Research Paper: Industrial Organization Psychology Scenario the Proper Response to Workplace Conflict

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Industrial Organization Psychology Scenario: The Proper Response to Workplace Conflict

The case study of the call center brings to light a number of industrial/organizational issues in the interaction between the coworkers. There are numerous underlying issues that undermine the progress and the cohesion of the work group. Although not mentioned, there seems to be a lack of raw IQ as well as a minimum level of common sense that is required just to have a job within the walls of a post-modern organization. Given the confluence of events described within the scenario, what theoretical and practical approaches best address the symbiotic nature of the issues at hand?

Alternatively, the issues present within the organization give rise to a quandary that is often faced within many of the post-modern organizations of modern times. The six most pressing issues are the following; reducing barriers to verbal and nonverbal communication, promoting cultural diversity, promoting personal wellness, resolving workplace conflict, motivating a team, and solving problems.

The scenario is rather intriguing as the setting is within an informal environment within the ostensibly formal auspice of the organization. The organizational function is in customer service given the call center environment. The work is generally mechanistic and therefore somewhat 'Taylored' referring to the Taylorism organizational development practice which is driven by production, quota targets, and drudgery. However, the goal here is to eliminate the drudgery. Given the contents of the case study, the underlying sentiment of all members involved is indeed drudgery.

Two employees, Susan and Molly, are seated during an informal period of the day, the lunchroom rest break. Although an informal setting, the professionalism within the corporate culture such that respect to other employees and to the efficiency of the operations within the organization remain at hand. Often, employees engage in behavior or activity that gives rise to inefficiency. The industrial/organizational issue with the informal break area is indeed the chain of informal communication that can develop which often arises like a vine and chokes the formal communication network which is the lifeblood of communication standards for the organization.

Further problems arise in the scenario as there are coworkers that over hear the aforementioned coworkers speak negatively about the cultural garb and speech pattern of a fellow coworker that is not present. The level of cognizance in understanding with regard to the suitable topics of a call center work environment does not seem to be present. The conversation heard by the coworker was upsetting which provoked a negative attitude when abruptly exiting the luncheon area.

A fellow coworker did unwittingly interact physically with the upset coworker and was given the impression that this specific coworker was overworked. Such is an erroneous assessment of the underlying situation which gives rise to an assessment of the coworker's psyche as afflicted with a sentiment that is in fact not true. Additional lack of responsibility between coworker job description and teamwork initiative create dissention between workers that feel controlled by fellow coworkers to engage in work that is not scheduled by a superior.

The arising of such issues to the floor manager who is pressured to provide better productivity numbers is unappealing as the manager is attempting to find measures to improve productivity and engage the coworkers to increase capacity and drive the numbers higher. Therefore the conflicts that are inherently dividing the organization are a major obstacle to unifying the work staff to work uniformly and cohesively in a manner befitting to the organization.

There are inherently 'in groups' and 'out groups'. The in group and out group organizational structure is central to the sociological understanding of the intra-office interactions between organizational members which gives rise to dissention. Dubrin (2004) addresses such potential dissention with the confront-contain-and-connect method when dealing with issues of anger. Given the case study, the in group is formed, the insensitivity of human and employee relations within the organization is identified and the anger from out group employees gives rise to a 'telephone line effect' which is similar to the informal communication network that gives rise to 'organizational stereotypes' regarding the current corporate culture as a function of the employees and the environment.

Positive reinforcement and recognition (Dubrin, 2004) is a managerial applied tactic to enable staff through empowerment. Positive reinforcement and recognition is ostensibly based on a reward or merit-based system. The Positive reinforcement is to encourage superior effort to improve on outcomes related to goals. Positive reinforcement generally works when there is not negative reinforcement applied as well.

The promotion of cultural diversity has been a rather mainstream area for improvement in many of today's organizations. A heterogeneous workforce has emerged due to the need for specific skill sets in the modern workforce as well as political policy that have established a corporate culture whose workforce is reflective of the ethnic demographic to which the firm operates in. Therefore, internal initiatives necessary to drive cultural diversity are function in achieving higher productivity by mastering the dynamic of what is referred to as the "inner game of work" (Dubrin, 2004).

