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Discuss the situation at American Airlines in regard to the stages of conflict the author presents.
American Airlines is one of the largest airline networks in the world with millions of annual profit and an enormous amount of passengers. However, the case of purchasing of Reno Air caused the burst of workers’ dissatisfaction. They demanded higher wages as airline profit was extremely high according to the lower fuel prices at that time. Antecedent conditions of the conflict can be revealed by the fact of relatively high employees’ earnings early comparing to the airlines incomes. Workers’ struck for their earlier profits by not coming to work caused 150 millions of damages for the company and characterized the perceived conflict stage. It got quite challenging, especially with American Airlines, and now American Airlines is paying the price for that competitive atmosphere. The stage of perceived conflict is held only by the one part of the conflict, by workers. They were totally dissatisfied with their overtime work and low earnings eventually refusing to work in such conditions. They were waiting for compensations and improvement of their workplace conditions. However, in reply, employees received the suppression at the stage of manifest conflict without getting much and without great changes in their working conditions. As a result, the conflict between American Airlines and its pilots can not be characterized as the conflict with positive aftermath. The right agreement was not reached as the U.S. government simply forced the management of American Airlines to make its workers return to the work.
Analyze possible conflict resolution methods using the direct conflict management techniques discussed in the chapter.
American Airlines refused to find the both side satisfactory agreement and used indirect conflict management techniques, namely suppression and forcing pilots to return to work, without giving them any explanations and compensations. According to the chapter, this conflict can be characterized as a win-lose one, where only one part is satisfied, in this case American Airlines. Such strategy of dealing with this type of conflict as authoritative command fails to solve the root causes of the issue and leads to the same conflicts in the future. Firstly, for partial satisfaction of both sides, they should reach a compromise to meet both part wishes. In contrast, American Airlines came to the majority of decisions without negotiating with employees and not even properly considering their requirements. American Airline considered the purchase with the Allied Pilots Association's union leaders but closed the deal on December 28, 1998 without first reaching consensus with the pilots union over the way it would merge the two airlines. Moreover, the next important stage of solving the problem is the direct management technique of collaboration and problem solving. American Airlines and pilots should work together on finding true satisfaction of both sides without compromises by working through differences, solving the conflict with “win-win” result.
Suggest possible distribute or integrative negotiation approaches available to the dispute.
Considering the distribute negotiation approaches, “hard” distributive is not appropriate as it causes a competition between two parties of the dispute. In contrast to this is “soft” negotiation approach as this strategy leads to a mutual accommodation in which every party gives up some values to reach a mutual agreement. For example, American Airlines can increase wages of pilots, find bargaining zone, and pilots can sometimes agree on overtime working hours. Taking into consideration the integrative negotiation approaches, parts of this dispute should pay attention to the foundations that help to gain an integrative agreement. There are three most important ones: attitudinal, behavioral and information. Firstly, attitudinal foundations could play an important role in solving the problem. Two parts should trust each other sharing all the possible information with each other. Secondly, during the negotiation, the behavior of both parts is important as it has a direct influence on the results. Neither American Airlines nor pilots should make premature judgments as it was with president declaration when pilots agreed to everything without waiting from Congress to impose a contract on them. They should firstly negotiate everything and only after that make decisions. Information foundations are also substantial. Both parties should be familiar with BANTA that could help them when they do not reach the truly satisfied solution after the negotiation. Each party would know what it should do taking into consideration values of another one.
American Airlines are intensively working now on solving this conflict making a survey of gaining satisfaction of employees and negotiating with its workers. The results of the survey are not consoling as the majority of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. However, Carty convinces that changes will come soon. He says that such a survey will probably be painful to the morale in a company unless it causes some changes.