Conflict management case study- The dilemma at Zarertis

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The dilemma at Zarertis (The Case)

Conflict management case study

Company Reorganization

Zarertis’s difficulties led to the current predicament to Abir Afsar, a district sales manager for Zmrertis, whose district covers two southern states. Sakib Hasan Had been another district manager in the neighboring southern state until last week. At the time, the regional sales manager, the superior of both Abir and Sakib, announced reorganization in response to Zavertis’s hard times. Sakib Hasan’s district was merged into Abir Afsar’s district, and Abir was made the District Sales position this larger territory. Sakib Hasan lost his managerial position and was reassigned to a sales position, which means he had to report to Abir Afsar.

 

Abir felt sure he was going to hare difficulty with Sakib. It’s hard enough to be demoted, even if it is for legitimate economic reasons. But to hare to report to a former peer makes the situation even more trying. Abir decided to meet with Sakib to head off any problems that might arise because of Sakib’s discontent with the new organizational arrangements.

Sakib and Abir Meet

As Sakib Hasan walked into Abir’s office, Abir decided he had to establish a clear-cut, superior-subordinate relationship with Sakib. At this critical juncture, being too soft and too understanding only would encourage Sakib Hasan to think he was still a manager. Abir thought it was necessary to put Sakib in his place. This tone was set immediately, as the ensuing conversation demonstrates:

Abir: Come on in, Hasan. Have a seat.

Sakib: Thanks, Abir. Hey, What’s this Hasan bit? You always call me Sakib.

Abir: Well, times have changed Hasan. With our new relationship, we need to change the way we treat each other. And the best way for us to do that is for me to treat you as an average salesperson and for you to treat me as your boss, not your peer.

Sakib: I don’t understand any of this Abir. You know I’m hurting right now. You’re just rubbing salt into the wounds.

Abir: Not true, Hasan. Nothing like that all. We both have to deal with the new reality, whether we like it or not. And our new relationship is part of this new reality. Let’s begin with what we call each other. I call my salespeople by their first or last namest at my discretion and the new ones call me Mr. Afsar. This creates the respect necessary for a proper business relationship.

Sakib: I can’t believe what I’m hearing. We’ve known each other for 10 years. In fact, I helped the old regional manager hire you. You’ve done well since then, and I’ve been proud of your success. We’ve been on a first-name basis for 10 years. Not only that, I’m 15 years older than you are. And now you want me to call you Mr. Afsar. Forget it, Abir. You’re not going to earn my respect and cooperation by humiliating me. I’ll quit before I let you do that. Do you understand that, Abir?

Abir: I’m trying hard to get our new relationship started on the right foot. But your defensiveness is really destroying it. This kind of attitude problems is going to upset everything I’ve worked for in my district. What I’m trying to say is that it all amounts to this; we can only have one chief. The rest of you have to be Indians.

Sakib: Abir, I don’t know where all this nonsense is coming from. Now you’re talking about chiefs and Indians. You’ve watched too many old westerns. You’re not Gary Cooper, and this isn’t high noon.

Abir: Maybe you had better think long and hard about our company’s new organizational structure. Perhaps it just isn’t right for you, Hasan.

Read: A real conflict management case with solution

Abir Reconsiders

 

After Sakib Hasan left the office, Abir Afsar immediately picked up the phone and called Sayma Akhter, the regional sales manager, and his boss. Sayma had always supported Abir, and he knew he count on her empathy and support now.

Abir: Hello Sayma, I think one of the problems caused by Zaverties’s reorganization may soon be solved. Sakib Hasan might quit. In fact, I would be surprised to find his resignation on my desk tomorrow morning.

Sayma: Wait a minute, Abir slow down. I don’t understand what you are talking about.

Abir: Sakib and I just had a confrontation. He displayed a real attitude problem, and I told him that perhaps Zaverties’s new look wasn’t right for him. I got the impression that he’d rather quit than work under a former peer. If he does quit, I’ll be one less headache for me and for Zavertis.

Sayma: Let’s go back a few steps, Abir what did you mean when you said that Sakib displayed a real attitude problem?

Abir: I told Sakib he had to call me Mr. Afsar. Respect is important. I’m the boss and he is a subordinate. That’s the way it should be. Can’t have two bosses in one division, can you?

Sayma: Let me see if I have this straight, you demanded that Sakib call you Mr. Afsar and he implied he’d quit before he did that. Is that what happened?

