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“Elise and Unproductive Conflict at Main Street Bakeries” . Which conflict theories best explain what is happening in the scenario?

The case study “Elise and Unproductive Conflict at Main Street Bakeries” reflects the
typical instance of the theory of structural source of conflict. According to Raines (2013),
structural sources of conflict comprise of “unfair, unclear, or inefficient policies, procedures,
organizational cultures, or ingrained practices that repeatedly give rise to disputes irrespective
of personnel changes” (Raines, 2013, p. 60). The assistant managers at store number seventy-
five would not retain for longer time because of the erroneous policies implemented by the store
manager – Janice. She was clearly not candid in her communication and would have no
empathy for the assistant managers’ feelings. In addition, her refusal to delegate any important
tasks to the assistant managers showed her lack of trust in the assistant managers.
Moreover, according to Reyes (2013), “…individuals within a cultural group will continue
to exhibit individualized differences in the type of fairness they prefer…” This introduces a bias
among the individuals in the group because of unfair treatment of one over the other. In case of
Janice, she might have different cultural preferences over who should get a merit bonus, and
therefore her distribution of merit bonuses lacked transparency.
In addition, the author also defines “power” in Power in Theory and Practice as the ability
to accomplish one’s goals over the objections of others if necessary (Raines, 2013). She also
explains that managers should be able to exercise their power and authority when others view
their exercise of power as legitimate and useful. Building positive relationships with one’s
subordinates, peers, and supervisors is crucial to building and maintaining power as a manager.
However, in case of Janice, she failed to create such relationship with her subordinates, and
therefore introduced conflict.
Raines, S. S. (2013).
Conflict management for managers: Resolving workplace, client, and
policy disputes
. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/ John Wiley & Sons.

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