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Katherine and Tom were working together on a common project of great importance to their employer. Katherine was at the head office in Montreal and Tom

Katherine and Tom were working together on a common project of great importance to their employer. Katherine was at the head office in Montreal and Tom was temporarily stationed in France. Tom joined the company one year ago and saw this first expatriate assignment as a step on the path to the future promotion that he aspired to achieve.

Katherine was also considered for the assignment, but she had personal obligations in Montreal that made it difficult for her to relocate for six months to another country. In the end, she had declined with some regret. She had eight years of experience in her current position, and there was no doubt she was essential to the company, but she felt her career was stagnating and, like Tom, she also aspired to be promoted one day. It was also hard for her to take when junior people on the team appeared to have more standing with the clients than she did because they were the ones who met the clients face-to-face.

Determined to stay on top of the project, Tom bombarded Katherine with text messages and emails throughout the day from France. Of course, with France being six hours ahead of Montreal, these messages often reached Katherine in the middle of the night. The constant pinging on her phone, as early as 2:30 a.m. frustrated Katherine immensely. Some of the messages pertained to important issues, but others were pictures and short videos of the life in Paris. If she didn’t respond immediately, Tom would message her again, and on and on it would go all night long. Even though Tom knew it was the middle of the night for Katherine, he couldn’t tolerate waiting for her to respond and his tone would get more and more argumentative as his day wore on. Katherine was losing precious hours of sleep and it was starting to take a toll on her.

For over a month, Tom did not relent. He kept sending messages all night long and getting angry when Katherine did not respond within minutes. After a month of Tom’s incessant overnight communication, it was apparent to Katherine that they should have set clearer ground rules regarding communication procedures and coordination tactics before he had left for France. She knew it was important to have a system that worked for both of them, and what was happening right now was not working for either of them.

Katherine decided to try something that would work better for her, and that she hoped would still allow Tom to get the job done in France. She would ignore his personal updates on the life in Paris, and she would reserve one hour from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Montreal time (12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Paris) to respond to the important messages that Tom sent overnight. Unfortunately, Tom did not seem to appreciate Katherine’s new way of working and he decided to communicate directly with their superior, Gabriel, to ask for assistance.

The next thing she knew, Katherine was called into Gabriel’s office, and he demanded to know why their project was delayed. Katherine was blindsided. She had no idea there had been a delay. She had been so relieved that Tom had not bombarded her with messages overnight, that she hadn’t followed up with him to ensure that he had delivered the interim report to the client. As the senior member of the team, she should have (and normally would have) made sure it had been done, but she had been so tired from all the sleepless nights that she’d forgotten. At this point, she wasn’t sure how to get things back on track.


Apply the concept of conflict (e.g., causes of organizational conflict, types of conflict, modes of managing conflict) to the situation for Katherine in this case. In your answer, be sure to identify two (2) causes of organizational conflict and to discuss the concept of conflict fully.  Provide one (1) recommendation that could help Katherine to reduce conflict in the case. Provide a rationale for your response and use information from the case to support your analysis

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