Abir: Well, that’s about right. It wasn’t a particularly long meeting, Sayma.

Sayma: What’s this Sayma stuff, abir? You call me Ms. Akter.

Abir: What? I’ve never called you Ms. Akter. It’s always been Sayma. Is this some kind of punishment?

Sayma: No punishment, Abir. Just a demonstration. I just wanted to see how you’d like being is Sakib’s shoes. I didn’t like it much, did you? Through it was a punishment, didn’t you?

Abir: well, I guess I see your point.

Sayma: I expect good judgment from my manager, particularly in tough times like these. Sakib is 55 years old and has been with Zaverties for over 20 years. He is a solid, loyal employee. But I had to cut my managerial staff, and I cut Sakib instead of you. I thought you were a better overall manager. Now, I’m not too sure. Not sure at all. Maybe I demoted the wrong guy.

Abir: What can I do? How can I get myself out of this mess?

Sayma: You created it, you get yourself out of it. I’m not going to clean up after you. But you had better solve this problem and solve it quickly. Call me within 24 hours with some good news, Abir. And don’t be late.

 

Abir and Sakib resolve their conflict

 

It’s the next morning. Sakib Hasan enters Abir’s office and sits down.

Sakib: We have to talk. I called Sayma after encounter yesterday, and she said you’d have something to say to me.

Abir: Sakib, I was nervous about our meeting yesterday and I turned it into a stupid confrontation. Since I put my foot in my mouth yesterday, why don’t we start this new relationship again? But let’s do it better this time. Do you have any idea about what you want to do? I know Sayma’s eliminated your old job, and you are back to selling again.  But is there anything else you are like to do?

Sakib:  I know that, Abir. And I appreciate your concern. I do have a few ideas, but I’m not sure I should mention them. They are pretty radical.

Abir: Don’t hold them back, Sakib. Let’s think.

Sakib: Ok, abir. Mt old district’s been merged into yours. And I’m back to being a salesperson, going to doctors, drugstores and hospitals in territory five. My idea is simple. Let me continues to manage the old district unofficially, of course. All my old salespeople will continue to report to me, not to you. I’ll be doing two jobs-selling and managing. That way I do what the company wants, but I still maintain my pride.

Abir: I don’t know Sakib. I don’t think that Sayma would think I was very “managerial” if I let you continue to manage, even though you don’t have the title anymore.

Sakib: Hmm

Abir: Well, maybe she doesn’t have to find out.

Sakib: Hmmm

Abir: Ok, I won’t advertise our new arrangement to anyone and you go ahead with your plan. But you are gonna owe me a big one.

Sakib: Thanks, abir. I think this might work out well for everybody.

 

Sayma’s Reaction to abir’s deal with Sakib

 

Six months later, Sayma Akter fired Abir Afsar. The official reason was his inability to perform the job. The unofficial reason was his series of deception and blatant lies. In order to support Sakib, abir not only had left the supervision of Sakib’s old district to Sakib, but had never even visited the district or the salespeople in it.

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It was only by accident that Sayma discovered what was going on. A salesperson from Sakib’s former district had complained to her about a performance appraisal he had received from Sakib. Sayma corrected him, saying it was from Abir Afsar. The salesperson told her it was signed by Abir but had actually been written by Sakib. Further, he said he had never even met Abir Afsar. A brief investigation followed, and the truth was uncovered. In firing both Abir Afsar and Sakib Hasan, Sayma indicated that their special arrangement was not the reason for the dismissals- it was their deliberating lying. Sayma made the following comments about these unfortunate events:

Both Abir Agsar and Sakib Hasan have been real disappointments. Abir demonstrated incredibly bad judgment in dealing with Sakib. In the beginning, he was too tough, and later, he was too lax. Abir could have delegated some managerial responsibilities to Sakib but not all of them. As for Sakib, had he been open with me, we might have used his “creative solution” as a basis for working out an arrangement acceptable to everyone. But the lies and deception he and Abir used to hide their actions were inexcusable. I can’t rely on people I can’t trust, and these guys are proven lies.

Abir and Sakib both wanted to discuss this matter with me, but I refused. There’s no conflict between Abir and me, or between Sakib and me. I just let them go. You can’t negotiate on principle. You either have it or you don’t. and these “ gentlemen” don’t have it. It’s too bad, but that’s the way it is.

