Job of the CEO Thesis

Pages: 10 (3267 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Careers

CEOs need to be thoroughly familiar with the dynamics behind the self-interest slump that any group can fall into, in order to understand the need for more leadership (helping) within that group.

Group-Level Organizational Citizenship Behavior

A scholarly article in the Journal of Organizational Behavior references a study on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) that was based on the data from 62 work groups that represented a "variety of industries" (Choi, et al., 2010). The findings from this research showed that relationship conflict and conflict during the performances of tasks were related to negative group level behavior and performance (GOCB); however, "task conflict increased GOCB" but relationship conflict decreased it (Choi, 1032). .

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The bottom line in terms of understanding this research boils down to the fact that there is a difference between people-to-people conflict ("relationship-based" conflict) and task-related conflict. The authors use "faultlines" to describe differences that are potential conflicts. In the research, the authors report that subgroups in a workplace that have "strong faultlines" -- based on "…age, gender, and race" -- are likely to "stimulate social cognitive processes" such as stereotyping, that can produce "hostility" and "anxiety," that can produce relationship conflict (Choi, 1036). On the other hand, subgroups that have "strong faultlines involving task-related characteristics" -- like the amount of time a person has worked there (tenure), basic experience or expertise -- have the opportunity to promote "information seeking" and "sharing" and even "learning" among other members of the subgroup (Choi, 1036).

Dissertation or Thesis complete on Job of the CEO of Assignment

To put it succinctly, faultlines that are set in motion by "different demographic attributes" can be expected to create or increase different kinds of conflict. The tools that a CEO needs in order to deal with these variations in conflict styles are related to an understanding of the concepts that Choi and colleague have presented. In other words, understand and be fully aware of the demographics of the subgroups that are working in the organization.

Furthering Organizational Priorities with Less Than Truthful Behavior

An article in the Journal of Business Ethics (Keep, 2009) the author points to the fact that notwithstanding codes of ethics that businesses attempt to practice, employees still view "less than truthful behaviors to be a significant problem" in organizations. In other words, companies can create codes of ethics and wholeheartedly intend to live by them, but studies show that unethical behavior is present in many organizations notwithstanding codes of ethics. First of all, it is clear that employees are aware of their company's ethical guidelines. For example, one study showed that 77% of respondents in an American organization reported "that their organization had a well-communicated code of ethics" (Keep, 81).

But another study in the U.S. found that 76% of the participants in a survey "…knew of a colleague or manager who had violated the law or a company standard within the past 12 months" (Keep, 82). Hence, no matter that a code of ethics is publicized within an organization, employees apparently witness unethical behaviors routinely, if the research by Keep is to be believed. So, why to people lie in the workplace -- and what is their motivation? Keep asserts that employees (including managers) lie because "it often goes undetected"; and they lie because they are trying to reach "ambitious goals" and they are under great pressure to "perform" (Keep, 83). In this research Keep sent out 266 surveys to working adults in the northeastern United States (64 came back completed). The data showed that the "…overwhelming percentage of stories reported…[that] lies were told to subordinates (14 of 20)" and lies were told to "superiors" (4 of 20); lies were also told to "peers" (3 of 20) (Keep, 84). This evidence shows the author that employees are aware of unethical behaviors in the organization.

Some of the stories told by employees involved did not contain direct lies, but a lack of openness and truthfulness. For example, in order to avoid conflict or a confrontation one company did not tell employees that the company was involved in outsourcing (presumably to reduce costs). This was unethical because it was less than truthful, Keep explains, and although the outsourcing was intended to improve the bottom line (and further priorities), when employees found out they lost confidence in the company and they began to see the code of ethics was worthless. The message for managers: honesty is always a very powerful and positive tool.

Trust and Collaboration in the Aftermath of Conflict

A peer-reviewed article in the Academy of Management Journal offers tools in terms of possible issues regarding contract conflicts in interfirm relationships. In the first place, contracts can be approached from the point-of-view of strict "control" -- and they can also be approached from a position of "trust" (Malhotra, et al., 2011, p. 981). This is not news to executives familiar with organizational dynamics, but the authors of this piece have taken the time to reference 150,000 pages of specific details relating to 102 business disputes, and their findings are worthy tools for today's managers. The authors posit, based on their empirical findings that "control provisions increase competence-based trust," but control provisions reduce "good-will-based trust" and can lead to less collaboration (981). On the other hand, by using "coordination provisions" the CEO (or other managers) "…increase competence-based trust," which can lead to the "increased likelihood of continued collaboration" (Malhotra, 981).

By carefully scrutinizing the 150,000 pages of those 102 business disputes the authors discovered that the higher the number of "control provisions" in contracts, the "lower the likelihood of continuing the relationship" (Malhotra, 990). Also, the presence of good-will-based trust and competence-based trust "…positively impact the intent to continue…" in the collaborative relationship (Malhotra, 990). In other words, when CEOs enter into contracts with a vendor or other interfirm players, too many control provisions built into contracts do not tend to support continued collaboration and cooperation.

How the Chinese Deal with Inter-Organizational Conflict

A competent CEO learns the value of listening to advice from his executive peers and from the workforce in his organization -- which is an indication of moral behavior. Hence, he or she will be alert to the offer of possible solutions to tension, misunderstandings and conflict in his company -- no matter what the source of the input. The Chinese have their own way of handling workplace conflict, and it is worthy of review by executives in other nations. To wit, a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Business Ethics reflects that indeed the network of stakeholders can be complex and require "inter-organizational collaboration" (Mo, et al., 2012, p. 121). And within that context, there can be conflict; personalities and ideas can clash, given human nature. The question is, what tools should management apply to calm the conflict before it becomes a festering corporate sore?

Mo and colleagues suggest in the first place, when Chinese management is known for "moral characteristics such as honest and trustworthiness," that leadership can help to promote, in a positive way, "ethical behavior" (121). The issue here as the authors describe it is that since the existing literature regarding "ethical leadership" is based "exclusively" on the Western culture, it doesn't always translate into other cultural contexts. For example, in the Chinese Confucian culture, the networks within an organization depend on "…reciprocity, integrity, and the highest individual ethical standards" (Mo, 122). Formal structures are bypassed in Chinese corporate responses to conflict, Mo continues, hence good information can be more efficiently shared in places where it will make the greatest impact. Part of the reason that information can bypass the bureaucratic system embraced in the West is that in the Confucian cultural milieu the CEO (and other executives) win others over "by virtue" -- not by brow-beating or punishment (Mo, 122). In summary, the Chinese belief in terms of dealing with conflict (within stakeholders) is that employees "…adjust their behavior and decision-making in accordance with the common ethical values and images set by leaders" (Mo, 127). It sounds almost too simple, given the dynamics at work in large companies, but Mo asserts that "…sound cooperating relationships" can only be maintained and nurtured with "mutual understanding and support" perceived and practiced by both sides of any interaction (Mo, 127).

In conclusion, notwithstanding all the potential solutions to workplace conflict, the one constant that any alert CEO should understand is that both management and employees need to keep an "open-minded attitude" and be "willing to ignore power issues" (Phillips, et al., 1979). Indeed these are not new ideas (note this scholarly article was published thirty-three years ago), but they are time-tested approaches to problem solving in any environment. Phillips writes that a director of the engineering department in a company faced a conflict over the "type of tracking system to be installed"; the finance director wanted a system that cost less and a third director had specifics in mind that were not part of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Job of the CEO.  (2012, December 3).  Retrieved April 7, 2020, from

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"Job of the CEO."  3 December 2012.  Web.  7 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Job of the CEO."  December 3, 2012.  Accessed April 7, 2020.