Conflict Management in the Workplace: Triggers and Effects


What is issue?

Conflict is an activity that involves people disagreeing. It really is usually a process in which one party perceives that its hobbies are being compared or negatively influenced by another get together. Turmoil could be created scheduled to different thoughts of the interested functions, or due to the "show" of authority that some of the involved celebrations might have.

It can be segregated in substantive discord and emotional conflict. Substantive issue is a disagreement over ends or goals and the means for their accomplishment. Psychological conflict is common developing over sense of anger, mistrust, fear, etc. In addition, issue may be categorised in three types:

Intrapersonal conflict, interpersonal conflict and intergroup discord.


  • Intrapersonal Conflict

Intrapersonal conflict comes up within the person. It is a battle you have to provide with your ego, before several solutions for a choice you have to take. For example, if you are a sales administrator and you are before a deal that you have to make promptly with a customer, you might have to decide, either to close it relating to your company's normal policy, or based mostly on your customer needs. In this particular occasion you are facing an intrapersonal issue. To become more specific, in the event you continue with the first choice you will be ok with your small business, nevertheless, you may disappoint your customer and this can cause problems either in your personal relationship with him, or in your sales quantities. If you follow the second option, then you might have problems with your small business, but you'll probably transform your romance with your customer and therefore the sales amounts as well. But, of course, you're taking a large risk, in the event the sales results will not come as you have prepared. This example is actually a typical, common, daily intrapersonal conflict of several employees in a number of organizational environments.

  • Interpersonal Conflict

Many companies suffer from because of interpersonal conflicts, anticipated to high competition (internal or external), different personalities of those who are decision designers in an organization, authority teaching, etc.

Interpersonal turmoil is arriving between colleagues, CEOs, planks of director, etc. and also can be created in any level of a corporation. It really is a normal reason which is likely employees to resign. Just about everyone has confronted during our working experience co-workers and managers fighting with each other each other. Most of the times "these battles" or strong disagreements guide to problematic relationships between personnel and finally in resign of those that "don't want to go a step rear". It is important to send that according to one research, "31. 9% of CEOs quitted using their jobs, because they had conflicts with the mother board of directors". (Whitehouse, K. 2008, January 14).

"CEOs of fighting companies might also have public conflicts. For instance, in 1997, Michael Dell was asked what he would do about Apple Computer. "What would I do? I'd shut it down and present the money back to shareholders. " Ten years later, Steve Careers, the CEO of Apple Inc. , suggested he had clearly held a grudge as he taken back again at Dell in an e-mail to his employees, proclaiming, "Team, it turned out Michael Dell wasn't perfect in predicting the near future. Predicated on today's stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell". (Haddad, C. 2001, April 18)".

  • Intergroup Conflict

Intergroup conflict occurs among different groupings. Types of categories can include different departments in an organization, employees and management, or competing companies in a market. Departments may discord over budget planning. For instance marketing budget or equipment budget usually creates a big discord between marketing or development management or the overall management.

Employees and management may disagree on work guidelines and procedures.

Suppliers may conflict with each other on the quality of goods, or in the rates policy they're promoting on the market.

"For instance, we will refer below an average labor issue whenever a joint venture between two air travel companies has taken place:

Canadian Air and Air Canada pilots were facing long-term personal and legal issues when both airlines' seniority lists were mixed following a merger Seniority. This fact is a very important and scarce source of information for pilots, since it helps to determine who flies the hottest and biggest planes, who will get the best journey routes, and who's paid the most. In response to the loss of seniority, past Canadian Air pilots picketed at shareholder conferences, threatened to contact sick, and got ongoing issues with pilots from Air Canada" (Stoykewych, R. E. 2003, March 7).


  • Organizational Structure

Conflict can be created depending on organizational Structure a corporation comes after. "For example, when a company runs on the matrix composition as its organizational form, it has decisional conflict built-in, because the structure specifies that every manager report to two bosses" (Jaffe, D. 2000).

"For instance, global company ABB Inc. is planned around a matrix framework predicated on the sizes of country and industry. This framework can result in confusion as the business is divided geographically into 1, 200 different products and by industry into 50 different products. " (Taylor, W. 1991, March-April).

  • Employees' Benefits differentiation

Resources offered from companies as extra benefits to their employees such as money, time, and equipment tend to be a "problem". Competition among people or departments for different benefits is a consistent cause for discord. For example, autos, mobile phones, credit cards, notebook computers are benefits that exist not in every the employees, or not with the same value. For instance salesmen might have different car relating to their position in the business. This small concern can cause big issues. Differentiation in incomes of individuals in the same position level, but with different performance can as well create conflicts. Humans are always jealous and feel unfair.

