Beyond Rational Systems: Managing Organizational Conflicts From Pluralistic, Open Systems and Stakeholder Perspectives
Keywords:Conflicts, Rational perspective, Pluralist perspective, Open Systems, Stakeholder Management, Interests, Power relationships.
This paper examines organizational conflict in the context of rationalist, pluralist, open systems and stakeholder approaches. It argues that the prevailing rational and unitary approaches which dominate organizational analysis are inadequate theoretical tools for understanding the dynamics of organizational conflicts in a pluralistic society. Methodologically, the research approach is built on meta-synthesis. A meta-synthesis is a research approach that brings together qualitative data to form a new interpretation of a research field. From this approach, the paper critically examines three of the dominant approaches in organizational theorizing (the rational, pluralist and open systems perspectives) and their implications for understanding and managing organizational conflict. A synthesis of the literature combines the three perspectives to propose a framework for managing conflicts in organizations. The paper suggests that the open system perspective, in line with a pluralist perspective, is an appropriate framework for studying the relationship between stakeholder management and conflict management and for understanding the dynamics and the forces shaping conflicts in organizations. A stakeholder approach for understanding interests and sources of organizational conflicts is presented including stakeholders’ sources of power and legitimacy. Finally, a framework encompassing strategies for managing organizational conflicts by applying principles of stakeholder management are suggested.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Martins IYAMABHOR, John, O. OGBOR, Onome Precious AWOSIGHO
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