My Philosophy of Leadership

The objectives for this week

1. Differentiate between the traditional and interactionists views of conflict.

2. Describe the three types of conflict and the two loci of conflict.

3. Assess the roles and functions of third-party negotiations.

4. Identify the characteristics of a virtual organization

5. Identify the six elements of an organization’s structure.

Required Reading. Organizational Behavior, 17th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from.

Objective: Final Project: For your final project, you are to write a paper entitled: “My Philosophy of Leadership.”  

Assignment Description: This paper is to be critically reflective, yet scholarly in nature and exhibit and high level of competence and understanding of leadership style, approach, method, and overall theory. Because this paper is based on your own philosophy of leadership, there is considerable leeway for your discussion. However, your discussion should stay within the constraints of the overall concepts, ideas, and topics covered in the objectives

Introduction

There is no doubt that leadership is imperative in the modern civilized society. Leadership alludes to the ability of an individual to act personally or in a group to guide others in the right way, engage in problem-solving, and encourage cooperation in achieving success. Various researchers and academicians allude that leadership in the organizational context is highly reliant on the abilities and qualities of an individual as well as the following they have on their current position (Bartz, 2006; Lunenburg, 2011). Nevertheless, skills and knowledge of the tasks at hand are essential in leading people to the right direction. Also, there are inherent qualities that enable one to be a good leader, which include honesty, courage, confidence, determination, and integrity among others. Notably, leaders are different managers as they have more responsibilities and concerns for their followers. The followers depend on the leader in sensemaking and consultation on critical decisions. Leadership is either bestowed upon an individual are it comes naturally without being appointed when faced with a particular issue. In the modern day, organizations face different problems at the institutional, group, and individual level. Subsequently, leadership has become a critical part of the organizational life, which has also increased scrutiny of people in positions of leadership and increased expectations from these people (Swailes, 2013). Ethical practices coupled with increased involvement of the followers in the decision-making process have become imperative for successful leadership. In this light, it is appropriate for people in a leadership position to establish and communicate their approach to leadership. The intent of this paper is to offer a critical analysis of my philosophy in leadership.

Traditional and Interactionist Views of Conflict

Engaging in leadership provides an opportunity for an individual to improve themselves and enhance the quality of life within the organization, while focusing on the organizational objectives. There is overwhelming evidence that leaders who compromise or support destruction, lack ethical values that are important in competitive markets, globalized organizations, and diverse workforces. Ethical practices allude that leaders should not abuse their positions by using the power bestowed upon them for selfish gains or to manipulate situations for a particular party. In this context, I believe that as a leader am entitled to acknowledge the interests of all followers and I should not engage in activities that betray their trust and loyalty. Rather, I should empower them to be productive and encourage an environment that leads to increased organizational performance. Morgeson, Derue, and Karam (2010) allude that leaders need to be consistent and accept their responsibility without discrimination or expectations of certain privileges from the followers.

Leadership is exercised by organizations, teams, and groups that often consist of individuals who have different personalities, ideologies, backgrounds, perceptions, and differ on various social contexts, including ethnicity and religion. Subsequently, these differences increase the risks of organizational conflicts that can be detrimental to individual productivity as well as organizational performance. Nevertheless, these conflicts do not necessarily mean that violence and fights since they can be constructive if mitigated appropriately. Kaimenyi (2014) alludes that it is difficult to avoid clashes in an organizational setting, but appropriate measures to manage the differences that escalate to conflicts through leadership can be used to improve situations in the organization. In this light, effective leadership facilitates mitigation of conflicts for them to be beneficial for the participants and the organization.

Conflicts are part of today’s organizations. Organizational conflict is experienced everywhere, both at the top-level management and in small informal businesses as well. This article addresses the differences between the three views on organizational conflicts. Prieto-Remón, Cobo-Benita, and Ortiz-Marcos (2015) review that leaders must have capabilities that allow them to identify and mitigate conflicts. Additionally, leaders should analyze and evaluate the positive and negative impacts of the issue at hand and how it affects performance for effective resolutions to be made. These insights have been imperative in how I address conflicts from a personal and organizational level. Additionally, reviews show that various perceptions are used to identify and handle conflicts in organizations. Conflicts can be viewed from a traditional or an interactionist view.

