Types of Conflicts in the Workplace

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Conflicts between employees and with the management are common in places of work, and they may be inevitable; nonetheless, they should never be ignored (Merchant, 2000). Conflicts are rated on a scale of minor to serious depending on how severely the work relationships are affected by the disagreements. Over time, petty issues affecting workers can morph into long-standing antagonisms that harm the overall morale of and even satisfaction of customers due to the poor quality of services. Organizational managers and supervisors ought to be aware of the potential causes and signs of conflicts between employees. Conflicts can also involve the management and workers. Since disputes are inevitable within the work environment, the management ought to have an effective mechanism to identify and solve all forms of disagreements before they harm the functioning of the company (Kalter, Bollen, & Euwema, 2018). The importance of resolving conflicts in the workplace is based on the need to mitigate the negative impacts of conflicts at work. A company should have proper measures in place to ensure that conflicts are solved before they escalate to severe levels that can no longer be contained. The research paper will mainly focus on the prominence of resolving disagreements between workers and with the management in an organization. Resolution of conflicts plays a significant role in determining the ability of an organization to achieve its objectives because proper conflict resolution strategies thwart the negative impacts of disagreements on the aptitude of a business establishment to accomplish its goals.

Causes of Conflicts

            Poor communication at work is a prevalent cause of disagreements between employees in the workplaces. Poor communication can happen as a result of failure to communicate and differences in strategies of passing information from one party to the next. In most cases, conflicts that occur as a result of poor communication origi9nate from the management. The managers play the role of assigning and reassigning tasks to workers. Conflicts are commonly triggered by situations where the manager reassigns a duty without informing the employee which results in a conflict between the involved workers because one of them feels slighted and can lead to animosity (Astley, 2017). The failure to communicate can also force workers to depend on unreliable sources of information, for example, depending on misleading information from other employees. Lack of efficient communication strategies is also a significant cause of failure by a firm to attain its desired objectives.

            Differences in employee personalities is a principal cause of workplace conflicts. The manner in which workers behave or address issues is mainly reliant on their dispositions. Teams at places of work are generally comprised of people from varied backgrounds and experiences, which has a significant influence on their traits. Disagreements amongst staffs arise when they fail to identify and appreciate the differences in each other's personalities. Workers might misperceive their counterparts because of how they approach issues (Kalter, Bollen, & Euwema, 2018). Some employees have straightforward traits that make them address issues openly even when it is not necessary to do so. Coworkers without a similar personality might perceive such employees as rude.

            Differences in values between employees result in conflicts. Differences in values among employees are common in the places of work. The more diversified the team is mainly regarding age, the higher the chances of value variations (Merchant, 2000). A difference in values is common in workplaces that are comprised of employees with a wide age gap. In such cases, the young employees possess different workplace value co pared to the older workers. The difference in values is a common thing that characterizes the society, and it is not necessarily the primary cause of conflicts (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). The central aspect that results in confli9cts at the place of work due to value differences is the failure to recognize the differences. Some employees may view others with different values as inferior, and it might lead to insults about each other's character and experience. The workplace conflicts inspired by value differences requires long-term strategies to find appropriate solutions.

Types of Workplace Conflicts

            The strategies used to deal with conflicts in the places of work and to find practical solutions is highly dependent on the type of conflicts. The workplace conflicts have been classified under different categories depending mostly on the causes of the disagreements. Besides, the approaches to handle the issues that arise at work depends on the classification of the conflict. Conflicts are sometimes inevitable in the daily lives, and work areas are not immune to disagreements. The incongruities between employees are mainly caused by the fact that workers are derived from different academic and cultural backgrounds. The aspects of education and culture have a significant influence on how members of staff relate with each other. Despite that workplace conflicts are common and can be predicted in time, solving them is never an easy task to the responsible persons. Unresolved conflicts have enormous impacts on the organizational operations because they undermine employee morale and might as well result in depression and job dissatisfaction (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). The more the problems affecting workers remain unresolved, the more serious the outcomes of the organization. The results usually are high employee turnover, absenteeism, and deficits in company cultures.

            Their major causes mainly determine the existing types of workplace conflicts. The understanding of the conflict categories is significant in determining the most appropriate strategies to find the necessary solutions. Leadership conflict is a substantial class of conflicts in the work environment. The disagreements are based on the fact that every leader has his or her way of leading the team. Since employees operate based on the instructions and orders from their team leaders, there are high chances of experiencing leadership-related conflicts because of the number and types of leadership styles that workers are subjected to (Merchant, 2000). Dealing with divergent leadership styles might result in irritation and confusion among employees. Leaders in different departments may want to exert their influences depending on their forms of leadership, and there are high possibilities that they differ on how specific issues should be handled. The most effective way of tackling conflicts caused by the differences in leadership approaches is developing a synergic company culture as well as core values that guide the team (Lutgen-Sandvik, 2017). The culture must also influence the leadership styles used within the organization to mitigate situations that lead to conflicting leadership styles.

