Organizational Conflict in Noah's Ark Preschool

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Conflicts in an organization impact the employees and the organization itself in a variety of ways. It is a constant hindrance in organizational life due to conflicting goals between managers and workers. In definition, conflict is “the interaction of interdependent people who perceive incompatible goals and interference from one another in achieving those goals” (George 287). While most individuals perceive conflict as being a negative aspect in a working relationship, others believe it “allows the opportunity to release built-up tension, stimulate critical thinking, and strengthen relationships” (George 287). I extensively observed the conflicts at Noah’s Ark Preschool and found these conflicts to have both positive and negative effects on the organization and its employees. During my evaluation I focused on how conflicts emerged, how they were managed, and in what ways the organization could improve its conflict management skills.

The first step in resolving organizational conflict is to consider the typical sources of conflict (Donais). The sources of conflict are infinite, but some are recurrent and persistent. Poor communication skills can stimulate conflict and lead to misunderstandings between employees or between employee and manager. While conducting my interview, I learned the director of Noah’s Ark, Regina, is frequently vague and inconsistent with instructions. One employee described a situation in which Regina allowed the employees to wear shorts one afternoon—which is against dress code— but disciplined them for wearing shorts the next day. In this situation, lack of communication and information from employer to employee caused a misinterpretation of rules the organization routinely abides by.

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