The traditional view has existed since the nineteenth century. In this context, context, the conflicts are perceived as something bad for the organization because they tend to result in failure or have adverse effects on the team or organizational performance. Suggestively, the traditional view alludes that conflicts are tantamount to violence, irrationality, and destruction of property. These views dictate that mitigation measures are to ensure that conflicts are avoided at all costs. The leader is expected to limit and suppress any signs of conflict before they escalate to something detrimental to the organization. Also, the leaders can engage authoritative measures to get rid of conflicts within the group. The interactionist view offers a different perspective compared to the traditional view because it perceives that conflicts cannot be avoided in the organization. Rather, they are an imperative aspect of improving the organizational performance. The conflicts are seen as a means of coping with changes and alludes that without them, the organization might be stagnant and non-responsive to the needs of engaging in the change process. I concur with the interactionist view because I feel that conflicts can be used to drive innovation by encouraging healthy competition. Fundamentally, the existence of conflicts is a characteristic of a high performing team with members who present different ideologies in solving problems. Nevertheless, conflicts should not be instigated or taken lightly, with the aim of the organization benefiting from it. Instead, leaders using the interactionist view should employ effective measures that transform the negative energy into positive energy. For instance, differences in ideologies should be welcomed at a fair ground, and the participants asked to communicate their opinions for consideration by upper management or encouraged to work together to come up with the most efficient solution. Notably, the traditional view would squander this competition to avoid the arguments and disagreements based on different ideas from escalating into detrimental conflicts. Unlike the interactionist view that addresses the source of the conflict, the traditional view lacks this consideration and works to suppress and avoid conflicts. Consequently, employing the traditional view could lead to recurrent conflicts among the people and could result in the loss of great ideas and opinions that could contribute to positive change and improvement for the organization or team.

Types of Conflict and the Loci of Conflict

Effective conflict management requires leaders to identify the source of conflicts. From my personal experience, I have observed that there are different interacting factors that lead to conflicts that attract the attention of organizational leaders. Subsequently, I also find it imperative to understand the different types of conflicts that can occur in the organizational setting. Literature reviews show that there are three key types of conflicts. These include task, relationship, and process conflicts. Additionally, conflicts exist at all levels of the organization, and this leads to the emergence of different loci of conflict. In this context, conflict can be dyadic, intergroup or intragroup. These insights offer a baseline for developing the framework of how conflicts are addressed in the organization.

Task conflict entails the disagreements and differences that arise in the content, or outcomes of a task carried out by a team or group. Additionally, it covers the issues that emerge in the distribution of resources, the procedures proposed or employed, the policies ascribed to the task, the perception, and interpretation of facts. There is no doubt that teams are often composed of people with different qualifications and problem-solving capabilities. Subsequently, leaders have the role of harmonizing these differences and making them constructive for the benefit of the parties involved and the organization. I perceive such an approach to task conflicts as a meaningful way of improving team effectiveness. In this case, I find it necessary to set agreeable goals that guide the task at hand for the team to work in consensus.

Relationship conflicts emerge due to the interpersonal relationships that exist within an organization. Personal objectives, attitudes, moods, and interests are likely to get in the way of how people interact in the organization. The role of an individual in a particular task, friendships, and other social relations have an impact on personal and organizational goals. Fundamentally, how people relate to each other determine how they engage in the workplace and their contribution to the task (Prieto-Remón et al., 2015). Healthy relationships promote team effectiveness, while unhealthy ones jeopardize performance and lead to time wastage (Yang, Tien, & Yuan, 2005). Personally, I try to manage these conflicts by engaging directly in the tasks, communicating, and knowing the team members from a personal level. Additionally, I advocate for activities that build team cohesion through motivational programs. According to Pache and Santos (2010), effective leaders are expected to ensure that personal interests do not overshadow the goals of the team. Subsequently, effective communication channels that encourage healthy relationships with the leadership and the workforce are imperative in creating sustainable relationships.

Process conflicts emerge due to different perceptions and opinions on how a job should be done. The lack of consensus before commencing a particular task is likely to lead to these complications. Nevertheless, leadership can be effective in alleviating the issue. From my personal experience, I find that planning and engaging different shareholders in decision making is a key consideration in suppressing these conflicts. Alternatively, facilitating healthy competition among different persons who present conflicting ideas can lead to the achievement of great effectiveness. In this case, the negative energy can be transformed into positive energy by offering motivational rewards for people who come up with the best approach to handle the work. Additionally, care should be taken to ensure that other participants are not frustrated by the outcome by acknowledging their efforts and appreciating their contribution appropriately.

Conflicts can be intra-group or inter-group. The intra-group conflicts emerge from the disagreements and misunderstandings that occur among the people. As noted earlier, these conflicts can be managed appropriately to benefit the organization by offering an alternative approach to address a particular issue. Nevertheless, misconceptions can lead to negative attitudes and feelings towards the team, as well as leadership compromising productivity. Subsequently, it is important for leaders to communicate appropriately, acknowledge, and encourage teamwork by following the laid-out procedures and goals of the task raising the conflict. Another locus of conflict is the inter-group that arises when there are differences between two or more groups. If not managed appropriately, these groups can limit organizational performance. For instance, a group that was required to complete a task using the existing software had conflicts with the IT group that was expected to install a new software. Solving this conflict required me to harmonize the needs of both groups through negotiations that involved both parties. In this light, consultations were made to ensure that neither of the parties felt infringed. Ultimately, a deal was struck where the IT group offered a time limit for the other group, and agreed to offer assistance in the utilization of the new software in the next phase of the project.