Industrial/Organizational Psychological research into cultural diversity has revealed that cross-cultural communication does indeed promote cultural diversity (D'Almeida, 2007). The notion of reducing barriers established by stereotypes as a facilitator to increased communication across cultures is not without precedent. The public sector with respect to federal government throughout the world has led to the proliferation of cross cultural alliances that provide a net benefit to all parties involved.

Without the public sector leadership to break political barriers down to facilitate growth in business and trade, there would not be active research in the I/O psychology area to benefit the operations of private organizations. The case study scenario identifies the rather crude and insensitive nature of employees whom lack specific training in cultural diversity and communication. When an organization is symbiotic as is a customer service firm, the notion of communication to facilitate organizational unity must be ubiquitous and an area to where the employees never deviate.

Additionally, Dubrin (2004) recommends the use of conflict resolution as a means to mitigate uncivil coworkers. There are numerous methods of applying conflict resolution techniques and inherently the effectiveness of such techniques are a function of the underlying psychological makeup of the individuals involved and the environment to which the resolution tactic is applied, whether part of the informal or formal communication chain.

The issue of promoting personal wellness is a rather new area in organizational development. The good person-organization fit (Dubrin, 2004) describes the relationship between the personal goals and values of a potential hire as they may or may not align with the intrinsic nature of the organizational culture. The good person-organization fit looks to ensure that workers are fit of mind and body to where productivity is expected to be higher among such a group of employees when compared to employees that are struggling to maintain a fit mind and body.

"Yoga has been associated with significant benefits for a wide range of physical and psychological conditions, including cardiovascular markers, depression, anxiety, arthritis, chronic pain, and obesity, among many other pathologies (McCall, 2007). Yoga has helped people to reduce or eliminate their use of medication (McCall, 2007). The studies done in this regard have generally demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of yoga as a therapeutic modality." (Moliver, 2010)

Yoga as a function of personal wellness has indeed been embraced by numerous organizations as a means to facilitate a healthier mind, body, and soul. The long-term empirical evidence regarding the use of yoga to reduce the incidence of disease and lethargy is still inconclusive however there are tests that continue to provide information on the effectiveness of yoga as a means to reduce absenteeism, lethargy, illness, and issues associated with obesity and health care cost increases that are a function of these conditions.

Reducing barriers to verbal and non-verbal communication is a function in the development of an integrated organizational culture (Dubrin, 2004). Organizational culture development links the inner game work which is an enabler to higher productivity (Dubrin, 2004). "Communication crossing national boundaries-international communication is not necessarily different from any other communication activity. What is different is intercultural communication-communication activities among people of different cultures" (Wells and Sprinks, 1994; p. 302)." (Petison, 2010)

Servant leadership (Durbin, 2004) has been addressed as a means to facilitate team motivation. Servant leadership embodies the notion of promoting the intrinsic leadership ability of the employee to enable organizational objectives. Often times, servant leadership is a function of empowering coworkers and facilitating innovation within specific applications within the organization. Such leadership is a function of understanding the underlying organizational mission as conveyed by the current leadership to which the staff is able to fortify the effort and enhance the ideals.

"Pearson r correlation analysis were used to examine the relationship between team effectiveness and other variables associated with servant leadership and job satisfaction. A statistically significant and positive correlation was found for each of the variables associated with servant leadership and job satisfaction when analyzed in reference to team… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Industrial Organization Psychology Scenario the Proper Response to Workplace Conflict.  (2011, August 15).  Retrieved December 9, 2019, from

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"Industrial Organization Psychology Scenario the Proper Response to Workplace Conflict."  15 August 2011.  Web.  9 December 2019. <>.

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"Industrial Organization Psychology Scenario the Proper Response to Workplace Conflict."  August 15, 2011.  Accessed December 9, 2019.