Managing in Organizations: Conflict, Communication, Negotiation"

| October 19, 2015

Interpersonal conflicts in organizations are frequent but the model that individuals apply to approach conflicts, on one hand, and the organization’s leadership style, on the other hand, can make conflict into a productive action. In the following case, Sarah, a professional real estate consultant, was a board member for a shopping-center development group in Florida. Lately, she had conflicts with Sid Yerby, the CFO of the company, and his fellow directors. Sarah wanted all-inclusive financial statements, but Sid came to the board meetings with just two pages of analysis without explanations or details. Sarah thought that she and other members should have access to details of company’s operations or accounting, in order to provide accurate fiscal evaluations. However, her view didn’t have any advocate among other board member and it seemed that even J.P. Offutt, the CEO, and his father, the chairman, are comfortable with Sid’s way of reporting. The question is how Sarah and J.P. Offutt can create a productive situation out of the current conflict.

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To answer the questions, please refer to only the first three pages.

Please respond to the following discussion questions, and as you participate in discussion, offer your own point of view either directly or by responding to someone else’s point.

1. Based on the case, Sarah only has two options: keep silence or leave the board. If you were Sarah, will you leave the board or keep the position at the board and stand aside? Why? Integrate your answer with the theory of advocacy and inquiry.

2. The conflict between Sarah and Sid has been increased to between Sarah and J.P. Do you believe J.P.’s decision is right? If you were J.P., how will you solve the conflict between Sarah and Sid?


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