Conflict Resolution Methods within an HR Context

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand what is required to be an effective and efficient HR professional.
  • Be able to perform efficiently and effectively as an HR professional.
  • Be able to apply CPD techniques to construct, implement and review a personal development plan. 
 Assessment brief/activity
You are asked to develop an electronic portfolio of evidence which includes four sections that respond to the following tasks:

Activity 1

Evaluate what it means to be an HR professional, making reference to the current CIPD Profession Map.  This can be accessed at  https://www.cipd.co.uk/learn/career/profession-map

Activity 2

Briefly describe the elements of group dynamics and give at least two examples of conflict resolution methods within an HR context.

Activity 3

With reference to a recent or current project (large or small) which you have led (or been part of a project team):

  • Provide evidence of using project management and problem-solving techniques in the course of the project.
  • Explain how you successfully influenced, persuaded and negotiated with others in the course of the project (or other related activity).

Activity 4

Undertake a self-assessment of one area of your practice to identify your professional development needs in that area and options to address these.

  • Produce a professional development plan (PDP) plan to meet your professional development needs which includes a justification of the option(s) chosen.
  • During your programme, provide a reflective summary of your performance against the plan. You should also identify any future development needs and record these in your PDP.

(Note: If required, CPD plan and record templates for students are available at https://www.cipd.co.uk/learn/cpd/about

Assessment Criteria

  

   1.1

 

 1.2

       2.1, 2.2

  2.3

 

 3.1

   3.2

3.3

 
Evidence to be produced/required 
 
A portfolio of evidence of approximately 2600 words in total (excluding the PDP) that responds to each of the four tasks.
You should relate academic concepts, theories and professional practice to the way organisations operate, in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles and other publications and by using organisational examples for illustration.
All reference sources should be acknowledged correctly and a bibliography provided where appropriate (these should be excluded from the word count)

Useful link: https://slideplayer.com/slide/6445908/

SAMPLE PAPER PREVIEW

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1.0  TASK 1

1.1  Professionalism in HR

According to Balthazard (2014), professionalism within the HR field is the approach and attitude to the HR profession that is characterized by integrity, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and maturity.  Professionalism is one of the key requirements for all HR practitioners. Also, Balthazard (2014) defines professionalism within the HR field as the process by which HR experts collectively endeavor to attain the status and recognition conferred to established professionals by assuming the defining attributes of the established professions.

1.2  The CIPD HR Profession Map

According to Currie et al. (2015), the CIPD HR profession map was designed by HR professionals to aid them in determining the knowledge and skills that are relevant to the HR profession.  The map offers an explanation of what is needed and what ought to be done within the HR profession. It also offers an overview of who the various departments within the HR profession ought to function (Burke, 2013). The obligations of HR professionals are shown based on their qualifications and experience (CIPD, 2012). The HR experts are supported by the map’s design, which supports the HR professions at all stages of the career.

Figure of the CIPD HR Profession Map is available at: http://www.northeasthrsummit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CIPD-Profession-Map-in-Practice-Elouise-Leonard-Cross-Tracy-Fernley-CIPD-Presentation.pdf

1.3  CIPD HR Profession Map Professional Areas

Based on my duties and responsibilities at my workplace, I can adequately gauge myself in terms of the elements of the CIPD HR profession map. The key elements of the map that I will use in gauging myself are insights, strategy, and solutions, leading HR, and organizational design.

1.3.1       Insights, Strategy, and Solutions

Insights, strategy, and solutions require a HR professional to develop a deeper understanding of the company as well as its context and apply these insights in tailoring strategy and solutions aimed at meeting the needs of the organization in the present and in the future.[1] In this context, there are various obligations that I have undertaken within our organization. First, I have spearheaded the development and identification of various insights within the company and then used these insights in identifying various opportunities and potential risks for the company. I have also been involved various practices including the sharing of insights with other employees and the development and implementation of employee policies process solutions aimed at addressing opportunities and risks based on the organizational plan and strategy. In terms of the CIPD professional map, all these functions fall under band 2 of insights, strategy, and solutions. Therefore, I can adequately claim that within the insights, strategy, and solutions professional area, I actually fall under band 2. However, to be able to transition to the next band, I should focus on building and maintaining an exceptional organizational image and ensuring that I always execute my roles effectively so as to generate a positive personal impact on the organization.