The Roles and Functions of Third-Party Negotiations

The conflicts that emerge in the organizational setting often require third-party participants who facilitate the negotiation process. Leaders often play the role of the third-party when the conflicting individuals decide to discuss their differences following an agreed framework that can lead to satisfactory outcomes. It is important for leaders to know and understand the roles and functions of third-parties in the negotiation process to ensure that they engage effectively and ethically. The third-party has the responsibility of facilitating or mediating the conflicting parties (Yang et al., 2005). Facilitators have a general role that applies to anybody who offers guidance in a group process, while the mediators offer specialized services in resolving the conflict (Carnevale & De Dreu, 2005). For the negotiation process to be effective, the third-party needs to be at the center of the concern by ensuring that the issue is understood and the needs of each party are known (Robbins & Judge, 2017).

It is essential that the third-party plays the role of facilitating the negotiations and does not attempt to offer directions to the involved parties or influence the outcome of the process. In this context, the participants should be responsible and raise their own interests, offer suggestions for resolving the conflict, and establish the solution to facilitate restoration of healthy relationships. The facilitator can take up various roles and functions that vary based on the type and cause of conflicts as well as the parties engaged in the process. In this light, the facilitator can be the opener of communication by being the one who starts the communication process or offers an appropriate channel for the parties to discuss their concerns. In this context, the third-party also offers clarifications on any misunderstanding that jeopardize the communication and avoid polarization and escalation of the situation to detrimental levels than they are already are. The third-party also has the responsibility to legitimize the process by informing the parties the rights of others, and avoiding the discussion to favor one side (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Additionally, the facilitator offers the procedures that are appropriate for communication by chairing discussions. Also, leaders who engage in the third-party role are expected to explore the problem by offering different approaches to understanding the problems. It is in this context that I found out that as a leader, I am supposed to understand the sources of conflict and the various factors that influence conflicts in the organization. Such knowledge is imperative in creating balance in the negotiation process. For instance, determining who asks questions and moderating the challenges offered to other parties should not be a part, but should follow a reasonable approach that is agreeable among the participants. Some issues that emerge in the organization might need professional assistance (Carnevale & De Dreu, 2005). It is the role of the third-party in the negotiation process to help the participants to seek external guidance from experts or acquire resources that will enable them to acquire satisfactory outcomes.

Elements of an Organization’s Structure

The organizational structure is imperative in determining the corporate communication strategies and how work is delegated within the company. It offers the hierarchy of the executive and management that offers a basis for sustainable growth. The formal division of labor is imperative in ensuring coordination and achievement of organizational goals. The six factors that form the foundation of the organizational structure offer the blueprint of how the company functions and determines how the activities and change are managed within the organization.

Work specialization. It alludes to the division of labor within the organization where the workers engage in the different responsibilities to contribute to the organizational goals. Organizations are composed of individuals that present different talents, knowledge, skills, and capabilities that facilitate specialization. In this context, the company can efficiently use labor to improve production and performance. These sentiments make it necessary for leaders and managers to engage in talent identification and management to ensure that the workforce develops the qualities that make them productive in the organization. Specialization facilitates timely production as the workforce have prowess in what they do and can perform well in sophisticated and complex tasks (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Nevertheless, work specialization can also lead to low productivity because workers can face boredom, fatigue, and stress in engaging in the same work all the time. Subsequently, it is important to increase the scope of job activities to increase the diversity of tasks a single worker can participate.

Departmentalization. It alludes to the grouping of jobs after they have been divided in the process of work specialization. Through departmentalization, the common tasks are coordinated together to make it easier for management functions and teamwork activities (Robbins & Judge, 2017). The departments can be established based on functions in the production process, products, geographical positions, processes, or market targets. The grouping based on functional roles can include departments such as engineering, finance, or Human resource. Departments that handle different products are devoted to various activities that facilitate the production of a particular product. Suggestively, the departmentalization is dependent on the size of the organization, including the geographical coverage, diversity in the workforce, and the number of products.

The chain of command. It alludes to the continuous flow of power within the organization. It facilitates the flow of authority, from the top levels of management to the lower levels of the workforce (Robbins & Judge, 2017). It is important in determining who reports to whom and identifies how information flows within the organization. Additionally, the chain of command increases accountability and delegation of responsibilities. The people at the bottom of the chain of command are expected to accept and act according to orders that come from above. Offering a description of each position is important to ensure that the people understand their roles and how they should act on information they receive from below and above the chain of command.

