‘Making Conflict Work,’ by Peter T. Coleman & Robert Ferguson is the #NewBookoftheWeek!


Our #NewBookoftheWeek is Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement. The book is available on the “New Book Shelf” in Waterfield Library.

Conflicts at work are as inevitable as they are frustrating. In Making Conflict Work, Peter Coleman and Robert Ferguson’s leading experts in the field of conflict resolution address the key role of power in workplace tension. Whether you’re butting heads with your boss or addressing a direct report’s complaint, your relative position of power affects how you approach conflict.

Coleman and Ferguson explain how power dynamics function, with step-by-step guidance to determining your standing in a conflict and identifying and applying the strategies that will lead to the best resolution. Drawing on the authors’ years of research and consulting experience, the book gives readers effective strategies for negotiating disputes at all levels of an organization.

Making Conflict Work includes self-assessment exercises and action plans to guide managers, mediators, consultants, and attorneys through any conflict. This powerful approach can turn workplace tensions into catalysts for creativity, innovation, and meaningful change.

– from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


MSU Featured Scholar: Dr. Teresa Betts

Dr. Teresa Betts, assistant Professor of Management at Murray State University, is our featured scholar this week. Dr. Betts co-authored the paper, “Beyond the trade-off and cumulative capabilities models: alternative models of operations strategy,” which appeared in volume 53, issue 13, of the International Journal of Production Research.


Organisations are expected to develop sound strategies relating to their core operations capabilities of cost efficiency, quality, delivery, flexibility and innovation, to gain and maintain competitive advantage. However, there is a paucity of specific models that can be used to explain and predict how organisations combine and use these capabilities. Previous research has primarily focused on the ‘trade-off’ and the ‘cumulative capabilities’ models. In this study, data from an international sample of 1438 manufacturing plants are used to explore other models that organisations are using in addition to the two predominant models. This analysis shows that, in practice, the trade-off model is not used, but the cumulative capabilities model is used extensively. Further, our proposed new models, the ‘threshold’, ‘average’ and ‘multiple’, are prevalent in many plants. Also, a small proportion of the plants have in place the ‘uncompetitive’ model. In terms of relative effectiveness, there are no significant differences between the models with respect to several measures of operational performance. Overall, this study provides empirical evidence that there are other operations strategy models beyond the trade-off and cumulative capabilities dichotomy that organisations deploy.

Beyond the trade-off and cumulative capabilities models: alternative models of operations strategy
By: Prakash J. Singh, Frank Wiengarten,
Alka A. Nand, and Teresa Betts
International Journal of Production Research
July 2015, vol. 53 (13), pgs. 4001-4020
doi: 10.1080/00207543.2014.983277