1.3.2       Leading HR

Leading HR involves one acting as a role model within the organization, optimizing the contribution that of his/her function makes within the organization through individual effort or developing and supporting others within the organization. In this context, I have displayed a firm employee management and leadership abilities within the organization and in teams that I have worked with. Moreover, I have greatly helped in designing effective teams within my practice that have greatly supported both the short-term and long-term goals of the organization. I have also been a key stakeholder in driving a highly sustained organizational performance by acting on a firm organizational point of view and commercial mindset. In terms of the CIPD professional map, all these functions fall under band 3 of leading HR.[2] Therefore, I can satisfactorily claim that within the leading HR professional area, I fall under band 3. Nonetheless, to be able to effectively transition to the next band, I should seek to develop sophisticated strategic and long-term problem-solving skills so as to be able to effectively manage diverse teams. Moreover, I should be able to take a visible position within the organization under close monitoring of the senior management that would enable me exploit on emergent skills within the organization.

1.3.3       Organizational Design

The aim of the organizational design professional area is to guarantee appropriate design of the organization in order to deliver short-term and long-term optimal impacts within the organization. Within this context, I have been involved in various obligations including working with senior managers in identifying key design improvement areas within the organization to align them with the company goals and strategy, working with the senior managers around the principles, purpose, and benefits of change within the organization, and designing and overseeing the current operation of the organization. In terms of the CIPD professional map, all these functions fall under band 3 of organizational design.[3] Therefore, I can conclusively state that within the organizational design professional area, I fall under band 3. However, to be able to transition to the next band, I should be able to adopt an open-minded business position that would enable me focus beyond the prevailing business and market drivers, in other words, I should adopt a mindset that is willing to explore the unknown with the aim of enhancing the existing organizational design.

2.0  TASK 2

2.1  Group Dynamics

Group dynamics is the analysis and understanding of the behaviors and psychology surrounding the interaction within a particular group. According to DeChurch and Mesmer-Magnus (2010), group dynamics offers a clear division between the relations within a particular social group (intragroup dynamics) and the interactions between various social groups (intergroup dynamics). Group dynamics aims at examining different aspects of an organization, for example, understanding what motivates teams, examining the various types of individuals that make up effective teams, and assessing aspects that inhibit the effectiveness of a team among others. For a group to operate effective, various factors ought to be examined, including:
  1. Team Building: Team building involves a process of transforming a particular team into a highly unified team to empower them work together interdependently and cooperatively to achieve a particular goal. According to Gold et al. (2013), group building may entail day-to-day interaction of the group members or day-to-day engagement in structured activities. The strength of any particular team is founded on the existing relationship between the members of the group. Team building is important since every group member possesses unique strengths and abilities that may add great value to the group.
  2. Team Development: Team development establishes a conducive working atmosphere since it encourages teamwork, interdependence, and cooperation and also establishes a sense of trust among the group members. According to Kerzner (2013) and Cassidy (2007), there are a total of four phases of team development including forming, storming, norming, and performing. These particular stages are highly critical in establishing an effective team.

2.2  Conflict Resolution Approaches

Conflicts are inevitable in any particular group as a result of the existing differences among the group members (Kozlowski, Grand, Baard, & Pearce, 2015). Individuals will often disagree when discussing certain issues due to differing opinions on those issues. Conflicts may also occur due to differences in perceptions, personality and values of people constituting the group. Nevertheless, conflict occurring within a group is not a bad thing since it enables the members of the group to freely express their feelings and opinions. Therefore, group leaders should ensure that conflicts occurring within a group are resolved effectively. Several conflicts were also experienced within our end of year party planning team. However, the leadership of the team ensured that the conflicts are resolved effectively to guarantee unity and cooperation among team members.

2.2.1       Mediation

The initial conflict occurred from task allocation. Given that tasks were allocated to groups of two or three, some of the members complained that their groups had less members but had been allocated more tasks others. In solving this conflict, the leadership of the team used the mediation technique. In resolving this conflict, the team leadership, acting as the mediator, summoned all the groups taking part in the project and clearly explained to them the criteria that they had used in allocating the tasks, including time needed to complete the tasks, responsibilities involved in each task and the intensity of the tasks. Thus, the team members clearly understood why there were differences between the teams in terms of the number of group members and number of tasks. As such, this conflict was effectively resolved and the projected proceeded uninterrupted.

