Week 4: Assignment Nº2
Please, read the article Overcoming Group Warfare, by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. Then, search for a business case scenario where conflict is present in the execution of a project.
How would you solve or defuse potential conflicts that may compromise the results in a project??s output? Use the concepts from the reading to address this question. Hand in a report of your proposal for conflict solution.
by Robert R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton
Harvard Business Review
This document is authorized for use only by Miguel Alfonzo Gervis in BUS 455: Management, Leadership and Team Building in the Project Environment (Fall “A” 2023) at Atlantis University,
How should you go about reconciling the differences
between groups that need to cooperate
but that already have swords drawn?
Overcoming Group Warfare
by Robert R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton
Robert R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton are directors of
Scientific Research, Inc., a consulting firm located in
Austin, Texas. They are well-known for their work in
organization development, especially for developing the
??managerial grid,? which they wrote about with Louis
B. Barnes and Larry E. Greiner in HBR exactly 20 years
ago in the November-December 1964 issue (see ??Break-
through in Organization?). This is their first HBR article
since then. It is adapted from their book, Solving Costly
Organizational Conflicts: Achieving Intergroup Trust,
Cooperation, and Teamwork (Jossey-Bass, 1984).
While many people worried about the absence of
experienced air traffic controllers after the Profes-
sional Air Traffic Controllers Organization went on
strike in 1981, they also wondered why it was so
difficult for the FAA and PATCO to come to terms
before the strike was called. Important groups that
need to cooperate can often overcome their difficul-
ties and continue working together, but sometimes
they can??t. Over the years disputants in the trans-
portation and coal industries have had skirmishes
that have resulted in open warfare. Even when the
battles are not waged so publicly or fiercely, the
human and material costs organizations pay can be
We have identified two strategies for resolving
intergroup conflicts, each with variations. What we
have come to call the interpersonal facilitator ap-
proach relies on a neutral person to provide a bridge
to help disputing parties find common ground. The
facilitator does this by identifying areas of agree-
ment as well as disagreement so that the latter can
be reduced and resolution achieved.
In what we call the interface conflict-solving ap-
proach, disputants deal with each other directly as
members of whole groups. A neutral person helps
the groups go through a program of steps that aids
principal members of both groups to identify and
resolve their differences.
Line managers and internal consultants who are
respected and neutral may serve as facilitators or
administrators of the step program. The person se-
lected should be of a rank comparable to or higher
than that of the highest-ranking member in either
of the groups in conflict. A neutral of lesser rank is
likely to be brushed aside by a higher-ranking mem-
ber in a group bent on attack
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