The Dynamics of Inter-Group Conflict

When conflicts takes place within inter group i.e. conflict between one group to another, the following dynamism can be seen in the group.
1. Changes within each group: When there will be inter-group conflict, the following changes seen within each group. Each group now try to make the strong to meet the hurdles created, by other group. So, there will be the following five major changes within each group. The changes are:
  • Loyalty to the group becomes more important: In the face of an external threat, the group demands more loyalty from individual members. Not only is social interaction with people outside the group not encouraged; it is expressly discouraged. Such interaction could lend to inadvertent betrayal of group strategy and secrets. Deviance is more closely monitored and punished.
  • There is increase concern for task accomplishment: When there will be inter conflict, the group member now becomes more concern for task accomplishment. There will be less informal relation among group members but high formal relation among group members.
  • Leadership in the group becomes more autocratic: When inter group conflict is present it is especially important for a group to be able to respond quickly and in a unified manner to the activities of other groups. A democratic work style can reduce the group’s capacity respond quickly.
  • The organization and structure of the group becomes more rigid: After the inter-group conflict among the groups, each group, is concern of making the group more effective there will be rigid organizational structure. They build up formal relation rather than informal relation. This makes them more task concern. Task will be high valued first and then after people will be concerned.
  • Group cohesiveness (degree of unity) increased: In the face of an external threat, past differences and difficulties between group members are forgotten. The group closes ranks to meet the challenge. Individual group members find both the group as whole and other group members more attractive.
2. Changes in Relations between groups:
  • Interaction and communication between group decreases.
  • There are distortions of perception, both one’s own group and about the other group.
  • There is a shift from a problem-solving orientation toward other groups to win lose orientation.
  • There is increased hostility forward the rival group.

Inter-Group Conflict

The nature of the relationship between groups also changes markedly during inter group conflicts. Four changes in particular occur at this time.
1. There are distortions of perception, both one’s own group and about the other group. First, perception of one’s own group is highly selective: people see only the best aspects of their own group and deny any weakness in their own group’s performance. Second, and more important, perception of the other groups is systematically distorted: groups see only the worst parts of other groups and deny other groups positive accomplishments. Thus, inter group conflict leads to increased use of stereotypes. Each group develops more positive stereotype of itself and a more negative of other.

2. Interaction and communication between groups decreased. Because group members feel hostile toward members of rival groups, there is less desire for interaction with them. Moreover, decreased interaction makes it easier for each group to maintain its negative stereotype of the other.

Even when groups are forced to interact with each other, those interactions become fairly rigid and formal. Whatever information is passed between groups is very carefully rationed and sometimes deliberately distorted. Groups tend to ignore the similarities between their positions and exaggerate the differences.

3. There is a shift from problem-solving orientation toward other groups to win lose orientation. There various facts to this shift in orientation. First, there is a much clearer distinction drawn between the groups, resulting in a “We- they” rather than a “We- versus” – the problem orientation. Second, all exchange with the other groups are evaluated in terms of victory or defeat. Third, the groups tend to see the problem only from their own point of view, rather than in terms of the needs of both groups. Fourth, the parties emphasize the benefits of winning the conflict in the short run and tend to ignore the long-term consequences of the conflict for the relationship between the groups.

4. There is increased hostility toward the rival group. As a result of negative stereotyping, decreased communication between groups, and win lose orientation, increased hostility inevitably occur between rival groups. Members of the other group are seen as the enemy, and deserving of hostile attacks. Major types of inter-group conflict are follows:
  • a) Functional conflict: Conflict that supports the goals of the groups and improve its performance.
  • b) Dys-functional conflicts: Conflict that hinders group performance.
  • c) Task conflict: Conflict based on interpersonal relationships.
  • d) Process conflict: Conflicts over how work gets done.

