Organizational Conflict Analysis and Engagement

We live and work in a global economy that is more diverse than ever. The greater the diversity in an organization, the greater the possibility for misunderstanding, disagreement and conflict.

Change and conflict are natural aspects of contemporary organizations. Critical to organizational success are leaders and managers who can inspire, empower and motivate, as well as be change agents in spite of the conflict it may cause. Organizational effectiveness is grounded in caring, reflective professionals who have integrity, and who can insightfully analyze the situation, courageously take risks, act decisively, and artfully use conflict resolution to foster organizational transformation and innovation.

While critically examining organizations as adaptive systems, collaborative knowledge networks and living cultures, this triad of courses enables students to develop their own perspectives on engaging organizational environments and community-building communication strategies. It also highlights the significance of leadership in approaching and managing a negotiation situation and organizational conflict resolution, providing an opportunity for students to identify and hone their own professional leadership qualities and conflict analysis skills related to facilitating organizational change and development.

Required Courses

CAE655 Organizational Models, Systems, Cultures and Conflict (4.00 cr.)

Change and conflict are natural aspects of organizations. When addressing organizational conflict, it is important to understand how organizations are both “institutional entities” with histories, positions, and rules, and complex “emerging social systems” with cultures, diverse employee populations, and dynamic working relationships. Rooted in systems thinking, this course critically explores the nature of organizations and the dynamics of organizational conflict through 5 inter-related lenses: organizational culture, organizational structure, human resources, organizational communication, and organizational power and politics. This course’s instructional process also enables students to develop their own organizational model and understanding of organizational conflict.

CAE656 Leading, Managing and Enabling Change in a Complex Workplace (4.00 cr.)

With adult development and social and emotional intelligence principles as a backdrop, and shared leadership, resonant leadership and discursive leadership concepts as a foundation, this course critically explores the strengths and limitations, as well as the appropriate use of 7 approaches to leadership: commanding, affiliative, democratic, team, servant, mentoring, and visionary. While outlining ways to empower others, this exploration includes analyzing the power that comes with leadership, discussing the ethical use of power by leaders when managing employees, making complex decisions, delegating responsibilities, creating organizational alliances, and making changes. This course’s instructional process also enables students to identify their own professional leadership style, and their ability to lead and foster change, as well as address the conflict it creates.

CAE657 Organizational Communication, Collaboration, and Team Development (4.00 cr.)

Communication gives form to organizations, making them a web of conversations and relationships. Organizational communication is concerned with how diverse people network and work together, how they self-organize around a common purpose to collaborate on achieving a specific task. The greater the diversity of people in an organization the more diversity there will be in leadership styles, workforce personalities, value systems, ideas, communication styles, work styles, etc. The greater the diversity in an organization, the greater the possibility for misunderstanding and conflict. Focusing on developing participatory and team-oriented work environments, this course uses various communication and organizing theories as analytical lenses to a) discern how to develop an organizational culture that fosters dialogue and collaboration, b) establish a cohesive, motivated “organizational community,” and c) develop effective organizational communication and collaboration in a multicultural workplace. Discussions include exploring ways to build interactive knowledge sharing workplace relationships rooted in professional self-confidence, feeling valued, acceptance of difference, interdependence, mutual respect, trust and understanding, and open and honest dialogue. This course’s instructional process enables students to develop their own organizational communication perspective and team development process, as well as methods for addressing organizational conflict related to disharmony, inadequate networking, miscommunication, and dysfunctional teams.