Conflict, Decision Making, and Organizational Design



1.      Within the Department of Homeland Security discuss how you could apply the below-listed negotiation strategies to address potential conflicts in the workplace.

Conflict occurs in all organizational workplaces including Homeland Security. In the Homeland Security environments, whereby innovation and ideas are diverse and valued personalities and groups interact and work together, consequently, conflict is likely to arise. Conflict may be defined as a disagreement whereby the involved parties perceive threats to their interests, concerns, or needs. Consequently, negotiating effectively may strengthen the organization, whereas poor strategies of negotiation may ultimately damage the organization (Kotters, 2006). Different negotiation approaches that Homeland Security may implement would depend on the pertinent situation.
Distributive negotiations strategy entails conventional win-lose situations whereby the gain of one party means a loss to the other party. In this kind of negotiation, Homeland Security may employ distributive negotiations to decide on how it would distribute fixed resources, such as finances. The parties involved presuppose that the resources are not enough, and they cannot enlarge the resource. Therefore, the more one party acquires, the less would the other party get.

Distributive bargaining is necessary because there may be some disputes that would not be solved in other ways. These are referred to as being essentially zero-sum. In the event that the threat is high, such conflicts may be very challenging to resolve. For instance, in the case of budgets, Homeland Security as a government agency must be reduced by 30%, and jobs would be at stake, the decision in relation to what to reduce is likely to prove intricate. If the reductions are adequately diminutive, to the extent that the impact on the employees would be inconsequential, however; the distributive decisions would then be uncomplicated to make.

Several theorists in conflict resolution are of the opinion that distributive bargaining is uncalled for. This negotiation strategy faces criticism since it is inclined to result in destructive actions and occasionally forces the parties involved to focus on their differences (Liedtka, 2006).

The distributive negotiation process involves the interaction of the maximum or minimum that one party can accept prior to withdrawal from the deal, and the adversary’s withdrawal value. The ploy is to acquire an idea of the other party’s withdrawal value and subsequently seek to negotiate a conclusion that is nearer to one’s goals than the opponent’s. Whether or not the involved parties realize their targets in distributive bargaining relies on the tactics and strategies they employ (Kotters, 2006).

The most important factor in acquiring a strategic advantage in distributive negotiation is information. Homeland Security ought to guard its information vigilantly and also seek to obtain information from the opponent party. To a large extent, Homeland Security’s bargaining power would be dependent on how clear it is in regard to its targets, options, and withdrawal values. This also depends on how much Homeland Security knows in regard to its opponent party. Once Homeland Security knows these values, it would be in a much advantageous position to decipher when to compromise, and when it should hold firm so as to best impact the reaction of the other party.

Integrative negotiations strategy entails mutual problem solving to realize results that benefit the parties involved. Integrative bargaining is also referred to as interest-based bargaining, or win-win bargaining. This is a negotiation strategy whereby Homeland Security and its disputants would collaborate to realize a win-win resolution to disputes. This strategy emphasizes on developing reciprocally beneficial agreements that are based on the disputants’ interests. These interests may include the desires, needs, concerns, as well as fears that may be important to every party. Prospects for integration exist when there are manifold issues that would be involved in the negotiations. This is because the involved parties ought to be able to execute trade-offs across the issues so as to ensure that every party involved is contented with the outcome (Halpern, 2008).

In Homeland Security integrative bargaining is imperative because it typically generates more satisfactory results for the involved parties. Ingenious, integrative solutions can potentially provide all the involved parties exactly what they target.  The initial step in integrative bargaining is to identify the interests of every party concerned. This would entail some effort by the parties in negotiations since interests are usually less tangible in comparison to positions and are usually not revealed to the public.

After the identification of interests, Homeland Security and the parties in negotiations require to work jointly to seek to decipher the most appropriate ways to realize those interests. Integrative bargaining is an appropriate approach to make mutual value as large possible. Nevertheless, ultimately the Homeland Security and the other parties involved should distribute the generated value. In the event that the parties are able to sufficiently expand the mutual value, the distribution would consequently be uncomplicated.

Principled negotiations strategy entails the approved methods through which the Homeland Security ought to negotiate to in conflict resolution. Principled negotiations occur when negotiators presuppose that each party in a dispute is a rational player who would acknowledge that the deal serves its best interests. The parties involved presume that the compromise thus realized, though inadequate, would be preferable to unrelenting conflict ((Halpern, 2008). The initial step in principled negotiation requires that Homeland Security understands that the parties involved have particular interests, which presents the rationale of the negotiating table.

2.      Determine how evidence-based management could be applied to the Department of Homeland Security.

Evidence-based management has its genesis in the premise that utilization of deeper analysis and employing specifics to the possible extent would facilitate leaders and managers in performing better in their jobs. In the implementation of evidence-based management in Homeland Security, the organization needs to designate specific individuals to consistently do research and review the literature in associated disciplines. The organization also requires developing as well as tolerating an inquiring environment. Formal recognition of excellent examples of applied research results to actual, daily work and participation in research opportunities with the intention of contributing towards identifying best practices that would become targets to exceed (Wheeler, 2001).

The common challenges in the application of principles of evidence-based management include the lack of unambiguous definitions in creating performance measures. Secondly, seamless and accurate processes that recognize those variables that would affect results need to be identified in advance. The examples in this regard may include organizational values, the operating culture, and stakeholder preferences (Liedtka, 2006). Thirdly, Homeland Security requires recognizing that the majority of managers have little time for research, and therefore, they depend on lessons learned as well as the best practices employed by similar organizations.