Elements of Communication Process

The process of communication includes the following seven elements. These are shown in figure. Each of these components needs due elaboration.
  1. Communicator: The communication process begins with an intended message to communicate. The characteristics of the communicator influence the communication process. For example, while a sensitive communicator will look at the communication process from the receiver’s perspective, an insensitive one will be primarily concerned with his/her own interest. 
  2. Encoding: It refers to converting a communication message into symbolic form. Encoding is necessary because information can only be transmitted from communicator to receiver through symbols or gestures.
  3. Message: The message is the actual physical product from the source of encoding. When we speak, the speech is the message. When we write, the writing is the message. When we gesture, the movements of our arms, the expressions on our face are the message. Thus, message is what is communicated.
  4. Medium: Medium is a channel through which a communication message travels. Medium is the link that connects the communicator (sender) and the receiver. Face to face verbal communication, use of telephone, use of memorandum, notice, circulars, statements, etc. are the various means available as media of communication. Besides, non-verbal media like signals, symbols, gestures, etc. may also be used. The choice of medium assumes significance as the use of proper medium also determines the effectiveness of communication.
  5. Decoding: Translating the sender’s message by the receiver is called decoding. Decoding is the process by which the receiver draws meaning from the symbols encoded by the communicator or sender. One’s knowledge, attitude, and cultural background influence one’s ability to encode or receive, just as they do the ability to send.
  6. Receiver: The person who receives the message is called receiver. The communication process is incomplete without the existence of receiver of message. Communication to be effective needs to be receiver-oriented.
  7. Feedback: The actual response of the receiver to the message communicated to him is known as “feedback”. In other words, if a communicator or sender decodes the message that he encodes if the message is put back into his system, we have feedback. Feedback enables the communicator to check whether or not the message received has been properly understood by the receiver.
Importance of Communication Management
The need or importance of communication is felt for the following reasons: 
  1. Adequate and timely communication helps managers discharge their functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling.
  2. Effective communication ensures willing cooperation of others. This, in turn, contributes positively to the quality of decisions.
  3. Communication by flowing information throughout the organization maintains coordination of activities across departments in the organization.
  4. A good communication system communicating quality information contributes positively to the quality of decisions.
  5. Effective communication also helps in moulding attitudes and building up employee morale. It also helps in developing harmonious labor management relations.

Overcome of Barriers to Communication

In view of the barriers to effective communication, the following specific suggestions can be made to ensure the effectiveness of communication:
  1. Language: Experience suggests that complex language, technical terms, and jargon make communication difficult to understand and frustrating to the listener. It is not true that complex ideas require complex words to explain them. Hence, while preparing the communication message, its language should be relatively simple and the ability of the receiver to interpret the message accurately should be kept in view. Efforts should be made to explain abstract ideas and avoid the vague expressions.
  2. Regulating the Flow of Communication: Priority of messages to be communicated should be determined so that the managers may concentrate on more important messages of high priority similarly, the messages received should be edited and condensed to the extent possible, to reduce the chances of overlooking or ignoring important messages.
  3. Feedback: Communication is complete when it receives feedback. Feedback may include the receiver’s response in terms of acceptance and understanding of the message, his/her action, and the result achieved. Thus, the two-way communication is considered to be more helpful in establishing mutual understanding than one-way communication.
  4. Repetition: Repetition of message helps improve effectiveness of communication. It helps the listener interpret messages that are ambiguous, unclear or too difficult to understand the first time they are heard. Repetition also helps avoid the problem of forgetting. A popular strategy to help the managers remember the main points is “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them what you have told them.”
  5. Restraint Over Emotions: As strong feelings and emotions on the part of either the sender or receiver of the message distort the meaning of the message. One may, therefore, defer the communication for some time. He/she should response to communication with a composed mind only.
  6. Mutual Trust and Faith: Communication becomes effective having mutual and faith between the sender and receiver of the message. The honesty of the purpose is the best means breeding trust and faith between the two parties, i.e. sender and receiver.
  7. Listening Carefully: Misunderstanding and confusion are often caused by the half-hearted attention to the communication. Therefore, a receiver-listener needs to be patient mentally well composed, and avoid distractions while receiving the message. He/she should seek clarification, if necessary, on the message. At the same time, the sender of the message must also not be prepared to listen to what the receiver has to say, and respond to his questions, if any. 
  8. Pygmalion Effect: In the ancient Greek mythology, a sculptor named Pygmalion craved the statue of a most beautiful woman. The result was so perfect that the sculptor fell in love it the statue and sat in front of it for a long time. He sat in front of it hoping that someday the statue will come to life- and it ultimately happened. Since then, this is called the ‘Pygmalion Effect’. Thus, the Pygmalion effect refers to power of one’s expectation. In other words, people’s expectation determines their behavior. Let it be clarified wit an example. If a professor believes that a particular student is not very hard working and sincere, then all his/her communication, be it verbal or non-verbal, will communicate this message to the student. What will happen is in the long run, a perfectly hard-working student may become lazy and insincere.

Concept of Communication Networks

Communication network can be defined as the channel through which information flow. Different parts of organization are linked together through communication network. Just for a simple example INTERPOL i.e. International Police Organization has its network in worldwide to capture terrorist.

In the case of management, there are five common communication networks which are as follows:
1. Chain: Where one person transmits information to another as per the chain in the organizational hierarchy. For example, the president informs the vice-president who then passes on the information to the head of the department and so on.