            The interdependency-based conflict is another category of divergences encountered at work. Employees do not work independently, and they must depend on others to get the job done. Work teams are typically made up of people with divergent specialties, expertise, and experiences, hence, team members ought to rely on each other to supplement their skills. The situations where workers rely on others to perform their roles causes dissension. The kind of jobs that requires one employee to depend exclusively on his or her colleague to play their roles might result in chain failures (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). An example is in a business organization where the accountant depends on the sales team to do his or her work. When the sales team becomes late to input the monthly sale figures, the accountant will be late in submitting the financial reports of the company.

            Work style conflicts are caused the differences in the approaches used to do work. Every person or worker has a specific strategy of handling his or her duties to achieve the desired outcomes. Working in teams requires the understanding that employees have divergent approaches to doing things, for example, some of the members prefer to work with a team-oriented approach. On the other hand, some workers prefer to work independently and are task-oriented. Such people prefer to complete their tasks without seeking external support. The conflicts emerge when people fail to acknowledge that others have their ways of doing things (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). The variations must be understood and appreciated in the work environment to avoid creating environments that could lead to frictions between workers and the management, for example, the situations where employees are compelled to work a specific style that does not resonate with their preferences.

            Cultural-based dissension is a common type of conflict that is based on cultural differences between workers. The similarities that exist between employees are more than their differences; however, cultural differences still exist despite the many things that workers have in common (Astley, 2017). Culture is a fundamental aspect in handling conflicts at the places of work because it affects how staffs behaved and related with each other. Culture is understood as a set of practices, values, beliefs, or traditions that are common in a group due to similarities in age, gender, religion, race, or ethnicity. Cultural differences are the most prevalent causes of conflicts among employees. A solution to the cultural-based dissensions is exclusively dependent on the availability of organizational culture and policies that promote a balance between the various cultural groups represented in the team. The personality disagreements form a major category of conflicts in the places of work (Kalter, Bollen, & Euwema, 2018). The personality clashes at work are normally inspired by the notions concerning a person's actions, motives, or characters. Team members that fail to cooperate well with others are customarily viewed as failures and might be handled as such by their colleagues which results in discords.

Effects of Workplace Conflicts

            The importance of resolving conflicts in the workplace is based on its role in mitigating the adverse effects attributed to the different types of disagreements. Conflicts in the places of work affect an organization either directly or indirectly. The general impact of unresolved conflicts in an organization hindering the attainment of the company goals. Dissensions in the work environment may take the form of personality conflicts between workers, between supervisor and employees, or between members of staff and the organization particular when they disagree with major policy changes that are implemented by the management. When the conflicts are not addressed appropriately, and within time, they become costly to the organization (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). The impacts range from affecting the productivity of employees and the company in general to complete collapse of the firm. Whatever form conflicts take, they can have severe impacts on the sturdiest business, affecting the whole workforce and probability even the standing of the organization. Despite that disagreements cannot be eliminated from the workplace, the effects can be reduced or mitigated by formulating appropriate policies meant to solve the arguments. Comprehending the impacts of the disputes can enable an organization to reach to reach a quicker resolution and a more effectual containment of the fallout that can ensue from disagreements at work (Merchant, 2000).

            Solving workplace disputes helps to prevent productivity drain caused by the dissensions between workers and the management. The most apparent consequences of organizational disputes are a drastic decrease in productivity. When employees engage in disagreements concerning a specific issue within the company, a lot of time is lost trying to find an amicable solution to the matter (Astley, 2017). Workers tend to pay more attention to the conflicts rather than concentrating on their roles. The more a company experiences disputes, the more the rate of production reduces because the rivalry or disagreements between workers creates mental and emotional fatigue for the people entangled in the dissension. The emotional effects of the conflicts are responsible for the reduced productivity since workers lose the required concentration to handle their responsibilities successfully (Lutgen-Sandvik, 2017). The effects are not only limited to the employees that are involved directly in the conflicts, but the concentration of other workers is also diverted from their work. Other than productivity, workplace disputes affect the utilization of resources.

            The aspect of wasted resources as a result of workplace conflicts is attributed to the fact that the existence of apparent disagreements between workers and the organization reduces the focus on the proper utilization of organizational resources. When disputes are present, workers particularly the managers shift their attention on the conflicts since they have to pay more attention to conflict resolution meetings rather than their duties (Kalter, Bollen, & Euwema, 2018). The organizational resources especially the manpower get wasted since a majority of them whether directly or indirectly involved in the conflict will get less work done because they depend on each other in different ways. Depending on the seriousness of the disagreement, a company might spend money through implementing key changes like transfer of employees and hiring new people to neutralize the consequences of the dissensions on a firm.

