According to the theory of relative deprivation, a sense of injustice is aroused when individuals come to believe that their outcome is not in balance with the outcomes received by people like them in similar situations. This occurs in this case where although the four employees are on the same level. This is evident in the case as although Blackman is slightly ahead in the sales of the Southern Area, Frerris is rewarded with more responsibilities and Blackman has a sense of injustice receiving none.
When people have a sense that they are at an unfair disadvantage relative to others, or that they have not received their fair share, they may wish to challenge the system that has given rise to this state of affairs and conflict arises. In this case the system was the new organizational structure. “Conflict appears to be an integral component of human functioning” (Slabbert, 2003, Pg 83). There are many different definitions of conflict, each one with a different key aspect.
Often conflict occurs when “one side perceives that the other side is blocking its goal achievement and expectation” (Kwahk and Kim, 1998. Pg 448). As in this case where Blackman believed that Ferris was preventing him from attaining his expectations of more responsibility which is one of the outputs to balance inputs of an employee in Adam’s Equity theory, named after John Stacey Adams when he developed this job motivation theory in 1963.
Adam’s Equity theory argues that people derive job satisfaction and motivation by comparing their efforts (inputs) and outputs with those of the other people in the same or other firms. If the employee perceives an imbalance he/she may work to bring balance by asking for more compensation or recognition. Others will be de-motivated and still some may seek alternative employment. As said above, Blackman seeked to balance his input with his outputs by asking for more responsibilities.
Organizational structure is “ the system of arrangements, the pattern of network relations, between the various positions and their holders” (Buchanan and Huczynski 1997, Pg 297). Mintzberg (1981, Pg 104) notes, “how that coordination is achieved, by whom, and with what, dictates what the organization will look like. ” However an organizational structure exist in two forms in an organization, the formal relationship and the informal structure which is “the network of relationships that spontaneously establish themselves between members of the organization on the basis of their common interest and friendships” Robbins, 1983, Pg 77) This is clearly seen in the case, where Murdoc and Palmer , two of the managers were prodeges of Ferris and Turner depended on Ferres. However, Blackman also diserned the relationship and began to make it known that he disapproved. He referred to this relationship as an “imbalance of power”. Power has been defined as “the capacity of indivisuals to overcome resistance on the part of others, to exert their will, and to produce results consistent with their interest and objectives” ( Dahl in Buchanan & Huczynski, 2004, Pg 828).
Power can be categorized as being “formal”, coming from one’s position within the organization, or “informal” coming from one’s personal relationships and attributer, ( Melia & Peiro, 1984). Formal power exists within an hierarchical orgainisation where “superiors exert power on their subordinates while the opposite is not the case” (Melia & Peiro, 1984). Conversely, informal power in not “necessarily associated with formal structure and can flow in all directions but position in the hierarchies affects the developments of personal relationships” (Melia & Perio, 1984).
Therefore, the degree of power possessed by two individuals in the same position within the hierarchy may vary as a result of their personal relationships. Politics is defined as “the process of gaining and using power” in Management Fundamentals by Robert. N. Lussier. Dependancy is described to be B’s relationship to A when A possesses something that B requires. Ferris attained power in this case due to the dependency of Turner on Ferris since Ferris possessed information and skills he required.