To provide an informative and stimulating view of some key issues in interdepartmental conflict.
Based on the first study in the German‐speaking world, of the impact of interdepartmental conflict, in the period 2002‐2003, 300 enterprises participated. Respondents were at all levels of business hierarchy and all sizes of enterprise and ranged from junior manager to chairman and from the smallest firms to global market leaders.
Several conclusions: it is a common illusion that an enterprise is one big happy family. It is a mixture of groups and people with aims, perceptions and preferences which can easily and frequently conflict with one another. This is clearly a major and often underestimated source of stress, demotivation and inefficiency.
Demonstrates ways of using conflict productively. The first step is a self‐critical appraisal of one's own role in terms of interdepartmental cooperation. The next step of self‐reflection entails the reader coming to terms with any possible prejudices he/she may have towards other departments. These stereotypes form and colour behaviour at departmental interfaces and frequently become self‐fulfilling prophecies. A limitation of the study is that small firms with up to ten employees were not included.
The paper offers many new insights through the survey and primary research on which it is based. Also, the German experience is highly relevant to the UK and USA, while at the same time, providing some useful bases for cross‐cultural comparison.
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