Management: Problem Analysis

Topics: Management, Conflict, Change management Pages: 7 (2116 words) Published: June 8, 2007
This model of the Research Report addresses the case study of Andrew Bartlett's plumbing business in Western Australia. See attached copy of the case, taken from ‘Andrew Bartlett: Managerial dilemmas'. In Bartol, K., Tein, M., Matthews, G. & Martin, D. (2005). Management: A Pacific Focus, McGraw-Hill and Irwin, p.p. 471-2

[1] Team-structured organisations are becoming increasingly popular in many different industries and in situations where companies have geographically distributed offices. Jehn and Mannix (2001, p. 238) note that work teams provide many benefits to an organisation, including increased innovation and discussion of ideas, knowledge-sharing and commitment to goals. However, teams have also been negatively associated with conflict within organisations. While some conflict within teams is now considered beneficial, it is essential that it be managed effectively to avoid problems (De Dreu & Weingart 2003, p. 741). [2] The high level of conflict that exists in Andrew Bartlett's business is a serious managerial problem [3] because the negative effects of conflict can result in low employee morale, leading to reduced productivity and effectiveness, and staff turnover. [4] In this report, I will argue that this conflict is due to poor communication and a lack of structured work processes in the Bunbury office. In order to address this problem, [5] Andrew Bartlett must restructure the Bunbury office by appointing an administration manager to handle non-technical matters and by introducing a structured communication process to deal with issues as they arise. Implementation of this strategy will result in an improvement in both team effectiveness and employee satisfaction.

Problem Identification
[5A] The Australian plumbing industry is currently facing major changes with the introduction of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005. The Act is aimed at improving occupational health and safety practices, reducing unlawful behaviour, and protecting employees within the industry (MPMSAA 2005). In addition, the Institute of Plumbing Australia is emphasising the importance of technical training and establishing career paths for individuals in the industry (Swift 2005). Despite the focus on industrial relations and training, there appears to be little attention in the industry to education on business and people management. The recent trend toward work teams, together with the fact that managers now spend more than a quarter of their time dealing with conflict ([6]Thomas & Schmidt cited in Meyer, Gemmell & Irving 1997, p. 1), means that conflict management is vital within an organisation. [7] As such, the conflict occurring within Andrew Bartlett's business is a significant managerial issue.

[8] Dysfunctional conflict has been found to have extremely negative effects in an organisation if the issue is not addressed. In particular, lowered employee morale due to conflict is known to lead to reduced productivity and effectiveness resulting in the quality of work completed by employees suffering (De Dreu & Van Vianen 2001, p. 310). [9] As appears to be occurring in Andrew Bartlett's organisation, this leads to unsatisfied customers and, ultimately, the business suffers financially. In addition, increased staff turnover is a major consequence of workplace conflict (Medina, Munduate, Dorado, Martinez & Guerra 2005, p. 220). [10] In this business, staff turnover is an explicit problem as several employees involved in the conflict have already threatened to resign. If the cause of the conflict is not resolved, not only will it result in the loss of current staff, but it is also likely to be repeated with future employees. Replacing staff is not only an inconvenience to the business but also very costly due to recruitment and training expenses. For these reasons, addressing this issue immediately is crucial to the organisation's continued success [11].


References: DeChurch, LA & Marks, MA 2001, ‘Maximising the benefits of task conflict: The role of conflict management ', International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 4-22. Retrieved September 12, 2005, from ABI/INFORM Global database.
De Dreu, CKW & Van Vianen, AEM 2001, ‘Managing relationship conflict and the effectiveness of organizational teams ', Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 309-328. Retrieved September 12, 2005, from ABI/INFORM Global database.
De Dreu, CKW & Weingart, LR 2003, ‘Task Versus Relationship Conflict, Team Performance and Team Member Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis ', Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 88, no. 4, pp. 741-749. Retrieved September 12, 2005, from Ovid database.
Goodman, K & Truss, C 2004, ‘The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative ', Journal of Change Management, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 218-227. Retrieved October 30, 2005 from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Jameson, JK 1999, ‘Toward a Comprehensive Model for the Assessment and Management of Intraorganizational Conflict: Developing the Framework ', International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 268-294. Retrieved October 23, 2005, from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Jehn, KA & Mannix, EA 2001, ‘The dynamic nature of conflict: a longitudinal study of intragroup conflict and group performance ', Academy of Management Journal, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 238-251.
Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) 2005, Statement by the Master Plumbers Backing Building Reforms. Retrieved October 31, 2005, from
Medina, FJ, Munduate, L, Dorado, MA, Martinez, I & Guerra, JM 2005, ‘Types of intragroup conflict and affective reactions ', Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 20, no. 3/4, pp. 219-230. Retrieved September 12, 2005, from Emerald database.
Meyer, JP, Gemmell, JM, & Irving, PG 1997, ‘Evaluating the Management of Interpersonal Conflict in Organizations: A Factor-Analytic Study of Outcome Criteria ', Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l 'Administration, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1-13. Retrieved October 23, 2005, from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Swift, T 2005, Careers for the Plumbing Industry Discussion Paper. Retrieved October 31, 2005, from
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • problem analysis Research Paper
  • Strategic Management and Swot Analysis Essay
  • Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management Essay
  • Problem Analysis Research Paper
  • Problem Analysis Essay
  • An Analysis of a Management Control Problem Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free