2.2.2       Broken Square Method

The second conflict arose due to task dependency. Some groups delayed in completing predecessor tasks; thereby, delaying the groups executing the successor tasks from completing their tasks as scheduled. However, this conflict was effectively resolved using the broken square method. Given that this conflict resolution method brings together the varying abilities and styles of the group members so as to achieve a common objective, the team leadership encouraged the groups executing the successor tasks to assist those groups executing the predecessor tasks so as to complete them in time and then complete the successor tasks jointly. This initiative was critical since its increased the cohesiveness and; thus, efficiency of the team (Gold, Holden, Iles, Stewart, and Beardwell, 2013), which amply facilitated the successful completion of the project

3.0  TASK 3

3.1  Project Management

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, techniques, and tools in planning activities to fulfill the requirements of a particular project. According to Kerzner (2013), a project is an important component given that it involves unique and coordinated set of activities having a beginning and an end. The activities of a group can be performed by an individual or a group. At the end of last year, I participated in a project that involved organizing an end-of-year party in my organization. As the chairperson of the organizing team of the end of year party at my workplace, I took part in various activities. The organizing team, together with the manager in charge, ensured that all the activities were assigned with adequate time and manpower. All the activities were performed based on their schedule and as such, the end-of-year party was a great success. Some of the important steps that were involved in the management of the project include:

3.1.1       Project Initiation

This is the initial part of the project that involves defining the project scope with the aim of assessing the project feasibility and deliberating on who will execute it. As proposed by Meredith Belbin (2011), project initiation acts as the project’s reference point. During the end of year party, the organizing team was designated and the team members designed a schedule for the activities to be performed, making the project initiation stage. This is an important stage and if done poorly, may result in project failure.

3.1.2       Project Planning

This is the second phase of project management and is key to the success of the project. As noted by Kerzner (2013), project planning is vital because it defines the budget and timelines of a project. Moreover, it prevents the incidence of challenges that may likely be caused by poor planning. During the end-of-year party, the organizing team selected the locality, budget and date of the party a during the project planning phase.

3.1.3       Project Execution

Project execution involves creating deliverables that are aimed at guaranteeing customer satisfaction. The members of the end-of-year party organizing team executed this stage by guaranteeing effective resource allocation and ensuring that all team members stayed focused on the project goal. Team members were given activity charts for purposes of monitoring the progress of the project and as such, all activities were completed in time. The leader of the team was responsible for monitoring the entire project.

3.1.4       Project Validation and Control

Project validation and control ensures that the project is executed based on the project schedule. projects often have numerous tasks and each task often has a specific validation criterion (Meredith Belbin, 2011). Each validation technique offers the direction for the implementation of each task. For our project, a team consisting of the chairperson and three more individuals had been selected to oversee the validation and control of the project.

3.1.5       Project Closure

This is the final stage of project management which enables the project manager to evaluate and document the project after customer acceptance of the project. With respect to the end-of-year party, all the activities were effectively executed and the project was successful.

3.2  Problem-Solving Techniques

Problems are commonplace in every workplace. These problems may be simple or complex or may be easy or difficult to solve. A key role of every team leader is establishing ways in which these problems may be solved effectively.[1] Therefore, team leaders should possess effective problem-solving skills that will enable them to effectively handle any problems that arise within their teams. Failing to solve the problems effectively may hamper the progress of the affected projects, which may be disastrous for the organization. In our end of year party, a number of problems were experienced. However, the team leaders, using their problem-solving skills, effectively solved the problems before they could escalate further. The section below outlines some of the problems that arose and the problem-solving techniques that the team leaders used in solving the problem.

3.2.1       Brainstorming

According to Coon (1957), brainstorming is a problem-solving technique that involves the generation of a large number of ideas that may be solutions to the problem. After generating these myriad of ideas, the group selects the most practical idea(s) may then be adopted in solving the problem. During the end-of-year party, the project team was faced with the problem of determining the most appropriate location to where the party could be held. The team leadership used the brainstorming technique in solving this problem in which the team leadership gathered the views of the team members and other relevant parties within the organization. Afterwards, the team leadership invited all the parties to deliberate on the most appropriate location. After a lengthy discussion, the team finally settle on one location, which all members felt that was appropriate in term of capacity, security, attractiveness, and accessibility among other factors.

3.2.2       Cost-Benefit Analysis  

Cost-benefit analysis is a problem-solving that involves the assessment of decisions in terms of their consequences/costs/benefits and only decisions that do not generate adverse consequences for the project are adopted (Drèze & Stern, 1987). During the end-of-year-party, the project team was faced with the problem of holding the party during the day or night and on a week day or on a weekend. However, a cost-benefit analysis indicated that the most appropriate time to hold the party was on a weekend night because at this time, most of the major operations of the organization are usually closed; therefore, holding the party at this time will not affect major operations of the organization.

