Conflicts in Organizations and Impact on Organizational Culture – Term Paper

Conflicts in Organizations and Impact on Organizational Culture


 The common issues facing contemporary business firms are conflicts and disputes between workers and the organization’s management. Verizon Company is one of the latest US companies to experience prolonged workers strike. Administration and leadership of Verizon have the greatest role in the recurrence of the issues as a result of the ineffective conflict resolution approach employed. The case study of Verizon serves as an example that many organizations have cultures where conflicts can productively thrive due to workers and management teams working against one another. Verizon conflicts impact on the firm’s culture concerning the future generation of employees who will use the company’s history of addressing workers’ issues in forecasting the outcome of grievances that they will forward to the management. Consequently, the culture increases turnover rates, job dissatisfaction and inefficiency leading to stunted organizational growth. 

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Organizational conflict


Conflicts and disputes between employees and management, regulatory agencies, labor unions and management, co-workers and between management teams are inevitable in the contemporary working environments. At present, the common form of organizational conflict is labor conflict that occurs as a result of the growing number of unions representing the interest of the workers (Rahim, 2013). Some of the aspects that reflect the severity of conflicts in an organization include workers’ strikes which affect not only the growth and profitability of an organization but also have negative repercussions to organizational leadership and culture. Strikes are negotiations tools for most of the US labor unions. In the US history, work conflicts and workers strikes in different employment fields have been for the purpose of advocating for enhanced working conditions, increased benefits, and better contracts, increasing flexible working hours, and pay increment.;

; One of the profound strikes in the US history is the labor conflict in Verizon Company involving approximately 39, 000 on April 2016 making it the latest severe disputes in the US labor industry (Democracy Now Organization, 2016). The conflict between the workers and Verizon management is attributable to the lack of better contracts, and the organization’s attempt to reduce laborers’ benefits, and limit pensions. Another factor responsible for the heated conflicts is Verizon’s act of trying to outsource some of its operations to the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Mexico (Democracy Now Organization, 2016). The research paper explores the impacts of workplace disputes and conflicts on organizational culture and leadership concerning the recent Verizon Company labor conflict.

Interorganizational conflict

Problem Statement

In the contemporary working environments, there is anecdotal evidence showing that many business organizations possess unique conflict cultures in that most of the workers’ strikes at present shows socially mutual norms of triggering and managing conflicts. The research problem determining whether conflicts affect organization culture considering that there is no direct link demonstrating that organizations’ leadership at different levels have normative and socially shared conflicts management culture. Ghorbani and Razavi (2011) suggest that many organizations have cultures where conflicts can productively thrive due to workers and management working against one another.  Furthermore, there is no confirmatory link between leadership styles and disputes despite the fact that application of unsustainable direction and administration techniques leads to toxic workplaces. It is evident in the case of Verizon Company’s recent labor conflict impact on organizational culture, leadership, and management reputations. It thus follows from the case study that managing disputes, misunderstandings, and conflicts is the primary management proficiency that most of the companies lack since such issues invoke conflict resolution and management skills if an organization must acquire positive culture.;

Analysis of Verizon Labor Conflict

Verizon’s 2016 strike is not the first one to occur in the company as the recent is an extension of the similar strike in 2011 for the same reasons. The failure to address the issues for the five-year period reveal Verizon’s reluctance in dealing with the issues facing its workers despite the growing trend in profit generation for the past four years where Verizon record $249 million profit between 2010 and 2014 (Democracy Now Organization, 2016). The management behavior of denying workers fair pay and better contracts are unjustified in the dimension of CSR and labor rights. In CSR perspectives, it is unfair for Verizon to reduce its workforce despite having knowledge about the company’s sustainability to the nearby community.  It is against the CSR principles to outsource work to overseas workers and contractors and to reduce menu of community amenities and services. Secondly, in leadership perspectives, it is apparent that the Verizon’s management are reluctant to address the issues despite the fact the estimated impact is a loss of $ 200 million. Furthermore, the case of Verizon dispute between management and workers shows poor leadership skills, poor organizational behavior, and poor conflicts management skills. A justification of the negative attributes of the organization in the advent of the strike is management greediness to make huge profits at the expense of unsatisfied workforce (Proksch, 2016). Poor leadership and dispute management in the organization are from its retaliatory negotiation stand that the company will accept the laborer’s demand in exchange for job security exclusion, increased health-care costs, cuts in injury and accident benefits, and reduced retirement security funds. 

