Joanne’s understanding of friendship and business is probably much more definitive and structured than the white student worker. Asians are known for their adherence to rules and regulations differing from a more laid back point of view of someone born and raised in the United States. Joanne should have been more aware of the cultural differences between herself and the student worker, and in doing so could help to quell other conflicts in the future. Joanne’s second conflict occurred between her and a colleague. This woman was from Puerto Rico, around twenty years older.Order now
They had worked together for 2 years in the same administrative aide position. This woman was constantly blaming others for mistakes or problems in the office. Items would go missing or something would break, and the women would immediately blame someone for the mishap. It had always annoyed Joanne, but as it progressed, the claims became more serious. It became too much for her when she accused one of Joanne’s friends of opening another colleague’s mail and stealing money out of it. Joanne approached the women and asked her how she knew it was her friend that had stolen the money out of the mail.
The women did not have an answer. Joanne then told her that it wasn’t fair for her to be blaming others without proper evidence that what she was saying was not true. She also told her that before saying things of this nature, she should approach the person she is accusing and get the full story. The women immediately became defensive and angry. Joanne then resorted to humor and sarcasm to suppress her anger, making jokes about where the money had actually gone and teasingly accusing the woman of stealing it.
Joanne told me that making a joke out of it helper her to vent some of her steam but also let others around her be aware of the situation. The conflict still exists and Joanne still resorts to sarcasm to deal with it (sounds like someone I know). The source of this conflict was one of diverging beliefs in attitudes. It also explains Joanne’s unlikely competitive approach to the situation even though she normally is avoiding. As she mentioned earlier in the interview, when it is a question of her beliefs, she does not hesitate to say something.
Her approach to the situation was well worded and she created a non-hostile communication environment by inviting the women into the conversation. Her conflict solving style was accommodating, but the conflict was not really solved. By resorting to joking and sarcasm Joanne may have potentially created an even bigger problem. If, by chance, the person hearing the joke takes offense, the conflict can turn into an even larger scale conflict. The book says that, “jokes or sarcastic remarks can be defended,” as Joanne felt when she used them, but it recommends being more open and honest when a conflict occurs.
After interviewing Joanne and dissecting her conflicts very carefully, I have come to understand how important conflict management skills are in today’s society. We are confronted with conflicts everyday and being knowledgeable about ways to solve them is essential in moving forward in one’s career and in life. The book relates that, “Effective conflict management requires a positive attitude toward appropriate interpersonal communication and toward conflict itself. Rather than regard all conflict as a threat or a negative condition, individuals need to consider expressed differences as the potential for creativity and growth”(Borisoff 29).
Many people view conflict as negative and hindering to interactions. Yet in becoming a better conflict solver, I have realized that I can use conflicts to my advantage and use them to create change when I am unhappy in a relationship or at work. There is no way to completely rid the world of conflicts. People will always have differences and disagreements, but we must see it as, “a source of great potential and productivity”(223). Having the ability to embrace conflicts will ensure great promise in dealing with interactions in the workplace and in relationships.