Interpersonal Dynamics and Organizational Challenges Case Study Analysis


Mike Garcia and Jill Hendrickson’s disagreement at Auto Safety Products is a case study for interpersonal dynamics and organisational difficulties. Their conflict highlights the problems that emerge in team-based settings, founded on contrasting viewpoints on concurrent engineering, design, and production (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). Using a variety of theories, this case study analysis explores the dispute between Mike and Jill, looking at the interactions, interdependencies, and conflicting objectives that have fueled their disagreement. It also looks at the several stages of conflict they have gone through, pinpoints the underlying causes and frames influencing their viewpoints, and suggests conflict resolution techniques. To provide insight into various paths for constructive settlement, this case study analysis also examines the function of a mediator and other strategies, such as a feminist viewpoint and transformational models.

  1. Applying the Three I’s to the Case

The interaction, interdependence, and incompatible goals of the Three I’s paradigm help analyse the underlying dynamics of the disagreement between Mike Garcia and Jill Hendrickson.


Their cooperation with the concurrent engineering team is the source of the dispute. Their relationships have turned acrimonious, impeding productive dialogue and cooperation—particularly in group problem-solving sessions (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). This conflict hinders the team’s development and jeopardises the project’s success.


The concurrent engineering process requires an inherent interdependence between Mike and Jill’s duties. Mike, the production manager, has to put the ideas that Jill, a design engineer, develops into practice (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). Their disagreement worsens when they fail to see how dependent they are on one another. The inability to recognise one another’s contributions causes their efforts to be out of sync, which reduces the team’s productivity.

Incompatible Goals

Although they share the same goal of effective product development, their divergent methods and viewpoints lead to irreconcilable goals. In her pursuit of efficiency and creativity, Jill highlights the significance of design in concurrent engineering. On the other hand, Mike disagrees with Jill’s vision due to his mistrust of concurrent engineering and preference for conventional techniques (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). These conflicting objectives make cooperation difficult.

  1. Phases of Conflict and Mike’s and Jill’s Experiences

Underlying tensions were silently building in the latent phase of Mike and Jill’s disagreement at Auto Safety Products, driven by their different experiences and perspectives. Mike’s doubts about concurrent engineering ran counter to Jill’s excitement about the novel strategy, laying the groundwork for future strife (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). The tension between them was evident when the disagreement moved into the perceived phase. This change resulted from their assignment to modify the booster seat design to fit different minivans. Their divergent opinions on the value of design and the feasibility of concurrent engineering became apparent, resulting in contentious arguments and growing annoyance. Emotions boiled over during the feeling phase as Mike and Jill found it harder and harder to work together productively (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). Mike was getting increasingly agitated with Jill’s ideas, brushing them off as unrealistic, and Jill was getting increasingly annoyed with Mike’s reluctance and lack of willingness to try new things. Their inability to cooperate grew due to these elevated feelings, significantly increasing the conflict’s emotional effect.

  1. Factors and Frames Underlying the Conflict

Many significant components and frameworks influence how Mike and Jill view the world and relate to one another, which influences the conflict between them at Auto Safety Products. One significant factor is perceptual illusions; Mike’s prejudice against design engineers makes him dismiss Jill’s ideas as unfeasible, which keeps him from seeing the significant contributions she might make (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). This bias makes it harder for him to understand Jill’s inventive responses. Cultural differences have an impact on conflict dynamics as well. In the male-dominated engineering field, Mike may misunderstand Jill’s assertiveness, which might cause a communication style clash and misunderstandings between them.

In terms of frames, identity frames influence their conflict. Mike views himself as a practical manufacturing professional who places a high importance on practicality and efficacy. Conversely, Jill sees herself as a creative design engineer who appreciates ingenuity and creativity (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). They find it challenging to find common ground because of how their conflicting professional identities exacerbate their differences. Characterization frames are important, particularly in concurrent engineering (Aarseth et al., 2013). Mike calls the effort a joke, downplaying its significance and opposing its implementation. Conversely, Jill believes that concurrent engineering is essential and may enhance collaboration and product development. Their arguments regarding the endeavor highlight the disparities in their worldviews, which intensifies their conflict.

  1. Conflict Management Styles for Mike and Jill

It appears Mike and Jill are moving further toward a competitive conflict resolution approach based on their present attitudes and actions. Jill’s assertiveness and Mike’s cynicism point to a propensity to prioritize their objectives above another’s, creating a win-lose scenario. But cooperation, in which both sides actively participate in cooperative problem-solving, would be a more fruitful strategy (Yin et al., 2022). This is the style I would suggest for them. Open communication, attentive listening, and an emphasis on creating win-win solutions are all part of collaboration. Mike and Jill may share their information, respect one another’s viewpoints, and work together to overcome the obstacles in modifying the booster seat design if they take a cooperative stance (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). This methodology would cultivate comprehension, stimulate imaginative ideation, and result in novel resolutions incorporating design and manufacturing factors (Michinov, 2022). Although their current disagreement may make it difficult for them to do this independently, they can successfully use the collaborative approach to settle their problems with the help and mediation of an outside mediator.


  1. Adam’s Approach and the Role of a Mediator

As for Adam, my first recommendation would be to support Mike and Jill in having an honest conversation and provide a secure environment where they could share their viewpoints. The two most important techniques to use are reframing and active listening. According to Upadhyay (2021), active listening is giving each other their undivided attention, exhibiting empathy, and pushing people to comprehend one another’s perspectives. By showcasing the advantages of concurrent engineering and stressing each party’s worth, you may help change people’s unfavourable attitudes into positive ones. One important tool for enabling their conversations might be a mediator.

  1. Feminist Approach and Alternative Models

Addressing power disparities and encouraging gender equality and respect would be the main goals of a feminist response to this issue (Rookwood, 2019). Interpreting the case would stress how critical it is to combat gender preconceptions and prejudices in the workplace and guarantee that Mike and Jill’s viewpoints are given equal weight (Hendrickson & de Mueller, 2016). The transformational model is another model that could be more useful in this situation. With an emphasis on empowering people and developing their self-awareness, this paradigm helps people go from a power struggle to a mutual understanding.


Jill and Mike’s disagreement highlights the difficulties companies encounter when incorporating different viewpoints and skill sets. Their disagreement has deep roots when examining their interactions via the prism of the Three I’s framework and comprehending the stages of conflict they have experienced. They cannot collaborate and communicate effectively due to perceptual errors and different frames. Although their relationship is combative, there is potential for a collaborative approach to dispute management.




Aarseth, W., Rolstadås, A., & Andersen, B. (2013). Managing organisational challenges in global projects. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 7(1).

Hendrickson, B., & de Mueller, G. G. (2016). Inviting Students to Determine for Themselves What it Means to Write Across the Disciplines. The WAC Journal, 27(1).

Michinov, E. (2022). The Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence on the Relationship Between Conflict Management Styles and Burnout among Firefighters. Safety and Health at Work, 13(4).

Rookwood, J. (2019). Access, security and diplomacy: Perceptions of soft power, nation branding and the organisational challenges facing Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 9(1).

Upadhyay, D. (2021). Consideration of future consequences and decision-making patterns as determinants of conflict management styles: CFC and conflict management styles. IIMB Management Review, 33(1).

Yin, J., Qu, M., Li, M., & Liao, G. (2022). Team Leader’s Conflict Management Style and Team Innovation Performance in Remote R&D Teams—With Team Climate Perspective. Sustainability (Switzerland), 14(17).

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