The span of control. It entails the number of workers that can be managed by a single supervisor. In this approach, the organization can facilitate close controls through a narrow approach that facilitates increased monitoring of performance.  A wider span of control reduces the overhead costs as few managers are required to manage a large workforce. Additionally, it speeds up the decision-making process, the flexibility of management functions, and empowers the workforce through delegation of responsibilities (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Nevertheless, the span of control is determined by the process and procedures of the organization to meet its objectives.

Centralization. It entails the extent at which the decision-making process is concentrated among the executives in the organization. For centralized organizations, the top managers are entitled with the mandate to make decisions and have the option of including or not including input from other organizational personnel (Robbins & Judge, 2017). In decentralized organizations, lower-level managers and workers are included in the decision-making process, or they can independently make core decisions that influence the performance of the organization. Notably, organizations realize that the workforce is the most important asset and empowering them to contribute to key decisions is imperative in improving their engagement and loyalty in the organization. Resultantly, most organizations are embracing decentralized approaches to motivate the workforce and increase performance.

Formalization. It alludes to the degree at which the roles of various individuals are standardized. Highly formalized job description reduces the capacity of the workforce to have discretion over what they do and when it should be done (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Although this might be instrumental in ensuring quality and value for money, it compromises the creativity that can contribute to innovative solutions for the organization. The nature of formalization can vary across responsibilities and types of organizations.

The Characteristics of a Virtual Organization

The advancements in technology in the recent past have led to the emergence of new approaches to the organizational culture. Virtual organizations refer to the organizational setting that is highly reliant on information technology through networks that facilitate cooperation and flexibility to meet the demand of the dynamic market in the 21st century. Arguably, virtual organizations present a social network where the horizontal and vertical boundaries are eliminated, increasing the interactions and flow of information throughout the organization.  The virtual organization allows workers to work in physically dispersed stations, while others can work from mobile devices from home without links to a particular workplace (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Subsequently, most of the core organizational functions can be outsourced from remote operators. These organizations are highly centralized and lack key departments evident in other organizations. Subsequently, they have little physical office space as most functions such as manufacturing, procurement, and distribution are outsourced. In this light, the cost of labor is minimized due to the small number of employees. These organizations are dynamic, and technological advancements mainly influence changes. The high reliance on information technology leads to informal communication. Additionally, these organizations are characterized by collaborations across geographical zones due to the use of Internet-based communication channels.

The increased diversity in organizations and the use of technology have influenced how conflicts are resolved, and how organizations are structured across the world. Notably, organizations are getting better by engaging in approaches that limit authoritative management tactics. Virtual organizations offer an opportunity for reducing conflicts by limiting interactions that occur in the workplace. Additionally, the decentralization of organizations increases participation in the workforce, limiting conflicts that occur between the workforce and the management. In this light, my philosophy of leadership is highly influenced by ethical practices, particularly in conflict management and acceptance of technology, which is shaping the new organizational setting. I perceive myself as a transformational leader who engages the workforce in making decisions and at the same time appreciates the changes in the organization by learning and enlightening my followers on important aspects. Communication is also imperative, and this has enabled me to engage with colleagues and subordinates in the workplace, enabling me to engage appropriately in conflict management and sustaining the organizational structure to meet the set goals and objectives.

References

Bartz, J. P. (2006). Leadership from the Inside Out. Anglican Theological Review, 91(1), 81–93.

Carnevale, P. J. D., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2005). Laboratory experiments on negotiation and social conflict. International Negotiation, 10(1), 51–66.

Kaimenyi, C. K. (2014). The Influence of Conflict Management Styles on Leadership Approaches within Small-scale Businesses in Kenya. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 16(9), 55–59.

Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Leadership versus Management: A Key Distinction—At Least in Theory. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 14(1), 1–3.

Mohammad, K. (2009). E-Leadership: The Emerging New Leadership for the Virtual Organization. Journal of Managerial Sciences, 3(1), 1-21

Morgeson, F. P., Derue, D. S., & Karam, E. P. (2010). Leadership in teams: A functional approach to understanding leadership structures and processes. Journal of management36(1), 5-39.

Pache, A. C., & Santos, F. (2010). When worlds collide: The internal dynamics of organizational responses to conflicting institutional demands. Academy of Management Review, 35(3),455-476

Prieto-remón, T. C., Cobo-benita, J. R., & Ortiz-marcos, I. (2015). Conflict Resolution to Project Performance. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 194(October 2014), 155–164.

Robbins, S., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational Behavior, 17th Edition. Pearson Education

Swailes, S. (2013). The ethics of talent management. Business Ethics, 22(1), 32–46.

Yang, C., Tien, M., & Yuan, C. (2005). Negotiation Process Improvement Between Two Parties: A Dynamic Conflict Analysis. The Journal of American Academy of Business, 7(1), 72–81.

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