Conflict is inimical to trust. However, trust is important to create a more enjoyable work environment: between the manager and the employees, and also among all employees as a group team. Actually, everyone needs trust. As mentioned by O’Neill (2002, Lecture 1), ‘we need [trust] because we have to be able to rely on others acting as they say that they will, and because we need others to accept that we will act as we say we will.’
Furthermore, research shows that conflict negatively influences trust, thus the management conflict approach is determinant upon trust within a team (Hempel, Zhang & Tjosvold 2009). Moreover, De Dreu (2008) highlighted the importance of trust within the team to aim for a better experience of conflict, while Hempel, Zhang and Tjosvold (2009) added that the cooperative management of conflict within a team contributes to developing trust. Furthermore, this perception of trust is described as the comfort to discuss issues, to rely upon each team member, and to solve future problems together. While competitiveness results in a win-lose situation, an absence of trust and the isolation of the members in an individual race for performance, research showed that cooperation demonstrates high team coordination and performance (Hempel, Zhang & Tjosvold 2009), two common standards of economic measurement. However, the literature does not relate the link between trust and accountability, which will be my purpose in the following.
Indeed, as a person involved in the process of conflict resolution, a manager would need to have gained the trust of the parties. But more than a gain of trust, O’Neill (2002, Lecture 3) highlighted the link between accountability and trust. Therefore, the recognition as being a trustful manager may be acquired through my accountability to manage conflicts. Two articles of my literature review identified the following rules in managing conflicts: separation between the people and the problem, sense of objectivity and fairness, respectful communication through good questioning and listening, avoidance of imposed solutions, and respect of confidentiality (Fisher, Ury & Patton 1991; Government of Alberta 2007). A manager must therefore consider the rules listed above to avoid deceptions from the employees in his/her way of managing conflicts, fairness being in my judgment the most important rule to respect. I appreciate how O’Neill characterises deceptions as being ‘the real enemy of trust’. Indeed, as trust is difficult to acquire, trust will be easily lost: a consequence of deception. As the results of a competitive approach to trust, the consequences of deception are also hard to reverse. O’Neill (2002, Lecture 5) cited the Kantian ideas to clarify that the consequences of deception are not only the loss of trust, but more than this, the failure to treat others as equal mortals.