President --> Vice President --> Department Head Managers --> Unit In-charge --> Supervisor --> Layman

2. Wheel or Star: Here one personal (supervisor for instance) can communicate with (say) four subordinates, but the subordinates do not communicate with each other.
3. Circle: Where each member can interact with the adjoining member.
4. All- Channel: Where each of the individuals can communicate with all other.
5. Inverted Y: Where two people report to a boss, who has two levels above and the communication shown in the pattern shown in figure below:

Issues Confronted by Organizations in Communication

There are four major issues in communication and they are as follows.
  1. Why do men and women often have difficulty in communicating with each other?
  2. What are the implications of the “politically correct” movement on communications and organizations?
  3. How can individuals improve their cross-cultural communication?
  4. How is electronics changing the way people communicate with each other in organizations?
Issue No.1: Communication barriers between men and women:
According to tannin’s research, men use to talk to emphasize status, while women use it to create connection. Men are often more direct than women. Men frequently complain that women talk on and on about their problems while women criticize men for not listening. When men hear about the problem, they frequently assert their desire for independence and control by offering the solutions. Women usually present the problem to gain support and connection, to promote closeness with men but not take his advice this creates a distancing between them.

Issue No.2: Politically correct communication:
Words are the primary means by which people communicate. When we eliminate words form usage between they are politically more incorrect, we reduce our options for conveying messages in the clearest and most accurate form. We must be sensitive to how our choice of words might offend others.

Issue No.3: Cross-cultural communication:
Cross-cultural communication has been another current issues in communication. Languages differ as per culture. The same work means different things to different people. A gesture that is understood and acceptable in one culture may be meaningless in another culture. The language they use also differs in different culture. In some culture, some formal languages are used, while in some culture, frequently in formal languages are used. This is due to cross-cultural effect. People from different culture also view the work in different ways. This is due to cross cultural effect. People from different culture also view the world in different ways. Thus, due to cross cultural effect, there may cause barriers in communications.

Issue No.4: Electronic communication: Organizational boundaries become less relevant as a result of electronic communication. Electronic communication such as cellular phones, pager, now allows accessing the desired person at any time and at any place of the world. The line between an employee’s work and non-work life is no longer distinct. Networked computers in an office allow the employees to share the files and jump vertical levels within the organization.

Electronic communications have revolutionized both the ability to access other people and to reach them almost instantaneously. Unfortunately this access and speed have come with some costs. Electronic mail, for instance does not provide the non-verbal communication components that face-to-face meeting does.

Importance of Communication within the Management Group

Communication is an essential function and an important problem of management. Since the job of a rational manager is to secure the willing co-operation of his subordinates in the accomplishment of goals, communication is an indispensable part of management. Communication is a continuous and pervasive activity and a manager spends the major portion of his time in communicating. To be more specific communication offers the following advantages.
  1. Basis of decision-making: Communication is essential for decision making and planning. The quality of managerial decisions depends on the quality of communication. At the same time, decision and plans of management need to be communicated to the subordinates. Effective communication is also helpful in the proper implementation of plans and policies of the management. It is the basis of effective leadership because it makes the leader’s idea and opinions known to the subordinates.
  2. Facilitates co-ordination: Communication is the most effective means of creating cooperation among individual efforts. Exchange of ideas and information helps to bring about unity of action in the pursuit of common purpose. Communication binds people together.
  3. Sound industrial relations: Effective communication helps to create mutual understanding and trust between the employer and the employees. It enables the management to come into close contact with workers. It serves as a bridge between management and labour and creates team spirit in the organization. Thus, an effective communication system is a prerequisite of good labour management relations.
  4. Smooth and efficient operations: An effective communication system serves as a lubricant, fostering the smooth and efficient functioning of the enterprise. The achievement of enterprise goals is of paramount importance and communication is one of the important tools available to the manager seeking to attain them. It is through communication that a manager changes and regulates the behavior of subordinates in the desired direction. Effective communication promotes managerial efficiency.
  5. Industrial democracy: Communication is essential for worker’s participation in management. It is helpful in delegation and decentralization of authority. Effective communication is the basis of training and development of managerial personnel. The process of leadership itself depends upon effective communication.
  6. Employee motivation and morale: Through communication, management can keep the employees fully informed of plans, job changes, etc. The motivation and morale of employees tend to be high when they clearly understand what they are supposed to do. Communication is the means by which employees can brings their suggestions, difficulties and grievances to the notice of the management. Upward communication ensures greater job satisfaction and stimulates worker’s enthusiasm and loyalty to the enterprise. Effective communication satisfies personal and social needs of employees.
  7. Public relations: In the today’s time, every business enterprises must create and maintain a good corporate image in the society. Communication is an indispensable means of developing a favorable public opinion. It is through communication that management can keep cordial relations with the government, trade unions, customer and the community.
Thus, communication is the heart of the management process. It serves as the nerve system of the organization.

