In this viewpoint, the authors argue that the predominant method of analyzing conflict management focuses too heavily on the managerial interests in administrative efficiency and productivity rather than on the needs of individuals and organizations. The aim of this paper is to employ Weber's analysis of conflict systems, specifically the distinction between formal and substantive rationality, to support the authors’ view.
This is a viewpoint, where content is dependent on the author's opinion and interpretation.
Conflict management based on Weber's theories of formal and substantive rationality will benefit organizations and society by promoting a more positive perception of corporate behavior.
Future research could examine the relationship between organizational justice and the more global concepts of formality and rationality. Similarly, future research on justice may be expanded by through the notion and perception of legitimacy by members of the organization. How employees accept a system as fair and just has potential import for future justice research.
The combination of formal and substantive rationality offers a practical, and meaningful, way of dealing with conflict from a personal orientation as well as an organizational one. It orients conflict resolution toward people rather than productivity concerns. It further safeguards organizational interests by minimizing litigation, negative publicity, and other adverse effects of conflict.
Weber theorized that formal rationality requires organizations to develop clear, objective, and universal procedures in order to carry out administrative routines. Substantive rationality, in contrast, acknowledges that specific cases may demand particularized decision‐making focusing on individual cases. The paper draws on the procedural justice literature to show how these procedures can be implemented in a fair manner.
Gross, M., Hogler, R. and Henle, C. (2013), "Process, people, and conflict management in organizations: A viewpoint based on Weber's formal and substantive rationality", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 90-103. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061311296152Download as .RIS
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