Managing Organizational Conflicts Through Innovation, Creativity, and Inclusion: Implementing a Conflict System of Shared Leadership
De Gruyter Handbook of Organizational Conflict Management
LaVena Wilkin, Yashwant Pathak
The need is urgent for organizational leaders and members to transform organizational conflicts by addressing conflict that is a natural part of organizational life. Leaders must evolve their organizational systems to address underlying causes of conflict and seek solutions that serve the interests of all, irrespective of where they may reside within the organizational hierarchy. Conflict will occur anywhere there is interdependence, so this chapter provides an impetus for organizational members to be pro-active rather than reactive in addressing conflict. This chapter will examine three facets of organizational conflict resolution: 1) the need for Conflict Management Systems, 2) the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in system design, and 3) how the practice of shared leadership in addressing conflict and system design can be realized through Liberating Structures. We first examine the critical need for leaders to design a conflict management system (CMS) within their organizations, informed and shaped from the bottom-up. The process of designing a CMS must be inclusive, transparent, and collaborative; careful to ensure all voices are heard as the system is reshaped. Organizations that have Conflict Management Systems inherently and explicitly communicate “value” for employees. CMS provide an official platform for people to safely express and address their conflicts with the goal of transforming and restoring relationships in the workplace. Invariably, as organizations become increasingly diverse, the need to address diversity, equity, and inclusion within CMS design becomes essential. While most organizations espouse the values of appreciating diversity, upholding equity, and being inclusive, far fewer can bring these values to life in people’s everyday work. Lofty ideals followed by business-as-usual foments even more conflict, highlighting the necessity for all people, especially leaders, to develop competence and fluency around building a culture that truly embraces diversity. This paper concludes by introducing Liberating Structures as a practice of shared leadership. Liberating Structures offer a practical approach to radical collaboration through which people can listen, share, learn and have a higher, collective understanding of the complexities of a challenge enabling them to move towards meaningful action shaped by all. The array of diverse ideas is exponentially expanded through this shared practice, paving the way for creative and innovative solutions to previously unsolvable challenges.
Conflict Management Systems, CMS Design, Culture, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Leadership, Liberating Structures, Organizations
Business | Peace and Conflict Studies | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Georgakopoulos, Alexia; Barb Allen; and Eileen P. Petzold-Bradley. (2022). Managing Organizational Conflicts Through Innovation, Creativity, and Inclusion: Implementing a Conflict System of Shared Leadership. In LaVena Wilkin, Yashwant Pathak (Eds.), De Gruyter Handbook of Organizational Conflict Management (233-248).