Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution in Literature review
"The Administrative Power Grab" attempts to manage the conflict between the power that the leader posses and the ability to use that power properly. On the one hand, some leaders utilize the power that they have to act as tyrants which leads to greater conflict within the school because people believe that their opinions are not being heard or implemented into the overall organizational strategy. The article attempts to explain that there can be a happy medium between having power and managing that power in ways that are appropriate and effective. This particular article seems to focus more on conflict management than conflict resolution. This emphasis is most evident in the fact that the author does not really expound upon the ways in which conflict can be solved instead the focus is on avoiding significant conflict by harnessing the power of the leader in a way that is non-threatening. In comparing conflict management to body building the authors explains that conflict management is a process that must be taken seriously and addressed properly if it is to be successful.
"Organizational Culture & Leadership" places a great deal of concern on the ways in which the culture of an organization shapes the manner in which people in the organization interact with one another. The research indicates that conflict resolution is intricately linked to organizational culture. The article further asserts that once the culture of an organization is fully understood resolving conflict becomes easier. This particular article also explains that in some cases people outside of the organization have to be called upon to assist in the resolving of conflict. The presence of these outsiders is needed because they can provide a new perspective in a manner that is objective. This need for an outside observer is not in any way an indictment against the leader, on the contrary, a leader that is able to invite such an individual to observe conflict demonstrates their commitment to the growth and development of the organization. Although the observer is needed to assist in the resolving of conflict, the outsider must take a keen interest in understanding the culture of the organization so that they can truly be of service. If the outsider fails to understand the organizational culture they might recommend strategies that are inconsistent with the manner in which members of the organization interact with one another based on organizational culture. Taking into consideration the organizational culture allows conflict resolution strategies to be specifically designed to address the needs of an organization based on the culture of the organization.
Lastly, "Where Does Conflict Management Fit in the System's Leadership Puzzle?" focuses on the concept of Conflict management within the context of the school environment. More specifically the research emphasizes the ways in which superintendants can use conflict to facilitate growth. Through the application of this principle conflict is viewed as an opportunity to improve the school environment so that students can learn in a way that is conducive to retaining information and being academically successful. In this article conflict management is not viewed as an aspect of management that simply has to be dealt with but as an avenue for enrichment and the implementation of lasting change.
This article also emphasizes the idea that leaders must fully understand the nature of various types of conflicts if these conflicts are to be properly managed and resolved. For instance, conflicts that are value based are different from conflicts that have a relational base. As such these conflicts cannot be managed in the same manner and they cannot be resolved in the same manner. Once a superintendent or other type of school leader understands these differences he/she can react in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the overall goals of the schools that they serve.
Transactional and transformational school leaders
Transactional leaders "assume that work is done only because it is rewarded, and for no other reason, and it therefore focuses on designing tasks and reward structures ("Leadership Styles")." On the other hand, as we have already discussed, transformational leaders tend to be more holistic in their approach to leadership. Transformational leaders are "true leaders who inspire their teams constantly with a shared vision of the future. While this leader's enthusiasm is often passed onto the team, he or she can need to be supported by "detail people"("Leadership Styles")." Transformational leaders want people to be intrinsically motivated as opposed to using external rewards to motivate members of the organization.
In the context of a school setting the transactional leader is likely to manage conflict in a way consistent with "The Administrative Power Grab" article. This is the case because the transactional leader will recognize is powerful position and might seek to use this power to supply members of the school organization with rewards for doing what they are told to do. Some transactional leaders will see the benefit of properly utilizing the power that they possess but others may not believe that the manner in which their power is used is detrimental to the school and the stated goals of the organization.
On the other hand, the transformational leader will view the harnessing of power as a way to intrinsically motivate employees. The transformational leader will recognize the benefits of using power in ways that benefit the organization because the intent of the transformational leader to change the organization in manner that is lasting.
As it pertains to the article on organizational culture, the transactional leader may not be patient enough to see the benefits if understanding the culture before creating a solution to the conflict. In addition this type of leader may not understand the intrinsic motivation that people with the organization have to be committed to the culture of the organization. In this instance the offering of rewards will not be the way that conflict is solved.
The transformational leader will likely seek to understand the inner workings of the culture so that the best solutions can be found to resolving conflict. The transformational leader has a more holistic approach and desires to set a good example for employees. Understanding the culture of a school will allow the transformational leader to implement strategies that will be successful and unique to the culture of the school.
As it pertains to "Where Does Conflict Management Fit in the System's Leadership Puzzle?" The transactional leader can implement reward systems in the process of managing conflict in the school setting. These rewards systems will likely be successful among educators and other administrators. The transactional school leader will view these rewards as a way of managing conflict.
A transformational leader will seek to motivate school employees and administrators through conflict management. The transformational leader will likely embrace the conflict and use it as a tool to demonstrate to school employees how the tension caused by conflict can actually be helpful in providing a conduit for growth and development. The transformational leader will have the capacity to see the entire picture and act in ways that are consistent with forging an environment that is conducive to learning.
The current research provides a great deal of insight as it pertains to the roles of conflict management and conflict resolution. In the future research should focus on how the proper conflict management and conflict resolution positively impacts certain schools. The findings from such research could serve as a foundation or benchmark for the implementation of conflict management and conflict solution policies. In other words, schools need to know that other schools have been able to implement these types of programs and experience success. These examples will give school the courage and motivation needed to start their own programs.
In addition, future research should focus on how leadership styles impact the functionality of conflict management and resolution tools. This research is necessary because not all leaders are going to conduct themselves in the same manner. Because this is the case, leaders should have access to research that reveals different leaders handle conflict management and conflict resolution. This research will assist leaders in formulating the appropriate strategies so that the organizations that they serve will be prosperous and achieve established goals.
The purpose of this discussion was to explore different areas of Conflict Management and Resolution in schools. The research found that there are many areas of Conflict Management and Conflict resolution that are relevant as it pertains to the school environment. In addition the research reflects that leaders must understand the need for conflict management and resolution and seek to properly implement strategies that will remedy these issues. Schools are in dire need of conflict management and resolution strategies that will allow them to properly and efficiently educate students.
Cook V.S., Johnston L.M. (2008) Where Does Conflict Management Fit in the System's Leadership Puzzle? AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice. 4(4). 12-15
"Leadership Styles." Retrieved May 27, 2010 from; http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm
Edgar H. Schein (1997) Organizational Culture & Leadership. Retrieved May…