Conflict in Business Partnerships
Dysfunctional business partnerships cause more emotional and financial* distress than any other troubled relationship, with the possible exception of a troubled marriage.
The Track 2 option is recommended for individuals in business partnerships.
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Edited by Melissa Zarda. See other bibliographies.
Contributors: Gary Nester
Copyright restriction: The contents of this bibliography may not be placed on other websites, but links from other websites may be directed to this page. Hardcopies of this page may be printed for academic purposes.
- Andrews, Peter. (April 2006). Promoting Rivalry for Innovations Sake.
The content of this online article examines “healthy” conflict. According to this executive summary, workplace teams and partner conflict allows innovation to thrive. This article also goes on to describe how a company can foster an environment that stimulates workplace rivalry/conflict (norms, acceptable risk, a playful atmosphere etc.) as well as measures that should be taken when the conflict has gone to far (open communication, work to maintain respect, strategic placement of rivalries etc.)
- Conflict and Cooperation in the Workplace. (2000). Retrieved from the Web on September 16, 2006, from http://www.work911.com.
The content of this article defines two forms of workplace conflict – both substantive (two or more parties disagreeing on a particular issue) and personalized conflict (usually fueled by emotion and targets the “others personality, character or motives). The article describes in fairly good detail how to identify these conflicts and rectify them.
- Kerns, Charles Ph.D. (1999). Preserve and Strengthen a Business Partnership. Retrieved from the Web on September 16, 2006, from http://gbr.pepperdine.edu.
The content of this article reviews how many business partnerships fail due to the parties’ inability to resolve disputes. The article goes on to establish a ten step process for resolving the conflict in the partnership. Also included is a “partnership preservation checklist” that can be completed by both parties prior to engaging in the process.
- Lamp, John; & Altman, Graeme, & Hetherington, Timothy. (2003). Functional Group Conflict in Information Systems Development.
This abstract identifies how interpersonal conflict between IS developers and the companies they either work for or who are subcontracted to can delay or derail projects. The paper stresses soft skills (openness of ideas, communication etc.) to keep IT projects on track. It also helps to identify why conflict is occurring and ways to help manage conflict in a technology company.
- Lehavi, Dorene, Ph.D. (year unknown). The Seven Cs: Partnership Danger Signs – Conflict becoming the Norm.
This article was interesting due to the examination of the physical and mental health ramifications conflict can have on people. Ultimately a person might “win the battle” but “lose the war”. Like other articles, it reviews the importance of regular communication between business partners and recruiting a “coach” if necessary.
- Ogden, Alison. (March 12, 2003). Pick your Partner – Carefully! Retrieved from the Web on September 4, 2006 from http://www.businessweek.com.
This online BusinessWeek article emphasizes the importance of carefully selecting a partner to work with. It cautions that impressive resumes and recommendations do not necessarily guarantee success in a partnership. The article recommends avoiding the potential for future conflict consulting a mediation expert to layout reactions to “what if” type scenarios.
- Shaff, Robert. (2003). Preserving Business Partnerships. Retrieved from the Web on September 28, 2006, from www.aicpa.org.
This article basically summarizes just how common it is for conflict to destroy a business partnership. Many “partners” are friends before they become partners in business. They establish a company to pursue like goals and passion for their work. The article also identifies what it claims to be the major component for partner conflict – lack of communication. The author recommends setting aside time on a daily basis (morning coffee) to openly discuss business objectives, the state of the business and personal feelings. The author also recommends that if all else fails find a facilitator to assist with the dispute.
- Sauer, Patrick. (2004). Work with a Partner (Year after Year after Year).
This article examines how close friends can successfully form and maintain business partnerships while avoiding unhealthy conflict. By maintaining barriers between work and play partners can stay focused on the company. The article also reminds the reader that just because a company might be doing well, doesn’t mean the partnership is healthy.
- Wilken, Timothy. (2002). The Secret of Japan.
This article compares and contrasts Japanese companies with their American counterparts and examines how the typical relationship among partners (suppliers). It is common for American firms to use “power plays” when negotiating with a supplier. In Japan, companies tend to take a softer approach and truly regard their suppliers as “partners”. In summary, the success of the partner helps to contribute to the success of the Japanese company.
This article describes how business partners (or potential ones) should lay the groundwork before forming an alliance. According to this paper, 60% of failed partnerships were the result of “personal conflict” while the other 40% was the result of “unmet expectations”. Documents should be drafted to identify what roles and responsibilities each partner will have in the firm. It also describes mechanisms for maintaining communication and resolving conflict.