Friday, July 25, 2008

Stroup on Follett on Conflict

Jim Stroup at Managing Leadership looks at the thoughts of Mary Parker Follett on conflict. An excerpt:

The benefit of using an integrative approach, when feasible, in dealing with conflict is obvious. Domination suppresses conflict, and compromise temporarily removes it. Integration, however, uses conflict to provide the traction that enables organizations to move beyond the conflict to a greater understanding of the organization’s nature and needs, and an optimal means of realizing them.

As we have seen, however, Follett knew that there are occasions when such a solution is not practical (because of, for example, the “undue influence of leaders”), or not feasible. But she also knew that it might not even be optimal. It might simply produce an additional way to perceive and deal with the conflict. Nevertheless, even that has value (if only in strengthening interparty relationships and interactions), and ought not to be missed merely because we are predisposed or driven to adversarial solutions.

[Execupundit note: Think of how often you've seen knee-jerk adversarialism in the workplace or the idea that an adversarial process possesses an inherent superiority to other methods. Think also about how often strident adversarialism is regarded as natural.]

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