Understanding Superior Subordinate and Functional Conflicts

In order for the project manager to be effective, an understanding of how to work with the various employees who must interface with the project is necessary. These various employees include upper-level management, subordinate project

21 The majority of this section, including the figures, was adapted from Seminar in Project Management Workbook, © 1977 by Hans J. Thamhain. Reproduced by permission of Dr. Hans J. Thamhain.

SOURCES: CONFLICTS OCCURRED MOSTLY WITH

FUNCTIONAL MANGERS

FUNCTÎONAL PERSONNEL

BETWEEN PROJECT PERSONNEL

SUPERIORS

SUËORDINATE5

0 u-

5CHEPUE.es

J

PRIORITIES

MANPOWER

TECHNICAL

PROCEDURES

PERSONALITY

COSTS

HIGH - RELATIVE CONFLICT INTENSITY -* LOW

Relationship between conflict causes and sources.

Figure 7-5.

Relationship between conflict causes and sources.

team members, and functional personnel. Quite often, especially when conflicts are possible, the project manager must demonstrate an ability for continuous adaptability by creating a different working environment with each group of employees. The need for this was shown in the previous section by the fact that the relative intensity of conflicts can vary in the life cycle of a project.

The type and intensity of conflicts can also vary with the type of employee with whom the project manager must interface, as shown in Figure 7-5. Both conflict causes and sources are rated according to relative conflict intensity. Any conflict that the project manager has with a functional manager can also occur with the functional employee, and vice versa. The data in Figure 7-5 were obtained for a 75 percent confidence level.

In the previous section we discussed the five basic resolution modes for handling conflicts. The specific type of resolution mode that a project manager will use might easily depend on whom the conflict is with, as shown in Figure 7-6. The data in Figure 7-6 do not necessarily show the modes that project managers would prefer, but rather identify the modes that will increase or decrease the potential conflict intensity. For example, although project managers consider, in general, that withdrawal is their least favorite mode, it can be used quite effectively with functional managers. In dealing with superiors, project managers would rather be ready for an immediate compromise than for face-to-face confrontation that could easily result in having the resolution forced in favor of upper-level management.

(Thy figure snows only those associations which are statistically significant at the 95 portent level)

intensity of conflict perceived by project managers

{p.m.)

actual conflict resolution sittle

forcing

confrontation

compromise

smoothing

withdrawn

between p.m. and his personnel

A

A

A

between p.m. and his superior

A

between p.m. and functional support departments

A

STRONGLY FAVORABLE ASSOCIATION WITH REGARIETO LOW CONFLICT (- 7 STRONGLY UNFAVORABLE ASSOCIATION WITH REGrWO TO LOW CONFLICT^

* KENDALL t CORRELATION

Figure 7-6.

Association between perceived intensity of conflict and mode of conflict resolution.*

Figure 7-7 identifies the various influence styles that project managers find effective in helping to red potential conflicts. Penalty power, authority, and expertise are considered as strongly unfavorable associations with respect to low conflicts. As expected, work challenge and promotions (if the projecl manager has the authority) are strongly favorable associations with his personnel.

Therefore, for the project manager to be truly effective, he should understand

(The figure shows only those associated which are statistically significant at the 95 percent level)

intensity of conflict perceived by project manager (p.m.)

influence methods as perceived by projlect managers

expertise

authority

work CHALLENGE

friendship

promotion

salary

penal"

between p.m. and his personnel

A

A

between p.m. and hts superior

A

between p.m. and functional support departments

STRONGLY FAVORABLE ASSOCIATION WITH REGARCTO LOW CONFLICT (-7 STRONGLY UNFAVORABLE ASSOCIATION WITH REGARD TO LOW CONFLICT^

- KENDALL t CORRELATION

Figure 7-7.

Association between influence methods of project managers and their perceived conflict intensity.*

not only what types of conflicts are possible in the various stages of the life cycle, but with whom these conflicts can occur and how to deal with them effectively.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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  • FETHAWIT
    Why it is necessary to understand superior subordinate and functional conflicts?
    5 months ago

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