Some implementable recommendations for in developing the support of evidence-based management include;

  1. Recognize the widespread belief that the principal reason that an organization might not have an answer to an urgent problem is a failure to invest in its learning ability to develop a foundation of information capital from history.
  2. Developing and installing an evaluation and reporting structure and employ the appropriate combination of implements such as balanced scorecards, dashboards, or program appraisal rating tools.
  3. Distinguish that performance measures ought to be geared to assist the team members, instead of top management, evaluate progress and employ remedial action when necessary.

The deficiency of evidence, contradictory evidence, lack of time for research as well as the understanding that evidence that is presented as best practices may probably fail to entirely address the concerns that face the decision makers, only complicates the need to take advantage of evidence-based management at Homeland Security.

3.      Analyze the blocks, stages, and methods of creative decision making to determine the best approach a supervisor within the Department of Homeland Security should follow when making managerial decisions.

Decision-making presents an essential characteristic of contemporary management. Decisions are vital since they determine organizational and managerial actions. A decision signifies a well-balanced ruling and an obligation to act. The five factors below depict the methods of creative decision making (Wheeler, 2001).

Preparation represents a thorough analysis of an issue. This represents the identification of the Problem. The thorough analysis of issues facilitates identification of the genuine problem prior to the process of making the decision. It is appropriately alleged that a problem that is well-defined is actually half-solved. Pertinent information to the problem ought to be compiled so that decisive analysis of the issue is achievable. A clear distinction ought to be made between the symptoms and the problem which may obscure the actual problem (Kotters, 2006). In brief, the supervisor is supposed to investigate the ‘critical factor’ at the Department of Homeland Security. This is the point whereby the options apply. Similarly, whilst diagnosing the actual problem the supervisor ought to consider the causes and determine whether they are uncontrollable or controllable.

Concentration in creative decision making represents focusing resources and energies on recognizing and solving the problem. This also refers to the process of analyzing the issue. Following the definition of the problem, the subsequent step in the process is to scrutinize the problem comprehensively. This is essential to categorize the problem with the intention of knowing who ought to take the decision and who ought to be informed in relation to the decision taken (Wheeler, 2001). The four factors ought to be considered:

  1. Futurity of the resolution.
  2. The scale of its impact.
  3. Quantity of qualitative considerations concerned.
  4. The exclusivity of the decision.

Incubation in regard to creative decision making refers to the collection of pertinent data. After the definition of the problem and scrutinizing its nature, the subsequent step is to acquire the pertinent information in relation to it. All available data ought to be utilized entirely for analyzing the issue. This brings articulateness to all characteristics of the problem.

Illumination or the development of substitute solutions occurs as the next step. The supervisor requires establishing available substitute strategies that would be employed to resolve the problem. Only pragmatic options ought to be considered (Wheeler, 2001).

Verification in this regard refers to the conversion of the decision into deed.  Subsequent to the selection of the most appropriate decision, the preferred decision should be translated into valuable action. Devoid of such action, the decision would remain a statement of good intention. Here, the supervisor must convert his judgment into their decision by means of his leadership. In this regard, the subordinates ought to be taken in confidence. They ought to be persuaded in relation to the appropriateness of the decision. Subsequently, the supervisor is obliged to implement follow-up steps in regard to the implementation of the decision. Feedback presents the final step in the process of decision-making. Here, the supervisor is obliged to make integrated arrangements to make certain that feedback for constantly testing tangible developments beside the expectations. This is similar to checking the usefulness of follow-up measures. It is essential to note that feedback is achievable in the structure of organized data, reports as well as personal observations. In order to decide whether the feedback is essential, the decision taken ought to be sustained or be modified in tandem with changed conditions (Henderson, 2006).

4.      Discuss the environmental and strategic factors that affect the organizational design of the Department of Homeland Security.

The strategy is fundamental in the overall performance of Homeland Security. The chosen strategy is dependent on a variety of contingent factors. It is critical to note that the environment has an influence on the relation between performance and strategy. The combination of a variety of factors contributes to the selected strategies which impact the performance of Homeland Security. Diverse measures of performance provide a distinction in performance. The strategy may be emergent or deliberate. The environment embodies the factors external to the organization that management reacts to, rather than managing. The mechanisms that connect the organization and its environment are essential as they facilitate the understanding of how and why organizational structures may change in accordance with changes in external forces (Wheeler, 2001).

Success, as the prosperity and survival of any organization, is dependent on how the organization is connected with the environment. Bearing in mind that, the strategy is a linkage between the organization and its environment and should be consistent with the values, goals, resources, the external environment, organizational system, and structure.

The size of an organization is a major driving factor for organizational design. A large organization such as the Department of Homeland Security usually needs a more powerful framework for its organizational design. Homeland Security has an enormous employee base and therefore, needs more managers for supervising the workers. Since Homeland Security is highly specialized in its operations, it requires a formal organizational design.

The organization’s life cycle plays a vital role in the development of organizational design. This takes place as the chain of command rises from the officers on the ground to the top hierarchy. The external operational environment also plays a significant role in the organizational design of Homeland Security. Dynamic environments that present constantly changing security situations are usually more tumultuous than secure environments (Henderson, 2006).


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