Question 1, A
The A-E-I-O-U Model discussed in Engleberg and Wynn could have been applied vary efficiently in the case of Galvatrens. First, the board did acknowledge that Harry Mart performed his duty well: throughout the story we see him away because of company-related issues. Moreover, it was specifically stated: “it is not like he is lying around drinking cocktails on the beach”. The board may have expressed a specific concern about the fact that he did not do all his responsibility on time. They may have identified the problem and propose that he didn’t repeat the same incorrect actions again. Then, the board may have presented favorable outcomes of problem solution and benefits to Harry. The last step would have been to see if the COO understood what the board wanted from him and if he was positive about the actions that he had been asked to perform and improve.
The role of Harry in the occurred conflict was expressed rather clearly in the following statement: “He is the guy responsible for making the trains run on time”. This means that he should deal not with all the problems that a company faces, but the most urgent once are of the highest priority. At one point, he was away because he was attending the critical stage if important negotiations. However, dealing with a lawsuit that could possible damage company’s reputation and affect its structure was more important that coping with “continuing problems at factories” next time.
What can be done to prevent these conflicts from emerging is explaining the COO priorities of the company and asking him to deal with the highest ones in the first place. He may have a great talent of problem solving, but if he directs it on less urgent issues, he does not serve the company well.
Question 1, B
The technique that was used by Chip when dealing with Harry Mart’s absence at important meetings and constant excuses is called Avoiding of or Withdrawing from a conflict. As can be inferred from the text it is clearly not the best method to cope with the situation that Galvatrens faced in that particular case. There are other techniques that could have been used by Chip in order to cope with the conflict.
The most efficient one would have been Confronting or Problem Solving. First of all, it would have required an open dialogue with Harry which would have resulted in his more clear view on what the company needed from him at that moment. Secondly, Chip and Harry could have examined different alternative ways to get him involved in solving the current problem.
Another technique that would have been rather helpful in the described situation is Collaborating. It is clear that Harry was performing his duties, but could not be in two places at one time. In other words, he was addressing the problems the company was facing from a slightly different point of view. If he had exchanged his ideas with the board of directors, he might have been involved in this problem solution and thus served even better. If his commitment is to help the company, that would have been the way to do it the best way possible.
The technique of Compromise would also have give favorable results. If Harry prefers to address issues outside the office by performing business trips, he might have done that but also would have helped with problem solving within the company through telephone communication. This way his personal interests and the ones of the board would have been bridged.
If I were to manage the inter-generational project I would anticipate the following problems concerning group communication to emerge.
First of all, despite the equality of the staff there still would be some sort of traditional inequality age-wise. In other words, people from Genertion-Y would not feel comfortable to expressed their comments and ideas in front of all or about their colleagues who were born in generation of Baby Boomers. Due to age difference of decades, the latter would be considered more knowledgeable and able to criticize the decisions that were made by younger colleagues, despite the fact that they are equal. Secondly, when discussing the modern world, Baby boomers would perceive it from a different point of view which would have a dramatic impact on their decision making process. To put it differently, problems in group communication would arise from the fact that one part of employees has seen observed the world processes for a longer time and therefore may judge them differently.
There are several ways to address these issues and ultimately solve them. Firstly, one may use Smoothing or Accommodating technique. The basic principle of it is “Emphasizing areas of agreement rather than areas of difference”. (PMBOK, 2008, 240) The three generations in question surely have many areas of difference, but if they all want to collaborate on a project, they should focus on point they agree at and not the ones they see differently. Secondly, the A-E-I-O-U model of conflict management could be used. (Engleberg & Wynn, 2013, 128) Employees who were born many decades apart my acknowledge differences they have and express what they want to achieve. Such open dialogue would have a positive impact on group communication.
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