  • Task Interdependence

Task interdependence could be another cause of conflict. This matter is coming when your success or your accomplishment in your targets is also depending on other people performance. For instance, if you are a job engineer and you have to complete a building structure in timelines with the way in which and the planned resources, it could be a large success for you, nevertheless, you need to be supported for example, from the electrician, the plumper, the builder, the supplier of the materials, etc. If you lose control, you will probably have big issues with all of your above coordinators.

  • Incompatible Goals

Sometimes conflict arises when two people feel that their goals are exclusively in their responsibilities. Within an group, incompatible goals often arise due to different ways office managers are getting close them. For instance, a sales manager who' s benefit system is determined by sales figures, feels that he has to offer higher credit durations in a major client, in order to earn bigger sales quantities. However the financial administrator whose bonus conditions, might be based upon how fast the clients pay their amounts is disagreeing with this program. Then both of these managers may conflict one another, because they give attention to their personal pursuits rather than on the business's common goal. Unless this issue is not settled with the intervention of someone who has the expert to overlap those two, they might continue discord without approaching to a solution.

  • Personality Differences

Personality distinctions among employees are something common and normal. Often you're arguing with your co-workers, because you observe things and issues in different way predicated on your ethics as well as your growing environment. Matching of the personalities and team nature is a difficult thing, by having a corporation and requires a special health care from the Human being Resource management office.

  • Communication Problems

In many situations conflict occurs out of difficult communication system, such as unread-forgotten emails or working with people who don't give feedbacks in your queries, or they often forget to reply. Then issues are an average result, usually from the involved parties who make an effort to drop the mistake each one in the other. As a result, many working time are lost to find where the problem in the communication background was.


Conflict can be dysfunctional if it affects negatively a business, causes low performance, or in the most severe circumstance, to workplace assault. To understand getting to an optimistic effect of discord, we first need to understand its causes, effects, and tools to help take care of it. "If conflict is too low, then performance is low. If conflict is too high, then performance also is commonly low". (www. flatworlfknowledge). The positive thing is to keep conflicts in the center of this "thin line". The majority of us might have the opinion that it's quite unusual to try in leave issues existing in middle levels, but as we will see in this posting, we will surely have positive effects.

Positive outcomes are the following:

  • Creation of bigger range in quality ideas
  • Identifying and generate the top the "dark" inaccurate cases
  • Clarification of individual views that build learning
  • Improvement of involvement and creativeness
  • Motivate your employees in participate in useful discussions and enhance their discussions skills within healthy procedures

Examples of negative outcomes

  • Increased stress and anxiety among employees, which guide in low performance and personal satisfaction
  • Feelings as being defeated and humiliated, which have an impact on adversely individuals' morale
  • A mistrust climate, which reduce working interactions, cooperation and teamwork.


  • Latent Conflict. Latent discord is visible issue waiting to happen.
  • Felt Conflict. Felt conflict is experienced as discomfort and tension.
  • Perceived Conflict. Perceived discord is the understanding that people are in a conflict situation.
  • Manifest Conflict. After issue is perceived and felt, it could or might not exactly become available, or manifest.
  • Conflict Aftermath. Turmoil is likely to breed more conflict and, when it can, that conflict will probably take on a life of its. (Gholipour A. 2006).


Everyone in his personal life has his own style in facing issues. In this posting you can see the most well known - consistent and usual methods incompatible management.

  • Avoidance

Avoidance is a issue style, where in fact the involved parties or organizations are pretending that everything is fine, while "within them" they believe that there's a serious problem. Avoidance can even be an occasion where some of the get-togethers are quitted from the conflict issue, not really much enthusiastic about find the solution, since it could considered of their aspect as a non personal responsibility, or because they "unlike" the other functions' opinion. In low levels rather than so important issues, this style can be sometimes a great choice, but usually it finally leads in bad working environment and connections.

  • Accommodation

The accommodating style of discord management is more cooperative than the previous one. On this style, the one get together offers or accepts, what others think that it is correct. This type of person is usually reluctant to argue with their opponents because either they assume that they will destroy their associations with them, or they feel that they will not appear to a remedy. We can say that in one side they're giving up their proposals. This style is a good way to control conflicts, nevertheless, you might lose proposals or ideas, that could be interesting from the individual that always go a step back front of the very most dominant individuals.

  • Compromise

The compromising style is usually referenced as the "middle-level solution". Within this style all the involved persons are "giving a little" of these in order to appear in the best answer. We can say that it's a kind of bargaining. It is a quite effective in overpass issues usually without negative benefits.