Role of Leadership in Verizon Labor Conflict

  The occurrence of the 2016 workers’ strike is due to the unresolved issues after the 2011 labor conflict between the organization and employees’ representative unions, IBEW and CWA. Verizon’s has a prevalent autocratic style of leadership because of the making decisions without the consideration of laborers’ feedback, and grievances. Authoritarian managers in Verizon Company have the attribute deprived skills in people management as they are equivalent to the leaders who have negative attitudes towards workers management concentrating only on profit making with less emphasis on workers’ welfare. Poor leadership in the organization is evident in the lack of effective conflict resolution initiatives which was a remedy to the recurring strikes in the company (Coleman ; Vallacher, 2011). One of the characteristics of weak leaders is their inability to consider feedbacks and viewpoints of the junior management and employees. The second feature of poor managers is the failure to exercise adequate response to suggestions and complaints. Therefore, poor leadership according to Proksch (2016) is one of the actors behind the occurrence of the dispute as workers strike reflects the ineffective dispute management in the company as the negotiation procedure deal with the enticement of labor union officials to loosen their stance on the issue.

;For instance, Verizon management during the 2011 dispute should have been a learning experience for enacting sustainable negotiation terms, but the management instead puts aside capital for training 15, 000 workers to acquire knowledge and skills for replacing the then looming strike and work stoppage.; As a form of intimidation during the negotiation time, there was an application of surveillance apps on the union officials taking part in the negotiations. In a nutshell, leadership-challenged management of Verizon Company does not have conflicts management aptitudes for mediation and resolution of workplace disputes.;

Impacts of the Conflicts on Organizational Culture

;The type of dispute and conflict resolution style that an organization applies impact on organizational culture. The organization culture in conflict management perspective defines the conflict management culture that is applicable for future resolution of similar issues. The ranges of conflict culture that conflicts invoke include avoidant, collaborative and dominating conflict cultures (Gelfand ; Leslie, 2012). For the case of avoidant culture in conflict management, the conflicting parties learn to subdue and pull out of the dispute. On the other hand, collaborative culture of managing conflicts that have characteristics such as common problem solving, negotiation and application of constructive dialogue. Lastly, dominating culture in conflict management entails the conflicting sides attempting to outwit each other and individually seek victory and competition without considering the welfare of the other party.;

; The impact of the reluctance of Verizon management to resolve the conflicts is the promotion of the dominating type of conflict resolution cultures. They affect organization culture through the continuation of conflict management norms among the organization’s management leading to a continued culture of encouraging that actual confrontation with the workers so that the organization can win disputes and conflicts (Ghorbani & Razavi, 2011). The issue in its incomplete form leads to the creation of an organizational culture which fosters a working environment with increased turnover and lower staff morale. Furthermore, the problem recurrence of the issues leads to the establishment of negative atmosphere and an organizational culture of common beliefs, cognitions, and values regarding fear of the lack of job security for the workers with reduced efficiency and performance decrement. The case of Verizon constant labor conflict fostering the dominating form of conflict culture leads to an organizational culture with a normative notion among the workers that aggressive behavior in addressing grievances and issues is appropriate. Such a normative concept is possible to spread to the future generations hence the support of normative ways of solving disputes within the organization. The consequences of the dominating culture of resolving conflicts promote an organizational culture where threats, shouting matches, disruptive chaos, yelling, heated arguments and direct confrontations can thrive. 


  The first recommendation for Verizon Company to stop the occurrence of the labor conflicts and disputes again is embracing a democratic form of leadership. The leadership style is essential in preventing the occurrence of differences in that all individuals within the workplace have votes and voices that count to every decision in the organization. According to Estlund, (2013), exhibiting Democratic leadership is an essential way of encouraging dialogue and creating an environment where each person can offer their sentiments and ideas hence preventing the occurrence of labor conflicts. The second proposition is the adoption of a collaborative culture of conflict resolution whose basis is a win–win situation and the recommendable solution to workplace disputes (Ghorbani & Razavi, 2011). The type of culture is one of the approaches whose fundamental goal of mutual satisfaction of the needs of the conflicting parties leads to effective resolution of differences between employers and employees. The limitation of the collaborative culture is communication and trust, but the application of discussion, negotiation, and mediation assist in the filling the gap. Lastly, Verizon’s management do not need to stand its ground all the time but must learn to give in to accommodate the resentment of the laborers.;


; The exploration of Verizon as a representation of the recent labor dispute shows that inevitability of disagreements, conflicts, and disputes in the contemporary society. The organization has a dominating culture in conflict management the management seek victory and competition without considering the welfare of the other party in the objective of reducing the cost of production while maximizing profits. Verizon’s leadership play a critical role in triggering the dispute due to its rigid stance in an autocratic style of leading the laborers which do not provide the workers the chance of o air their grievances in better contracts and pay increase. The consequence of the labor conflict is a poor organizational culture which reduces workers efficiency, morale, and performance due to the dominating type of conflict culture allow threats, shouting matches, disruptive chaos, yelling, heated arguments and direct confrontations to thrive.


Democracy Now Organization. (2016, May 25). 39,000 Verizon Workers Mark Six Weeks on Strike in Biggest U.S. Labor Action in Years. Retrieved from Democracy Now Organization:

Estlund, C. (2013). Working together: how workplace bonds strengthen a diverse democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Proksch, S. (2016). Conflict management. New York: Springer.

Rahim, M. A. (2013). Managing Conflicts in Organizations. Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books.