Incompatible Goals

Sometimes conflict arises when two parties think that their goals are mutually exclusive. Within an

organization, incompatible goals often arise because of the different ways department managers are

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compensated. For example, a sales manager’s bonus may be tied to how many sales are made for the

company. As a result, the individual might be tempted to offer customers “freebies” such as expedited

delivery in order to make the sale. In contrast, a transportation manager’s compensation may be based on

how much money the company saves on transit. In this case, the goal might be to eliminate expedited

delivery because it adds expense. The two will butt heads until the company resolves the conflict by

changing the compensation structure. For example, if the company assigns the bonus based on

profitability of a sale, not just the dollar amount, the cost of the expediting would be subtracted from the

value of the sale. It might still make sense to expedite the order if the sale is large enough, in which case

both parties would support it. On the other hand, if the expediting negates the value of the sale, neither

party would be in favor of the added expense.


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