            A key determinant of organizational success is its image to the public. Workplace disputes have a great impact on the image and perceptions of the company among the current and prospective customers. Regardless of the causes of the conflicts, they normally cause harm by taking negative toll on the public image of an organization (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). Most corporations collapse due to workplace conflicts since they have severe impacts on the customer base and market share (Merchant, 2000). Disputes have the potential of turning away devoted customers or undermine the marketing efforts that have been put in place by a business organization. Conflicts are mostly associated with the effect of making organizations appear unappealing to its potential clients. In such cases where a company's image is tarnished, the competitors might capitalize on the weakness to establish themselves by expanding their market share. The share of the affected company diminishes on the market since a majority of its longtime customers opt to associate with other companies with good reputations.

            Dissensions amongst employees undermine the organizational communication which affects the entire operations of a company. Communication is fundamental for a healthy and productive business. Since employees depend on each other, proper passage of information from one person to the other is essential to ensure that a job is done in the most efficient manner. Organizational disputes affect the honesty of employees as well as the effectiveness of communication and can lead to the development of fear to communicate among workers (Kalter, Bollen, & Euwema, 2018). Whenever workplace conflicts erupt, members of staff react naturally by reducing their links with others by concentrating on their territories, hence, limiting the communication required to accomplish the organizational goals. Lack of proper communication between workers has a direct effect on the ability of the company to realize its objectives. In most cases, communication is undermined because workplace dissensions result in the formation of cliques around the existing dispute with rivalry groups squaring it out with each other (Merchant, 2000). In such an environment, proper communication is not possible, and the end outcome is normally complete destruction of established communication channels and undermining all the strengths that an organization is founded on (Ronen, Pliskin, & Pass, 2018). Based on the negative effects of workplace conflicts, finding amicable and long-lasting solutions is essential to mitigate the attributed consequences.

            The effectiveness of resolving workplace disagreements depends on the understanding of the causes. Uncovering the factors resulting in conflicts helps to put proper measures in place to mitigate the conflicts before they occur. Such measures can involve engaging workers most of the time to understand their key concerns (Merchant, 2000). Dialogue is normally on of the best strategies used to solve workplace conflicts. The strategy involves bringing together the conflicting parties to find a solution by addressing the complaints from each party (Kalter, Bollen, & Euwema, 2018). Open communication is normally a proper approach to minimize the occurrence of organizational conflicts. When all company communications are done openly, there are minimal chances of experiencing disagreements amongst workers and the management since most of the conflicts are attributed to poor and secretive communications (Lutgen-Sandvik, 2017). The policies should also be formulated in a manner that helps to prevent the occurrence of conflicts. The culture must also create an environment that helps to avert conflicts by adopting policies that encourage healthy relations between employees, as well as workers and the organization.


            Disputes between staff members and with the management are common in the working environments, and they may be unavoidable, even so, they should not be overlooked. The significance of solving workplace conflicts is mainly to prevent the negative consequences caused by the dissensions on employee productivity and overall organizational performance. Some of the major causes of company-based disagreements include cultural differences, variations in values and personalities, and poor communication. The conflicts are normally classified depending on their causes. Discords affect the entire firm by undermining the healthy relationships that should exist between employees to foster their skills. The key effects of dissensions at work that merits the need for resolution of the disagreements include; reduced productivity, wastage of resources, damage on organizational reputation which shrinks its market share and hindering effective communication which forms the basis of organizational functioning. Appropriate measures to mitigate or identify conflicts before they get to advanced levels are essential in control of workplace conflicts.


Astley, J. (2017). Conflicts and Challenges of Gender in the Workplace: The Police Service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Hidden Inequalities in the Workplace, 67-90. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-59686-0_4

Kalter, M., Bollen, K., & Euwema, M. (2018). The Long-Term Effectiveness of Mediating Workplace Conflicts. Negotiation Journal, 34(3), 243-265. doi:10.1111/nejo.12227

Lutgen-Sandvik, P. (2017). Positive Organizational Communication Scholarship. The International Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication, 1-8. doi:10.1002/9781118955567.wbieoc165

Merchant, C. (2000). Preventing, Preempting, and Resolving Conflicts in the Workplace. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e306542003-008

Ronen, B., Pliskin, J. S., & Pass, S. (2018). Resolving Managerial Conflicts. Oxford Medicine Online. doi:10.1093/med/9780190843458.003.0008

January 19, 2024
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