Conflict In Santa's Workshop Case Study

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In Case 8 “Conflict in Santa’s Workshop: Learning to Be a Team Player at ToyKing”, ToyKing was a large, U.S.-based toy design and manufacturing company that specialized in educational toys and games. Located in Torrance, California, the Design Studio headquarters consisted of over 60 toy designers and about 20 technicians and fabricators. Out of the toy designers, 15 were senior designers and the remaining 45 were junior designers. Their goal is to come up with new innovative toy concepts each year to help improve ToyKing. This case goes on to talk about how Karen Washington, a junior designer at ToyKing’s was agitated that senior designer Jeff Chang essentially took over the presentation while using Karen’s concept without giving credit. The …show more content…
Karen essentially used both Mike and Andy’s contributions as technicians and fabricators to help sharpen her presentation, but never once did she acknowledged their assistance during her prototype presentation. Conflict is going to arise with ideas, but by analyzing the five conflict styles, Karen was displaying the competing and avoiding style. According to the book, “The competing style describes both assertive and uncooperative behavior. This means that the person is pursuing her own interests at the expense of the other party and relying on whatever strategy is necessary for the effective achievement of her own interests” (Elsbach, 2016). Karen clearly felt that she should make all of the decisions, as it was her idea that she owned, therefore, avoiding any suggestions or conflict with Sam and Cassie. What Karen should have done instead of being shady was collaborate and recognize her peer’s contributions much …show more content…
Since she was a junior designer, it was not uncommon for her to be the creative lead on a project. “Senior designers had supervisory responsibilities for all the projects that were underway in the Design Studio, but junior designers could (and often would) be seen as the “creative lead” on design products that they spearheaded” (Elsbach, 2016). Karen could have taken the distributive negotiation approach where Karen maintain control of her concept. Appealing to Jeff ideas, Karen can allow Jeff to talk about his ideas only, like his financial reviews. The negotiation trap that Karen should be aware of and avoid is thinking that the pie is fixed. You have to make sure in the end that both parties have an opportunity to get what they want. If both parties did not get what they want, then that is where a mediator comes into play. “Mediation involves a third neutral third party who listens to both sides of a negotiation and then crafts an agreement” (Elsbach, 2016). A higher authority would definitely need to establish an agreement if both Karen and Jeff could not work out their

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