Conflict Resolution and Decision Making
Any decisions taken at any level have to take into account the conflicting needs of the individuals who are affected by the decisions and hence conflict resolution is a part of the decision making process. How well the conflicts are resolved depends on the skill and leadership traits of the decision maker.
After all, any decision that is taken is to balance competing interests and is essentially an allocation of shared resources among the different groups. The point here is that in any organization there are scarce resources that need to be allocated among competing groups and hence the decision maker has to ensure that all the needs and concerns of the different groups are taken into consideration when making the decision.
Since most decisions involve some emotional component as well, the decision makers have to be especially sensitive to the needs of the people who are affected by the decisions.
Consensual decision making ensures that most concerns of the different groups are heard and taken into account. However, in the real world organizations, decision making by consensus might not be feasible since each group has its own agendas.
Hence the decision makers have to ensure that the decisions that they take involve some amount of consultation and some amount of overriding the individual agendas. The reason being that though individual concerns can be taken into account, the decision makers have to keep the interests of the organization in mind and hence proceed accordingly. This is needed so as to prevent individuals and groups hijacking the decision making process with their agendas.
In most organizations it is common for the decision makers to elicit as much information as possible from the individuals and then only take the decision so as to provide balance and grievance redressal to the affected parties.
As this article has discussed, conflicts are inevitable when decisions are taken and the best way to deal with conflicts is to resolve them to the satisfaction of the aggrieved parties. However, this is easier said than done in this competitive world where nobody is willing to lose out on lucrative resources and forego their chances.
So it takes quite a bit of skill and managerial abilities not to mention leadership traits to ensure that the decisions result in amicable settlements among the competing groups.
The point here is that while it is not possible to please everybody, it is possible to give them a fair hearing and be patient with them so as to give an impression of consensual decision making.
In extreme cases when the competing groups do not agree or abide with the decision, it is left to the higher-ups in the organization to play the role of peacemakers. This is the process of appeal to the senior management as part of the concerns and grievance redressal. This is an essential component of the decision making process in organizations and only when there is active recourse to appeal can true decision making work.
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