  • Competition

People often show a competitive style to to be able to achieve their goals or to perceive the other parties following their ideas. Competition may create bad human relationships with others, if is always trying to maximize his own effects at the trouble of others' well-being. "This process may be effective if you have strong moral objections to the alternatives or if the alternatives is opposing, are unethical or harmful". (www. flatworldknowledge. com)

  • Collaboration

Collaboration is a conflict management style that is almost similar to effective negotiation or to win-win solutions. In this occasion both of the involved parties may issue each other, nonetheless they always try to find the best answer, which can satisfy all of them and also serves the common goal. For example if a worker is performing well in his job obligation and he is asking to wait an MBA program in order to improve more his management skills, then he might ask from his company to pay this program for him. Then the supervisor can propose to him: "Yes I am going to pay your MBA program, nevertheless, you have to stay 2 years more in the company, once you will have completed it. Usually you will return back our paid amounts". It sounds like a fair solution for both of the attributes.


  • Change the Composition of the Team

If the discord is between co-workers a good solution could be, separating the personalities that are creating the largest problems. "In circumstances where turmoil is related to the widely different styles, worth, and tastes of a little number of users, replacing many of these members may take care of the problem. In the event that's not possible because everyone's skills are needed on the team and substitutes aren't available, look at a physical structure solution. Research shows that when known antagonists are sitting immediately across from each other, the amount of conflict rises. However, when they are seated hand and hand, the conflict will decrease". (Howat, G. , & London, M. 1980)

  • Create a Common Opposing Force

Group conflict within a organization can be reduced by flip their attention on the common enemy including the competition. For instance, two product managers might argue where of their two products are going to spend more marketing bills, each looking to get more resources to be able to promote more his product to the marketplace. Then rather than fighting one another, it might be better you to definitely switch them in concentrating on a competitive product and have them responsible how to build up their products together, a lot more than the competition to the marketplace.

  • Consider Bulk Rule

Group conflict can be dramatically reduced utilizing the "traditional" majority guideline process. In this case every one of the involved people is proposing a concept and then all together vote in order to choose the one with the bigger votes. Majority rule is actually a creative process, but it must be implemented always with creative discussions and not operating as an easy solution for decreasing conflicts, through groupings or individuals. Sometimes it has negative results, when almost all of the changing times the same persons' ideas frequently "pass". Then your other users of the task might believe that something unfair is going on, for example the "cliques" creation between individuals that voting all the time their personal ideas.

  • Problem Solve

"Problem solving is a common approach to resolving discord. In problem-solving method, the individuals or categories incompatible are asked to give attention to the issue, not on one another, and to uncover the primary cause of the issue. This approach identifies the rarity of one part being completely right and the other being drastically wrong". (www. flatworldknowledge. com).


Summarizing all the above referred to in this assignment, we can simply realize that turmoil management is an essential issue in place of work. We cannot examine how maybe it's solved, or which is the best way to manage or method of its resolution. It would be definitely positive for companies to create conflict policies, so they can control better such problems. But the assured thing is that, even regulations would be create, every administrator, every employee must be careful and make an effort to take advantage of the results that conflict can provide. Thus, in order to do this, everyone has to "do it" along with his own style, since he must adapt his habit depending on working environment he is occupied. If we think again that conflict guides in assault in work area, but can guide also to creative solutions, integrative negotiations, enthusiasm for taking part in problems solving, we must independently think and drive ourselves at the positive part of discord results.


  • Wall, J. A. , & Callister, R. R. (1995). Turmoil and its management. Journal of Management, 21, 515-558.
  • Michaels, D. , Vitality, S. , & Gauthier-Villars, D. (2006, Oct 10). Airbus CEO's resignation displays company's profound structural woes. Wall structure Block Journal, pp. A1-A10.
  • Whitehouse, K. (2008, January 14). Why CEOs need to be honest with their boards. Wall Avenue Journal, Eastern release, pp. R1-R3.
  • Haddad, C. (2001, Apr 18). Why Careers and Dell are always sparring. Business Week Online. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from http://www. businessweek. com/bwdaily/dnflash/apr2001/nf20010418_461. htm; Markoff, J. (2006, January 16). Michael Dell should eat his words, Apple key suggests. New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2007, from http://www. nytimes. com/2006/01/16/technology/16apple. html.
  • Stoykewych, R. E. (2003, March 7). An email on the seniority resolutions arising from the merger of Air Canada and Canadian Airlines. Newspaper presented at the North american Bar Association Midwinter Appointment, Laguna Beach, CA.
  • Baron, R. A. (1989). Personality and organizational turmoil: Type A habit pattern and self-monitoring. Organizational Patterns and Man Decision Functions, 44, 281-297.
  • Bergman, T. J. , & Volkema, R. J. (1989). Understanding and controlling interpersonal conflict at work: Its issues, interactive techniques and implications. In D. M. Kolb & J. M. Kolb (Eds. ), Hidden turmoil in organizations (pp. 7-19). Newbury Area, CA: Sage.
  • Howat, G. , & London, M. (1980). Attributions of conflict management strategies in supervisor-subordinate dyads. Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, 172-175.
  • www. flatworldknowledge. com
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