adhere to experience and conventionally held values and knowledge banks, the younger generation seeks new knowledge and resents tradition clinging attitude of the seniors. This conflict is most evident in the classroom where the student seeks new knowledge against the rigidity of traditionally held postures by the faculty. This cause leads to the next, ease of adaptation to new technology- the later generation can adapt to new devices, technological advances and ideas more readily than their peers (Hoelscher and Comer, 2002). The ideological stance taken by the seniors forms the fourth point of conflict as it is not wholly understood and hence not accepted by the youngsters. The younger members may be apprehensive of losing their direction and hence bearings in owing allegiance to ideological values espoused by seniors in the organizational and institutional constructs. It may not matter to them (youngsters) that the positioning is morally valid and ethically correct. The conflict of personalities is the most difficult to solve in an organization or institution. For example, the management may find it difficult to award incentives and gestures to employees of faculty members. Each person thinks differently and an award may seem to be inadequate to some awardees while the management may be aiming for equality in treatment within the limitations of organizational justice.

2- In the case at hand this is what has been presented:

Dr. Sandy Forester finds herself in a conflict situation. She is presently a faculty and directs the AEGD program in the Midwestern Dental School. It may be mentioned here that she took her degree in dental science and AEGD certificate from this very institution. At the time of appointment, she confided in the chair (a certain Dr. Steve Williams) of Department of Restorative Dentistry of her inclination to clinical dentistry, career wise and that she felt fit to start a family shortly. She was offered two career track options available at that time in the institution-clinical or tenure track (Hoelscher and Comer, 2002). Dr. Forrester opted for the former, reasoning that, it would then be easier to balance the two lives she was to embark upon- career and social (starting a family). According to Dean Carol Markin, there were many (those leaving it) who thought that the tenure track plan was not well thought out. This puts Dr. Forrester in a quandary, as one would generally seek a path that had direction and would lead to known, often desired outcomes. Eventually such a situation does arrive in Dr. Forrester's career where she seems to be in a seriously conflicting situation. The department head has changed in the meantime (now it is Dr. Marino). So have some rules of the Institution that trace out the path for career promotions, according to which Dr. Forrester qualifies for the posting of Clinical Associate Professor. The efforts taken in her research work do not account for much in the new scheme of things, as her primary area of operation and duties was the clinical track (Hoelscher and Comer, 2002).

Dr. Forester, as a consequence, now has to change departments and to carry forward her research points the needs to put in the extra effort in addition to the new responsibilities that she now has to take up. Dr. Forrester realizes that she may either have to work overtime each day or work on the weekends to keep her career aspirations afloat. Which in turn, meant compromising on the


Forester is unable to cope with the way the events unfolded, and also the way they were communicated to her. She could not understand how it was possible to pursue her career ambitions and passions while taking care of her two children responsibly. The very situation she had strived to avoid has presented itself before her. She has now been relegated to the clinical track in spite of doing more than what was expected of her in her assigned duties. In spite of having a passion for her job, the thought of leaving it (and, by implication, the Institution) crosses her mind, something she has never envisaged doing (or something she could never fathom).

3- Causal thinking for solving problems proceeds in three steps:

The first step of this approach is to observe and identify the problem in the situation that needs to be resolved. Then one identifies the cause of the problem that the situation carries. This step involves looking at all factors or effects that might have led to the undesired outcomes. It is only after due consideration that the real cause is identified as removal of the cause would normalize the situation, bereft of problems according to this method of conflict resolution. (Collani, 2010). Causal thinking is thus based on the cause-effect relationship. Binder calls this methodology as the "thinking in points" approach.

In the approach of applying Logical Thinking to resolve conflict situations, the basic focus is on working around ascertainable facts. Such an approach has gained in importance over the last few centuries and has been a vital implement to the technological advances we see today (Tschiesche, 2012). The limitation (of Logical Thinking) lies in its emphasis on restricting ourselves to the conscious part of the brain. It now becomes important to digress and learn what process reductionists entail. Reduction is the thinking process where one theory is thought of to emanate, in some way from some other basic theory. That needs a bit of explanation. As an example, consider the case where mathematicians relate any other theory or percept in mathematics to the set theory, or at least present them in the syntax followed in set theory. A student of biology, applying reductionism may link the study of cells to molecular percepts or put simply to molecules and atoms (the basic building blocks of all matter). The latest addition to this thought process of reductionism is relating all psychological and metaphysical phenomenon to laws and principles of physics. This implies that all sciences can be explained through our understanding of physics (Ney). Since the onset of the twentieth century, the concept of unification of all sciences gained strength. Researchers, thinkers, and students alike started relating to all previously known theologies through the view of reductionism. We should however understand that there are different approaches through which any theory is correlated with some other known (often physics) theory.

In the case of Dr. Forrester, we can ascertain the facts that led to the situation she finds herself in through consultation with her and her peers or the administration. Hence, logical Thinking approach is applicable in this case. We have to involve Casual Thinking approach for resolution, too, as this is also a case of cause- effect relationship. The cause(s) leading to the present circumstances have to be ascertained. It is evident that Dr. Forrester feels being victimized by the situation. The other factor is that, now the peers and Dr. Forrester have opposing evaluation of her performance.

4- The different types of contracts which govern the relationship between employers and their employees

The Psychological Contract is an understanding of sorts (mental, emotional, sentimental or psychological) between two individuals, or for that matter, between an administrator and the employee(s). It encompasses important relationship dimensions of faith and trust (Shruthi and Hemanth, 2012). It is hence an unwritten binding force in the organizational construct. The inputs and results expectations from each other in the contract are defined (even if intangibly). Such faith and trust exists between Dr. Forrester and her former peer, Dr. Williams. In addition to the formal obligations laid out in the employment clauses, Dr., Forrester feels obligated to perform outside her official duties (in pursuit of advancing her career objectives) and does so, encouraged by the sanction availed from an understanding Head of department (Dr. Williams).

The "at-will" employee and…

Sources Used in Documents:


1) Cherry. What Is Conflict. Available: Last accessed 25 Mar 2015.

2) Hoelscher & Comer. (2002). Case II: Conflict Recognition -- The Case of the Misdirected Faculty. Journal of Dental Education. 6 (4), 526-532

3) Collani. (2010). "Response to 'Desired and Feared -- What Do We Do Now and Over the Next 50 Years' by Xiao-Li Meng." The American Statistician. 64 (1), 23-25.

4) Tschiesche. (2012). Logical Thinking: How to use your brain to your advantage . Available: Last accessed 25 Mar 2015.
5) Ney. Reductionism. Available: Last accessed 25 Mar 2015.
7) What Is an At-Will Employee?. Available: Last accessed 26 Mar 2015.

Cite this Document:

"Conflict Its Nature And Sources" (2015, March 31) Retrieved January 28, 2022, from

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"Conflict Its Nature And Sources", 31 March 2015, Accessed.28 January. 2022,

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