Conflict in the workplace from time to time is normal. It could be a disagreement between a manager and an employee over an action, a decision or idea related to the business. It could simply be a personality clash when two people cannot get along with each other. This situation may be compounded when one party has more power than the other person.
Conflict is a natural part of human interaction in business and it is a normal occurrence in any workplace. The challenge for management is how to handle these conflicts within the workplace when they occur so that the issues are resolved rather than ignored and dismissed.
When conflict occurs, it is not necessarily negative. A conflict relating to aspects of the business can be positive if the organisation encourages the parties to work together and find the best solution for the company. Conflict of this kind can result in better workplace practices, productivity and profitability for the company.
Conflict in the Workplace
There are various types of conflict in the workplace:
Relationship conflict: as a result of different personalities, each person in a workplace has their own perception of situations which will differ from each other. If these people don’t seek to understand each other they will react negatively which will lead to conflict.
Values conflict: each person has their own set of values which determine how they perceive right from wrong. A person will react negatively when their values are challenged by another person which may result in open conflict with the other person.
Interests conflict. Conflict may arise when the interests or desired outcomes of one person are not aligned with those of another person and they are expected to work together.
Systemic conflict. Factors such as ineffective communications within the organisation, a scarcity of resources, non-performing team members, pay, bonus and reward systems driving negative individual behaviours and informal power structures within the company may create conflict within the workplace.
Organisations will often actively avoid dealing with situations resulting from these types of conflict. This form of conflict left unresolved can be extremely damaging with negative outcomes for both the organisation and the individuals involved.
The impact of unresolved conflict in the workplace
The company: When companies fail to address unresolved conflict in the workplace, this can significantly impact the performance of the company in a number of ways - and in some extreme cases, workplace disputes may occur. For example:
Reduced staff productivity
Low staff morale
Poor relationships between teams as well as individual team members
Poor collaboration and competition between teams and team members
The employee: At the same time, ongoing conflict in the workplace can have a significant impact on the employee. For example:
Resentment and high stress levels
Increased staff turnover
Workers compensation claims
All of these consequences resulting from unresolved conflict in the workplace can have a significant hidden cost to both the company and the employees.
Bridge Mediation and workplace conflict
Bridge Mediation specialises in helping companies and individuals identify and resolve conflict in the workplace quickly and cost-effectively through the use of experienced workplace conflict coaches and mediators.
We are here to help you reduce the impact of workplace conflict, make a call today!
Co-Authors: Chris Pitts and Alex Morrison
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.