3.3  Persuading, Negotiating and Influencing Skills

3.3.1       Persuading

Persuading involves one convincing others to embrace a specific action/task via the use of positive language (persuasion). Hargie (2010) notes that persuasion is critical when convincing other parties. The way in which individuals approach objections in arguments greatly influences the outcomes of the discussion. Persuasion skills were critical during the end-of-year party in various aspects including site identification and task allocation. We had settled on three locations for the event and I had to persuade the other members to settle on the location I felt was best both in terms of location and cost. Moreover, I had to persuade some of the members to take up of some tasks, especially those that were deemed as being demanding both in terms of time and effort.

3.3.2       Negotiating

Negotiating is important in terms of project management as it enables member to reach a suitable agreement. This may be accomplished by developing listening skills to understand all project requirements and the views of others. Hargie (2010) notes that compromising is essential during a negotiation process. Negotiation was key during the end-of-year party various aspects like task allocation and budgeting. Since some tasks were more demanding than others, I had to negotiate with the members so as on the number of people to undertake such tasks and the time needed so to guarantee successful completion of the tasks. Also, I had to negotiate with the company’s finance department on the budget that would ensure successful execution of the project.

4.0  TASK 4

4.1  Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

CPD is the process involved in the documentation of knowledge, skills, and experience that one gains formally or informally as they work beyond their initial training (Lessing and De Witt, 2007). In other words, it is simply a record of what one experiences, learns, and then applies. The importance of a CPD is that it enables one to management their development on a continuous basis; thereby, helping one to record, assess, and reflect on what they learn (Caena, 2011).

4.2  Self-Assessment based on Personal Development Needs

One area that I would like to conduct a self-assessment is with regard to the CIPD map professional area of leading HR. Despite the fact that my self-assessment as conducted in the first part of this assignment indicates that I fall under band 3 of the CIPD HR profession map professional area, I believe there are some areas that require developing so as to be able to move to the next band (band 4) of this professional area given the critical nature of this particular function. Some of my strengths in the leading HR professional area include:
  • Strong employee management and leadership abilities
  • Capacity to design of effective teams
  • Capacity to drive a highly sustained organizational performance
  • Relatively strong understanding of the tactics to leading, managing, and motivation diverse teams in pursuit of mutual objectives.
Nonetheless, I also have a number of weakness in this particular professional area that need personal improvement so as to enhance my performance. Some of these weaknesses include:
  • Inadequate knowledge as regards the development and implementation of talent and resource management plans.
  • Relatively weak understanding of the evaluation and management of performance with regard to project teams.
  • Inadequate knowledge as regards financial planning, monitoring, and management techniques.
There are various personal development needs that I would require to address within this professional area so as to effective move to the next band. Given that this is my core professional area within my profession, it is critical that I address these particular needs so as to guarantee effectiveness within my organizational practices, which would subsequently translate into improved organizational performance. Some of the areas that require improvement in terms of development needs are outlined below.
  • Tactics to leading, managing, and motivation diverse teams in pursuit of mutual objectives.
  • Approaches of evaluating and managing performance with regard to project teams.
  • Financial planning, monitoring, and management techniques.
  • Development and implementation of talent and resource management plans.
There are various options that may be applied in addressing these particular professional development needs. One of the key options would be interacting with experts in my area of practice which would enable me learn from their knowledge and skills. This interaction may be through attending sessions given by such professionals at conference or keynote speeches. Additionally, attending workshops organized by professionals in my area of practice is also a viable option as it would enable me to acquire the necessary skills related to my area of practice. Personal research may also be an effective personal development approach in my area of practice as it would significantly add to my current knowledge with regard to my area of practice. Appendix 1 illustrates my continuous development plan within my area of practice for the past 12 months.

4.3  Personal Development Plan (PDP)

A PDP is a comprehensive action plan often used in fulfilling personal, academic, or career-based objectives (Beausaert, Segers and Gijselaers, 2011). The function of a PDP is to offer a guideline for self-assessment and improvement by outlining the areas that need improvement and one’s personalized actions that will facilitate the achievement of this objective. A PDP is important as it enables one to assess and monitor his/her continuous professional development and professional development needs. This would support personal development in one’s area of practice, which would subsequently enhance his/her performance. Appendix 2 illustrates my personal development plan within my area of practice for 2018.

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