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Learn Conflict Resolution With a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration — Human Resource Management

Dealing with conflicts in the workplace is never fun, but it is an essential part of the job of any human resources manager. Workplace disagreements can lead to disastrous results — especially because they often stir up strong emotions.

Resolving workplace conflict is critical to maintaining a healthy work environment for employees. However, the path to a rational solution is often blocked when anger takes over, potentially leading to a major office disruption with poor communication, personality conflicts and misunderstandings among workers. If employees involved cannot resolve their disagreement or if the situation has legal implications, a human resources manager should intervene to help — especially when the following scenarios arise:

  • Employees have conflicting opinions about an unresolvable situation, and their manager does not have a solution.
  • An employee believes their manager cannot provide a fair assessment because their manager gives the other employee involved in the conflict preferential treatment.
  • The employees want a human resources manager to mediate between them and their manager to be a neutral voice of reason.
  • Managers or directors from different departments don’t believe their supervisor can provide an unbiased opinion.

Even employees not directly involved in the conflict are usually affected by workplace conflict, so it’s vital to resolve these situations to avoid a decrease in morale and an increase in turnover. Conflicts can also lead to managers losing their employees’ trust and respect.

Preparation for Confrontation

Students in the online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) – Human Resource Management program at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) learn to effectively resolve these types of conflicts in the workplace.

The program’s Negotiation and Conflict Resolution course is especially helpful in teaching students how to find solutions when co-workers don’t see eye-to-eye and need a mediator. The core subjects of the course material include various conflicts resolution strategies that are important for human resources managers to employ when faced with difficult situations. Students discuss topics like conflict resolution scenarios for different types of organizations; conflict preparation, bargaining and persuasion leverage; and the influence of ethics, gender and culture on different practices.

The course also exposes students to real-life scenarios that they might experience in work setting by simulating negotiations. The role of a human resources manager is always to remain neutral in helping to resolve these situations.

Methods to Finding Solutions

Because of the importance of solving disputes in an office setting, human resources managers must have a strong skill set that includes self-awareness, self-control, assertive communication, collaboration, problem-solving, empathy and listening.

The pandemic has changed the landscape of human resources management and conflict resolution, moving a lot of the work online. This can create additional challenges with none of the parties involved being in the same room.

One way to help resolve intense conflicts in person or via Zoom is a three-step resolution method that sets the table for bringing about a solution. Those steps are:

  • Engaging respectfully: Respect is a key to dealing with co-workers involved in conflict. Using the right tone and words can help resolve a situation.
  • Listen fully: Listen to and consider each side’s perspective and feelings.
  • Verbalize feelings: Make sure that each party understands why there is a conflict from the other party’s viewpoint.

Collaborative problem-solving is another method of resolving conflicts. The six steps in this process are defining the primary needs surrounding the conflict, brainstorming solutions, choosing solutions that meet the needs of both parties, creating an agenda outlining who will assume each task, implementing the plan, evaluating solutions and reevaluating, if necessary.

Employees should never hesitate to ask human resources to help resolve their conflicts with each other. Students in NKU’s B.S.B.A. – Human Resource Management program learn the vital foundations to mediate these scenarios and have fulfilling careers.

Learn more about NKU’s online B.S.B.A. – Human Resource Management program.

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