Conflict in an Organization

Had a brainwave so i decided to just let it simmer out in a blog..

Gotta talk about this book i hv been trying to finish .. The Search by John Battelle. You can click on it on the right column.. His book is basically about the search industry and how Google and its rivals are leading the technology wave that is fast changing our social and cultural fabric. Just look at this, students these days rely on the internet for school work, be it research for projects, essays, ideas for presentations, images for your Powepoint slides. We interact alot on cyberspace too, we IM, (when not texting SMSes on our cellphones), we look at other pple’s profiles on the social networks like Friendster (popular in Singapore), MySpace (popular mong the music lovers in US especially), Orkut (very popular in Brazil), TheFaceBook (a the No. 1 collegiate networking site for US) et al.. IF not, pple read blogs. This is the New World. I don;t know about the generations younger than me, but if they are born and raised in a world where they relay primarily on the Internet for people-to-people interaction, they r going to be even more plugged into the web. It reminds me of Science fiction i read when i was young, but i am digressing.

So anyway, i was talking about John Battelle’s book. There was this segment on how Larry Page and Sergey Brin met for the first time. They are smart-asses and they verbally challenged each other’s brains like hell (helps too since they didn;t like each other very much at first sight, though the other guy was too pompous) Well, you know the story later on how they worked together and founded the most successful search company ever since. But they retained that seemingly constructively confrontational style of intellectual discourse throughout their process of building Google. Now, how many of us are comfortable with such a confrontational style at work or study? Can you handle constructive criticism well or even see where the line is drawn between being a team player or being constructively critical? I will be honest by saying that I am still trying to learn where that line is. Truth is, I think an oranization that fosters and is able to manage constructive and intellectual conflict is one that would succeed. You don;t want to work with too many yes-men or hire too many of them. They breed familiarity and familiarity breeds complacence and ultimately incompetence over a long period of time. You want people who think different, people who are able to complement your weaknesses but still have strengths that are able to be useful in a team environment. I think watching sports helps people to identify how to build teams. You can’t have a team of offensive-minded people who dun watch their defense, yes defense is boring but somebody needs to do that in order for offense to work and create a victory. The defense and offense components won;t always see eye to eye, and conflict results, but thats not their job, thats the job of a the manager. Somebody needs to watch the bottomline.

I must qualify my statement by saying that you want pple who understand the process of intellectual discourse in the right context as well. That is, after arguing, a deciison has to be made to move forward, and then the team has to act as a team, i.e rally behind the decision made by the team and be supportive of the decision after the open criticism and intellectual exploration stage is completed. Otherwise, nothing will ever get done and the organization might as well enrol itself in debate competitions where they stand a much better chance of commercially exploiting their strengths.

Didn’t think i was arguing to point, i will think abt it and maybe make some changes later, if you have your own views, do share them.. Lets embrace conflict.

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2 thoughts on “Conflict in an Organization

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