Workplace Conflict/DB replies

1. Workplace Conflict-Leadership

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a. Steve Jobs died in 2011, though he accomplished a phenomenal amount on a worldwide level between the time he started Apple in his parents’ garage in 1976 and his death (Isaacson, 2012).

This short video clip must have been filmed close to the end of Jobs’s life judging from his gaunt appearance. Jobs was nonetheless energized about his belief in the products Apple was creating – rather than focusing energy on creating committees and hierarchies within the company. In this way, Jobs was undoubtedly an innovator and an entrepreneur intent on running a tight team of sharp, contributing minds rather than acting as a manager of numerous, extraneous employees. (Isaacson, 2012).

Interestingly, though Jobs shunned “committees” in the video, in the next breath, he talked about Apple’s “teams,” led by one key person each who brought the teams’ ideas to the proverbial table. Teams and committees were two different things to Jobs; I’m not sure if this is a question of semantics, though both deal with groups of people. For Jobs, it seems like teams, with one representative, was preferred over managing by consensus, as committees often do.

In this two-minute video, Jobs briefly describes his management style. However, in “Steve Jobs,” Rhoades Scholar and biographer Walter Isaacson wrote that many readers of his book focused on the “rough edges of [Jobs’s] personality” (Isaacson, 2012). Jobs had a well-known reputation for being a difficult person to work with; like he explained in the video, he had a laser-sharp focus on ideas and products, which could conflict with workplace situations.

Jobs hired ultra-creative people who could keep up with and alongside him. Those who were extraordinarily innovative and smart were inspired and pushed by Jobs to develop products that had never been created. Those who couldn’t keep up often didn’t stay at the company for long (Isaacson, 2012).

It’s exciting to be part of an organization that is operating on a high level and producing amazing results, even with a demanding boss. As exciting as it can be, it’s naturally stressful to work amongst this intense level of expectation and competition, though this type of stress can also be motivating. Likewise, it’s stressful, in a more negative way, to work at a company where it’s clear that others are outperforming less able employees. Both scenarios existed when Jobs was alive. (Isaacson, 1012).

As described in “Sliding” (Spangle, n.d.) it’s possible that people can hold several opinions and not be adamantly in favor or opposed to an idea. In this way, Jobs’s workplace style was good and bad, in my estimation. It was good in the sense that he was able to draw exceptional people who dealt with his directed, somewhat driven managerial style to create world-changing technological products. It’s bad in that, along the way, people were mistreated and pushed aside.

I greatly admired Jobs when he was alive, even though I had learned through the years about his difficulties working with Apple’s partners and employees. Was it worth Apple’s success? With all due respect to Jobs, yes and no. Could Apple have had the success it has had if Jobs had fastidiously followed the managerial style he talked about in the video we watched instead of focusing so intensely on creating innovative products? I don’t know. 

Isaacson, W. (2012, April) The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs. Harvard Business Review.

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b. After watching the video about how Steve Jobs ran his organization and managed people, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I really admire his passion and dedication to his work. I think his attention to detail and pursuit of perfection really drove innovation and excellence within the organization. However, I do have some concerns about Jobs’ approach. I can see that his management style was demanding and confrontational. While this may have worked for some people, I worry that it could create a stressful work environment for others.

When it comes to stress in an organization, I think Jobs’ approach can have both positive and negative effects. On one hand, I believe that high expectations and the pursuit of excellence can motivate employees and push them to achieve great results. But on the other hand, I think the constant pressure and demanding nature of Jobs’ leadership style could lead to burnout and increased stress levels. It’s important to recognize that not everyone thrives under such intense conditions, and I worry that it could hinder creativity and collaboration in the long run.

In conclusion, I think Steve Jobs’ organizational approach had its merits in terms of driving innovation, but it also had drawbacks when it comes to promoting stress and potential burnout. I personally believe that a more balanced approach that considers the well-being and individual needs of employees is crucial for long-term success and maintaining a healthy work environment.


2. Workplace Conflict- Organizational Behavior

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In this video clip from Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson stirs up drama in the breakroom by gathering everyone together and asking who broke the coffee machine. The conflict is created as members of the team start calling one another out for being the culprit. As each team member suggests someone else, tensions flare and voices are raised.

The members of the organization are throwing each other under the bus for personal reasons that have nothing to do with the coffee machine being broken. I believe that because of personal things being brought up, the goal of the meeting gets blurred as they fight with one another. While the team is fighting, Ron steps out and confesses he is the one who broke the machine by punching it, he just wanted to see them fight. The problem can’t be solved because Ron was being deceitful when he accused everyone else it took him out of the running.

The theoretical approach I examined last week was role conflict. In this sitcom Ron is the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department but he has another character Leslie, carry out most of his duties. When job assignments are not clear or adhered to it can cause conflict in the organization. In this clip in particular, Ron abuses his power and pins his employees against each other over the coffee pot that he knew he broke. Nobody knows whose job it is to take responsibility or fix the issue and because of that role conflict the problem can’t be solved.

Instead of instantly blaming one another for breaking the coffee machine, the employees should have done some digging to narrow it down by asking Ron probing questions. They took Ron’s word that someone besides him broke the machine (assumingly because he’s the boss). Had they asked when it was broken, what broke on it, who had access to it at the time it got broken, they may have not escalated things by blaming each other, and gotten to the root of the problem.

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b. In my scene that I chose from Yellowstone, it involves two of the ranch workers. One is the manager of the ranch while the other is just one of the employees. The conflict begins with the worker, always complaining about the work that he has to do and how he describes it as “Low-man work.” I believe that the factors that contributed to its escalation were the comments made by each other back-and-forth that insulted the both of them. They also began to get very aggressive towards one another, and the remarks they made caused the manager to snap on the employee and assault the worker, ultimately resulting in the worker pulling out a knife.

I resented this scene with the needs theory (Burton 1979.) The needs theory refers to working or health environment conditions that aren’t being met and will ultimately cause conflict in the work. The working environment conditions were not suitable enough for the employee in Yellowstone, which ultimately caused him to revolt against the manager.

I would say that some of the problems that created organizational stress were overworked people and conflict and intimidation. Due to previous arguments and disagreements between the ranch manager and employee there was already some conflict that happened previously. That combined with feeling overworked may have intimidated both of them and ultimately resulted in this fight.

I would use the recommendation of Monarch of minding the unwritten rules and building a positive, principled reputation and leveraging influence rather than authority. By the employee not making comments about the manager’s wife (unwritten rules) this conflict may have been able to be avoided. This is what ultimately caused the manager to snap and assault the worker. However, by the manager building a positive reputation and leveraging influence rather than authority, the employee may not say comments like this to begin with and be happier with the work he is doing. 

Workplace Conflict/DB replies

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