When conflict develops between people at work, it is often necessary for management to intervene in order to assist parties to resolve their differences in an amicable manner. Various factors can influence whether and how a manager becomes involved in resolving a conflict. For instance, research suggests that managers who possess transformative leadership qualities may be more likely to initiate constructive efforts to resolve conflict (Saeed et al. 2014). The cultural expectations can also help determine whether employees will directly request managerial assistance to help resolve conflicts or whether managers will initiate the intervention themselves (Kozan, Ergin, & Varoglu 2014). However, often times, frontline managers, regardless of the environment, are increasingly expected to play an active role in the resolution of conflict at work (Teague & Roche, 2012).
Cognition is the process through which the human mind screens various thoughts in order to organize one's perception of events that are occurring in the environment (McFarlane, 2006). It is critical for workplace mediators to convey to their employees a thorough understanding of their perspectives and assist them in making a determination of the facts of the conflict and the key issues. In addition, individuals should perceive that their manager understands what matters to them. Cloke and Goldsmith (2005) emphasized the importance of workplace mediators and managers creating questions to encourage individuals to share information. These series of questions and pro-active behavior may be reflected onto the employee that the manager is interested in what they are thinking and perceiving, and is interested in knowing more about the situation they are experiencing.
Cloke, K., & Goldsmith,J. (2005). Resolving conflicts at work: Eight strategies for everyone on the job. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Kozan, M. K., Ergin, C., & Varoglu, D. (2007). Third party intervention strategies of managers in subordinates’ conflicts in Turkey. International Journal of Conflict Management 18(2), 128–147.
McFarlane, C. (2006). Knowledge, learning and development: A post-rationalist approach. Progress in Development Studies 6 (4),: 287–305
Saeed, T., S. Almas, M. Anis-ul-Haq, & Niazi, G. (2014). Leadership styles: Relationship with conflict management styles. International Journal of Conflict Management 25 (3), 214–225
Teague, P., & Roche, W.K. (2012). Line managers and the management of workplace conflict: Evidence from Ireland. Human Resource Management Journal 22 (3): 235–251