This case provides a brief history of management conflict and change at Walt Disney Company. Former CEO Michael Eisner was considered to be controversial because of his abrasive style and tendencies toward micromanagement. It was this style that strained several important relationships to the Disney Company. Though his reign as CEO during the 80’s and 90’s helped advance Disney Company, it was his conflicting management style that led to his demise and the beginning of Robert Iger’s epoch at Disney. Since Iger has taken the helm as CEO Disney was ranked 67th in the Fortune 500 list for largest companies, it has become the largest media conglomerate in the world, and relationships and ...view middle of the document...
The authors also state that if conflict levels become too high, the resulting chaos can threaten the organization’s survival.
It is my opinion that Eisner’s harsh style though successful for quite some time was unearthing confrontation and chaos that was threatening Walt Disney Company’s survival. Therefore I believe these conflicts to be dysfunctional.
2. Think back to the stages of conflict described in this chapter. Which stage best described the conflict between Eisner and Jobs? Was it perceived, felt or manifest?
Due to the public nature of verbal attacks involved with the conflict between Eisner and Jobs I would place it in the final stage or manifest stage. According to Ivancevich, Konopaske and Matteson manifest conflict is not only perceived and felt, it is acted upon. Furthermore at this stage conflicting groups are actively engaging in conflict behavior through verbal, written, or even physical attacks. During this stage it is usually very apparent to noninvolved parties that problems exist.
Eisner’s comments to Congress possibly were the ticket to escalating what was maybe that of perceived or felt conflict. Prior to this there may have been conflict but now it was brought public by Eisner verbally. Jobs perception of these comments was taken personally as he retaliated with the threat of ending the Disney-Pixar partnership if Eisner remained CEO. This demonstrates as Ivancevich, Konopaske, and Matteson that dysfunctional outcomes increase as conflict moves from perceived to felt to manifest.
I believe that perceptual differences may have contributed to this manifest conflict. Eisner it appears believed that he was of higher status then Jobs as what we see in status incongruency. Likewise, different perspectives could have contributed to the conflict. As stated by Ivancevich, Konopaske, and Matteson “different perspectives growing out of different organizational cultures can explain why conflict frequently results when companies are merged.”
3. Which of the following best describes Michael Eisner’s and Bob Iger’s approaches to resolving conflict: dominating, problem solving, avoiding, compromising, or accommodating? Explain.
The case portraits Eisner as having a dominating approach to conflict resolution. Ivancevich, Konopaske and Matteson describe that dominating...