Go to Reading Guides | Go to Syllabus  | Go to Course Schedule | Go to Assignments 
Go to Irwin's Main Page | E-Mail Irwin

COM 597, Summer 2015 – Reading Guide Questions for May 26



For Rahim (2002)

As you read the whole article, think about this: is there a tension between what’s good for the individual and what’s good for the organization?  How does that tension manifest itself in Rahim’s suggestions?

1. Compare Roloff’s definition of conflict to Rahim’s (p. 207).  What are the practical differences?

2. What’s the difference between “conflict management” and “conflict resolution” (p. 208)?

3. What is the distinction he makes on the bottom o f 208 and the top of 209 between types of conflict that may have “negative effects” and “positive effects” on individual and group performance?  Do you agree?

4. Put his criteria for conflict management (p. 209) in your own words.  Do you agree with them?

5. What’s the distinction between affective and substantive conflict (p. 210)?  Why does he find one desirable and the other not?  Can you always draw a big bright line between affective and substantive conflict?  Why or why not?  (Answer this question before you move on to the next section entitled “Paradox of Conflict.”

6. What’s the distinction he makes between single-loop and double-loop learning?  Between individual and organizational learning?  Where in these constructs does he place traditional conflict strategies (p. 212)?

7. Put the practices he calls “individual defensive reasoning” and “organizational defensive routines” (pp. 212-213) in your own words.  Why does he say they impede problem solving (pp. 213-214)?

8. What are Type III and Type IV errors (p. 214)?  How would Mitroff’s five suggestions on 215 help avoid Type III errors?.......

9 ......And what does Rahim imply is the link between Type III errors and effective conflict management (bottom p. 215)?  Do you agree?

10. What do you think of his analysis of each of the five conflict styles on the traditional conflict grid (pp. 218-221)?  Do you agree that any of the five can be appropriate?

11. Return to question 4: Now that you’ve been through this much of the article, what do you think of his three criteria for conflict management (p. 209)?

12. Take a look at the diagram on the bottom of p. 222.  What are the implications of this model?

13.  When you read the section on “Diagnosis” (pp. 223-225), don’t get bogged down in the detail of the instruments used to measure conflict.  But pay special attention to the last paragraph in this section (the first full paragraph on p. 225).  What do you think about questionnaires as a way to learn about conflict vs. other means (in depth interviews, observations)?  What other methods might be appropriate?

14. In your own words, what’s the difference between process intervention and structural intervention?  What methods does he suggest for each?

15. So back to the question at the top: is there a tension between what’s good for the individual and what’s good for the organization?  How does that tension manifest itself in Rahim’s suggestions?

For Gross, Hogler, & Henle (2013)

1. What's their complaint about traditional approaches to managing organizational conflict? (bot. p. 90 - top p. 91)

2. What's the alternative perspective they propose?  What interests do they want to emphasize?  To de-emphasize? (pp. 91-92)

3. What's their critique of the dual concern perspective? (p. 92)

4. Put Williams's three critiques of managerial bias in your own words?  Do you agree with each of them?  Why or why not? (pp. 92-93)

5. Why would there be a link between emphasizing intrinsic rewards and workplace conflict?  How does their proposal deal with that? (bot. p. 93)

6. Explain formal rationality in your own words (p. 94)

7. What are the limitations of formal rationality?  How do Gross et al propose overcoming them? (pp. 94-95)

8. What is substantive rationality?  What's it good for?  (pp. 95-97)

9. What do you think of the responses they give to projected arguments against their approach (pp. 98-99)

10. What do you think of the two assumptions they call their "two interlinking concepts?"  Of how they're applied by Anheuser-Busch?  (p. 100)

11. Is Gross et al's approach reconcilable with Rahim's model?  Is attempting to do so desirable?

12.  What are the big takeaways of tonight's readings (both articles) for you?


Go to Reading Guides | Go to Syllabus  | Go to Course Schedule | Go to Assignments 
Go to Irwin's Main Page | E-Mail Irwin

Copyright © 2004-2015 Irwin Mallin 
Last Updated: 5 May 2015
URL: http://users.ipfw.edu/mallini/597x15rdg0526.html