Interactive Communication

The word Communication is derived from the Latin word ‘Communis’ which means common. If a person affects a communication, he has established a common ground of understand. Thus communication involves imparting the common meaning in another person. The interactive communication is defines as two way communication where message receiver and sender interactive each other and reach to a decision. Interactive communication is better than one way communication as it provides, the opportunity to know employees responses ideas and suggestion to utilize in new decision and to implement the decision of the right time by right person in the right manner. Management at 21st century is using this type of communication to support participating management.

Techniques of Securing Effective Employee Communication in Organization
Communication is effective when the intended or sent message is the same as the interpreted or received message. Two-way communication is one of the ways in which more effective communication can be facilitated. Research in different fortune organizations, who have changed their communication pattern to achieve success, following factors is to be taken into consideration for making effective communication.
  1. Seeking to clarify the idea before communication: The more systematically we analyze the problem or idea to be communicated the clearer it becomes. 
  2. Following up the communication: This we can do by asking questions, by encouraging the receiver to express his reactions, by follow up contacts, by subsequent review of performance. We must make certain that every important communication has a feedback so that complete understanding and appropriate action result.
  3. Examining the true purpose of each communication: Before we communicate, it is better to ask to ourselves what we really want to be accomplish with our message-obtain information, initiate action, change other person’s attitude etc. The sharpener the focus of our message the greater the chance of its success.
  4. Consider the total physical and human setting wherever we communicate: Meaning and intent are conveyed by more than words alone. Many other factor influences the overall impact of a communication and the manager must be sensitive to the total setting in which he communicates.
  5. Consulting with others, where appropriate, in planning communication: Frequently, it is desirable or necessary to seek the participation of other in planning a communication or developing the facts on which to base it. Such consultation often helps to lend additional insight and objectivity to our message.
  6. Being sure of own actions support our communications: In the final analysis, the most persuasive kind of communication is not what we say but what we do? When a man’s actions or attitudes contradict his words, we tend to discount what he has said.

Behavioral Theories of Leadership

The theory is based on the promise that effective leadership is the result of effective role behavior. Success in leadership depends more on what the leader does than on his traits. A leader uses technical, conceptual and human skills to influence the behavior of his subordinate. Leadership therefore, becomes a dynamic interaction between the leader and the led.

The behavioral theory is useful in so far it suggests the functions and activities of a leader.

Ohio State Studies
In 1945, a group of researchers at Ohio state university began extensive investigations of leadership. The central focus of their work was to study in depth the work of a leader. Their effort uncovered many things concerning leadership behavior. The most publicized aspect of Ohio state leadership was the isolation of two dimensions of leadership behavior.

  1. Initiating structure: A high initiating structure score indicates that leaders structures their role those of subordinates towards the attainment of goals. They are actively involved in planning work activities, communicating pertinent information and scheduling work. 
  2. Consideration: A leaders who were high on the consideration dimension reflected that they had developed a work atmosphere of mutual trust, respect for subordinate’s ideas and consideration of subordinate’s feelings. Such leaders encouraged good superior subordinate rapport and two-way communication. A low consideration score indicates that leaders are more impersonal in their dealing with subordinates.
University of Michigan Studies
The study showed that Employee-oriented Leaders (EOL) were associated with higher group productivity and higher job satisfaction on the other hand, Production-Oriented Leader (POL) tend to be associated with low group productivity and lower job satisfaction.

Where, we mean
Employee-oriented leaders (EOL) – One who emphasizes interpersonal relation.
Production-oriented leaders (POL) – One who emphasizes technical or task aspects of the job.

The Managerial Grid
The concept of managerial grid was created by R.R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton of USA. They emphasize that leadership style consists of facts of both task oriented and relation oriented behavior in varying degrees.

They have used two phrases: 
  1. Concern for production means the attitudes of the supervisors towards a variety of factor concerning production, such as product, procedures, and processes, quality of staff service, workload, efficiency and quantity of production. 
  2. Concern for people includes degree of personal commitment towards goal achievement, maintaining the self-esteem of workers, responsibility and conductibility based on trust rather than on force and satisfying interpersonal relations.