 

Questions:

 

  1. What kind of conflict has developed? Is it structural, interpersonal, constructive or a combination? Defined your answer with as many details as needed.
  2. Consider Abir Afsar’s second meeting with Sakib Hasan: which of the conflict resolution approaches most closely approximates Abir’s behavior? What are the advantages of using this approach in this solution?
  3. After his meeting with Sayma Akter but before his second meeting with Sakib Hasan, had Abir Afsar come to you for advice on how to handle his conflict with Sakib, What would you have advised?

Solution

We will now be putting forward the scenario of the case:
  • Abir Afser district sales manager
  • Sakib Hasan also district sales manager of another territory
  • Sakib Hasan’s territory merge with Abir’s one
  • Abir Afser appointed as a district manager for this big territory
  • Sakib Hasan lost his previous position and reassigned to a sales position.
  • Abir Afser becomes the new boss of Sakib Hasan where they were the same position previous.
  • Abir decided to meet with Sakib to avoid any discontent arise by Sakib with the new organizational agreements.
  • He (Abir Afser) decided to create a superior-subordinate relationship with Sakib
  • Abir Afser try to treat Sakib as an average Salespersons and force Sakib to call him Mr. Afser
  • Sakib said, they mentioned their first name for the last 10 years and he is 15-year older than Afser.
  • Afser also said we can only have one chief, rest of to be Indians.
  • Abir then called regional sales manager Sayma and get advice from her what should do.
  • Abir rearranges a meeting with Sakib and reached a decision. Sakib manages his old district unofficially. And all his previous salespeople report to him directly as par previous rules.

From the above scenario, we can identify that there has a combine conflict arises. The main problem arises because of the promotion of Abir Afser instead of Sakib Hasan.

 

Q-1: What kind of conflict has developed? Is it structural, interpersonal, constructive or a combination? Defined your answer with as many details as needed.

From the above situation, it seems that an interpersonal conflict has grown in between Abir Afsar and Sakib Hasan. They both were district sales managers of different districts. They possessed the same power and authority as district sales manager. The problem arise when Sakibhasan’s territory merged with Abir’s. As a result, abir Afser gained promotion as a district manager and Sakib Hasan lost his position and demoted to a sales position. Abir Hasan became the boss of Sakibhasan where they used to be in the same position before. That creates dissatisfaction in Sakib Hasan’s mind. Also, Abir Afser decided to create a superior-subordinate relation with Sakib Hasan where Sakib is 15 years older than Abir Afser. Abir Afser tries to treat Sakib as an average Salesperson and force Sakib to call him Mr. Afser. It’s a conflict that occurred within two individuals due to actual or perceived pressures from incompatible goals or expectations.

 

Q-2: Consider Abir Afsar’s second meeting with Sakib Hasan: which of the conflict resolution approaches most closely approximates Abir’s behavior? What are the advantages of using this approach in this solution?

Abir Afser reconsiders his decision after talking with regional sales Manager Sayma Akter. He realizes that it was not a good one that forces Sakib to called him “Mr. Afser”. Abir Afser then goes to negotiation and agrees with Sakib’s proposal. Sakib proposes that- let him continue to manage the old district-unofficially. All his old salespeople will continue to report to him, not to Abir Afser. He will also work his territory and doing selling and managing.

Mr. Afser agrees with that even he knows that it will not legal and the regional sales manager will question Abir’s managerial skills. It is a completely accommodating the style of conflict management because it contains the high concern of Sakib’s demand and low interest of Abir’s. Basically, Accommodation allows one party to do what another party wants when a conflict arises.

Using this approach has also beneficial sites:

  • The advantage of accommodation is that conflict can be quickly resolved
  • It helps with short-term goals.
  • The accommodating party may also feel like they have contributed goodwill toward the goal.
  • Accommodation can also lead to a lack of self-esteem within the accommodating party.

 

Q-3: After his meeting with Sayma Akter but before his second meeting with Sakib Hasan, had Abir Afsar come to you for advice on how to handle his conflict with Sakib, What would you have advised?

Abir Afser must need to reconsider his decision. He and Sakib Hasan had in the same position. So, it is the issues of power, ego, and prestige. It is difficult for Sakib Hasan to maintain a superior-subordinate relationship with Abir Afser, because they were in the same position before. So, I advised him to go to compromising with Sakib. Mr. Abir does not need to share power with Sakib, because even Sakib is disappointed in losing authority the conflict arises because of the superior-subordinate relationship. So, If Mr. Afser just eliminates these issues and keep personal relation as past the conflict may solve.

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