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Conflicting Targets

One particularly interesting phenomenon for understanding organisations and to identify dysfunction, are so-called ‘Conflicting Targets’ (=contradictory expectations or goal requirement for a responsible person, team or organisational unit). Here is one popular example: A call centre is being measured by the Sales Director about customer satisfaction, and the Finance Director is measuring the cost of each call (=short call time). The department leader is heading for burn-out.

On the one hand, organisations are built around (goal-) conflicts and on the other side goal conflicts can be an indicator of dysfunctional networks in unfavourable areas of the organisation. In the latter case, this would create structural over-load or action blockages: Who is going to like the leader of the call centre now? How is he supposed to equip and train his people? It must be examined whether, in such a case, it is desired that processing the conflict evaluation lies with the department leader (and that, therefore, he is assessed about how cleverly he solves this), or whether this is an expression of the avoidance of the prioritisation conflict by the Sales Director (which is more frequently the case).

Thus, the question in the background of the guiding process networking is whether there is a lack of networking in the board (and that, therefore, an unfavourable networking lands with the department leader) or whether the lack of networking competence lies with the call centre leader, because he cannot manage goal conflicts well. Both are conceivable, and one does not necessarily exclude the other.