From Discord to Harmony

Making Your Workplace Hum

Edited by:
LaVena Wilkin, Sullivan University
Tony Belak, University of Louisville

Published 2020

Conflicts happen, and the workplace can be a cacophony for competing interests. Consider that organizational culture is an ensemble of shared values, beliefs, assumptions, perceptions, and norms. Organizations are not solos. They are an accompaniment of individuals, departments, and divisions, and each is competing for scarce resources. Measure in a little power imbalance and organizational political posturing. Then, scale in the fact that today’s managers are faced with diversity and cultural issues ranging from race and gender to individual ethnicity, principles, and philosophies, about which employees are more vocal. All this discord can strike a sharp note of dissonance. However, effective resolutions can change this discord to harmony.

Consider that music is not a single note. Rather, it is the silence between the notes that makes beautiful music, and conflict is that silence. Unfortunately, conflict has a bad reputation, and it is often labeled as disagreement, fighting, or arguing that leads to stress, retaliation, and resentment. Some managers spend a disproportionate amount of their workdays dealing with conflicts. They have not learned what causes conflicts or how to productively manage them. As a result, they often avoid or force outcomes causing discord, fractured relationships, loss of productivity, and even lawsuits. Learning to fine tune inevitable conflicts will help managers orchestrate a more harmonious workplace.

From Discord to Harmony: Making the Workplace Hum is largely evidence-based, and many of the chapters contain cutting-edge research by experts in their respective fields.

Acknowledgments. SECTION I: FROM DISCORD. Toxic Leaders: Who They Are, What They Do, and What You Can Do About Them at Work, Teresa A. Daniel. Recognizing and Responding to Workplace Bullying and Mobbing: Guidelines for Business Leaders, Maureen Duffy. Workplace Incivility: Implications and Solutions, Helen MacLennan. Restorative Justice: Principles and Inclusive Applications in Organizations, Nancy Geist Giacomini and Monica Valentine. Maintaining Harmony in Irish Workplaces: A View of Workplace Dispute Resolution Practice in Ireland, Gerry Rooney. What Should Your Organization Know Before Embarking on the Exploration–Exploitation Journey? The Exploration–Exploitation Paradox: Insights, Considerations, and Managerial Implications, Shalom Charles Malka. Exchanging Cacophony for Congruence: Lessons From the Public Sector, Angie Lewis, Kyle Werner, and Sandy Zehr. Manage Anger Spectrum Pitfalls to Work in Your Favor, Kimberly Castle. The Era of #MeToo and Time’s Up: A Spotlight on Sexual Harassment at Work, Teresa A. Daniel. Join the Peace Train: Incorporating Peace-Building Principles and Practices in Your Organization, Christina Murtaugh. A Workplace Bullying Perspective: Blending the Melodies of Ballads (the Story) and Classical (the Research), William Hymes and LaVena Wilkin. SECTION II: TO HARMONY. Coaching Your People Through Tough Situations, Barbara J. Lassiter. Conflict Coaching Model Techniques for Workplace Managers, Leaders, and Practitioners, Gary Boettcher. Managing Conflict in the Local Church, Tony Rose. Brain Function’s Role in Conflict: How the Lizard and the Puppy Effect Decision-Making, Peggy McNeive. Canines and Cubicles: Dogs in the Workplace, David M. Simpson. Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes for Managers and Practitioners, Gary Boettcher. SECTION III: MAKING THE WORKPLACE HUM. From Discord to Harmony: Five Skills for Keeping Your Workplace Humming, LaVena Wilkin. How to Manage Workplace Conflict Through Intelligent Conversations and Conflict Management Tools: For Executives, Leaders, Managers, and Practitioners, Gary Boettcher. The Work of Employee Engagement: Practical Strategies for the Workplace, E. Kobena Osam and Brad Shuck. Culture by Design: A Case Study in Transformational Change, Diane Banic. The Evolution of Ethical Leaders and Organizations, Marilyn Faulkenburg. In Pursuit of Harmony: How a Shared Leadership Practice Works as a Conflict Management System, Alexia Georgakopoulos and Barb Allen. Incorporating Evidence-Based Conflict Management Into Organizational Ombuds Practice, Toran Hansen, Lisa Witzler, and Tyler Smith. What in the World Is an Ombudsman? Tony Belak and Creighlynn D. Thoele. About the Contributors.