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Conflict is something familiar to our daily life. It would happen in workplace, family, school and any other places. This report will focus on conflict in the workplace: Why is necessary to know how to deal with workplace conflict? How to manage and ravel out the workplace conflict?
This report will discuss implication of conflict, causes result in conflict, importance of resolving workplace conflict, managing conflict, conclusion and a recommendation for workplace conflict.
Conflict is a part of work. It is a disagreement resulting from individuals or groups that they have different attitudes, beliefs, values or needs. Conflict also a typical phenomenon of people’s relationship in workplace. Sometimes the individual is not aware of the need and unconsciously starts to act out. In the workplace conflict is one of the biggest problems for managers and employees to face. It is hard to find out conflict before it become a difficulty and resolve completely. Conflict does not go away if ignored.
Causes result in conflict
Causes of conflict are complex. Understand how conflict arises at work can be very helpful for anticipating situations that may become trouble. There are six major causes will lead to a workplace conflict, include (G Corkindale 2007):
- Different cultures and assumptions
- Differing values, opinions and beliefs
- Lack of sensitivity to race, gender, age, class, education and ability
- Poor people skills, especially communication
- Volatile, fast-changing workplaces
- Limits on resources, physical and psychological
These are the most direct causes result in conflict. The real causes of conflict may be deep lying, other forms of conflict may not be so easily identified. Find out exactly conflict is the first step to resolve the conflict.
Conflict is mutual. It includes two different types: individual and group. Sometime it is obvious, but generally it is conceal. How can the managers recognize symptoms before the conflict take place so that the damage becomes the least? Here are some symptoms of conflict. They might include (Allagi Consulting 2008):
- Not completing work on-time or to quality goals
- Not returning phone calls or e-mails
- Passive/aggressive behaviors
- Not responding to requests for information
- Hoarding information that should be shared
- Finger pointing
- Not attending required meetings
The sooner the managers see the sign, the sooner they can intervene and resolve the problem. Resolve the problem as soon as possible is helpful to reduce the damage and losses.
As say before, conflict is a normal and natural part of workplace, it influence the work can be done or not, well or bad. Dealing with workplace conflict can be rewarding. Conflicts that arise because of personality clashes can be exacerbated by organizational structures and personalities. But addressing conflict in the workplace and resolving these issues can result in creative ideas, improvements, enhanced work relationships, and a healthier work environment. After recognize the reason of conflict, there are five steps to managing conflict. These steps are:
- Determine the cause. Collect data enough data. Ask for information and be sure to involve the individual in discussions. Do not become defensive or personalize issues.
- Collaborate on solutions. Use a “yes… and” response to build on potential solutions. Avoid using a “yes… but” response, which wants to change focus back onto the problem and away from solutions. If possible, always engage key stakeholders in developing solutions. This will help more easily to make the decision how to solve the conflict.
- Provide alternative options. People more likely to feel empowered when they are a part of a decision making process. This always helps to abate the conflict, make people more satisfaction.
- Communicate key decisions. Choose the most appropriate way to communicate with others. This might include meeting one by one with those involved, Be sure to involve who will support to solve the conflict.
- Implement solutions. When challenged be calm, re-focus on the main problem, depend on the situation, discuss the argument and tell the truth. Don’t get angry or rude, this will only make position weaken and hard to solve the problem. (Red Ladder 2006)
There are many important skills involve in these five steps. Importantly, just follow the theory is not enough, a good method for resolve work conflict must be ‘adjust measures to local conditions’.
Workplace conflict exists between individuals and groups, it may lead to a series of negative influence to the organization. When people work together, cultural differences, gender differences, style differences, all kinds of differences occur. Resolve and avoid the conflict in workplace may increase effectiveness for work. Effectively managed work conflict has many positive results for the organization even our life.
Create a harmonious workplace is a win-win situation. Now a day’s workplace makes conflict management more important, also, more difficult. After all, interpersonal skill is necessary, to communicate is one of the best ways to solution a conflict.
When a conflict take place, it is not just a sign for ‘bad’, sometimes, it means innovation and a more harmonious workplace has found.
When be in a conflict in workplace, do not ‘hide head in sand’, try to face it and resolve it. Improve communication skill, develop emotional intelligence, respects others, these are all helpful to avoid conflict.
- Gill Corkindale, 2007, ‘How to Manage Conflict’, viewed 22May 2008,
- Allagi Consulting, 2008, ‘How can you recognize conflict in your team’, viewed 23 May 2008,
- Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), ‘Managing Conflict’, viewed 23 May 2008,
- Red Ladder, 2006, ‘Five steps for handling work conflict’, viewed 23 May 2008, < http://ceoconsultant.com/blog/2006/12/07/five-steps-for-handling-workplace-conflict/>
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