Organisational conflict or workplace conflict is a sort of dispute which is
arisen due to differences of opinions, needs, values and interests which may be
in opposition to each other's perspective or actuality.
Such conflicts have more negative impacts on the growth of the organisation as
they will result in absenteeism, decrease productivity and impact team morale in
a negative way.
Types of Conflicts in Workplace
There are multiple kinds of conflicts that take place in a workplace such as:
- Task-related conflicts
- Leadership style conflicts
- Workstyle conflicts
- Personality related conflicts
- Discrimination conflict
- Innovative idea conflict
These conflicts usually arise when there's a need for interdependency in the
completion of a said task or a project and for which everyone needs to be on the
same page so that they can meet deadlines, which results in the successful
completion of their tasks individually and collectively.
For example, if a manager has a project assigned for which he has to collect
multiple information which has been assigned to every individual in regard to a
specific collection of data respectively. So, even if one of them fails to
accomplish it or manage to meet it on the said time it will impact the team's
growth and as well as it will impact negatively the manager as he would not be
able to make it to the deadline as decided.
Framework to avoid conflicts
- Leadership Style Conflicts
Every leader has different leadership styles. Some are easy-going, calm and
inviting whereas some are strict on the rules and deadlines. One gets to see
bold and charismatic leaders and on the other hand, one might be laid back.
These different leadership styles have different impacts on the employees and
leaders need to be aware of the leadership style their following. A Leader needs
to know how to interact with different work styles and with different
personalities who are working in his team. To avoid possible conflict, there
needs to be mutual respect for the differences amongst each other. Leaders need
to make sure to connect and interact well with the employees irrespective of
their leadership style.
- Workstyle conflicts
Similar to the leadership styles, people have different work styles as well.
Some prefer to do the work all alone whereas on the other some prefer to work in
a team that's when they can get the best out of it, some can do more work if
they're under pressure whereas some like to finish it off early, some people
need constant directions in every step whereas the other doesn't. Similarly to
leadership styles, people need to have mutual respect for the differences they
have amongst them this works for all the conflicts that occur in a workplace.
When in a team one needs to be understanding about the difference of working
style each other has and collaborate to fruit something better.
- Personality conflicts
Every individual is different and has a different personality. At times there
are people whom you're working with and you find distaste for their personality.
It becomes significant to understand that the way we think the other person is,
it's not necessary that it will be true. This goes back to the point that
everyone needs to be understanding and share empathy to avoid conflicts and one
needs to make sure that whatever one is thinking isn't necessary to be true.
- Discrimination conflicts
These conflicts usually take serious turns and it is where human resources need
to get involved. If there is discrimination or harassment that is been taken
place due to caste, region, age, ethnicity, creed, race and gender. In these
instances, there is a dire requirement for an organization to accentuate being
unbiased, acquiescence and better comprehension. An environment of coexistence
needs to be there in a company.
- Innovative idea conflicts
These kinds of conflicts are usually generated where there is an idea
brainstorming. There might be instances when some of them have different ideas
and both start to have conflict. In such cases, they both need to understand and
co-operate. They need to make sure to look at the solution for a complete
project which may not be affected due to differences. They can try to put up
their ideas in a way that they both can shine in the same project or consult
someone higher for suggestions or mediate the same issue. Such instances may
result in multiple ideas which may bring growth to the complete project more
efficiently. Therefore, competition leads to growth if done in a healthy manner.
- Written rules, policies and agreements
Employees need to be provided with well-documented service conditions in
contracts or agreements and even in their HR policies and it has to be in
written format. In the event, that the conduct is not as per service conditions
then disciplinary proceedings are to be initiated. The procedure of which is to
be made known to the employee.
- Careful hiring process
As requisite education and experience are key while hiring, it needs to be made
sure that the candidate's manners and communication style need to be in accord
with it as this will suggest as to whether a candidate is suitable or best fit
for a job and the organisation. Similarly, a company's culture has a direct
impact on the growth of the candidate in the organisation. Therefore it needs to
be made sure that the hiring process of the company/organization should possess
good interviewing skills, selection process, and proper screening process.
- Effective management
It becomes necessary to have efficient management and authorities in a company
that looks after the conflicts and manages them effectively. Whereas on the
other hand if a company has poor management where there is a toxic environment
and lack of support from management authorities it will dent the relationship of
the employees and will result in failed growth of the employees and the company
as well. Therefore it becomes extremely necessary to have great and effective
- Grievance redressal system
Employers should implement a grievance redressal system for employees'
grievances which takes part in resolving conflicts amongst parties in the
company. The specific incentive needs to be created in the order for the
employees to avoid external costly litigation. Such systems will encourage the
employees and boost their morals as they might feel that their grievances are
heard and hence feel that they have an option for conflict resolution in the
Conflict resolution system at workplace
Conflict resolution can be categorised as a conventional and unconventional
method for resolving disputes. It is generally used between 2 or more parties in
order to get an amicable solution to the dispute. The amicable solution will
give an advantage of ensuring peace between the parties, avoiding financial
expenditure towards litigation, reduction in pendency of court cases over and
above will be an indicator to society to find such a kind of amicable solution
instead of aggravating the dispute.
Some of the steps to resolve disputes in the workplace:
- Open door policy:
This kind of policy is in literal meaning on keeping the doors open. As in this
employees keeps their door open in order to encourage employees in the hierarchy
to approach the senior/leaders/ managers and clarify any doubts, take
suggestions and opinions in respect to workplace issues.
- Management review:
If a conflict isn't resolved through open-door policies, the said issue may be
redressed and reviewed in front of the higher officials of the company.
- Peer review:
If an employee has a conflict that persists even after the above sought, they
may redress this issue to a pool of employees that are trained in dispute
resolution, if the decision is not satisfactory to the parties then, they may
take up the matter through arbitration or mediation.
- Arbitration and conciliation act, 1996:
In this act part, I formalise the process of arbitration whereas part II
formalises the process of conciliation.
In arbitration, there is an arbitrator who will cross-examine the witnesses and
accordingly give a decision. This is one the most formal, time-consuming and
costly methods to resolve a dispute, whereas in conciliation, there's a
conciliator who looks up the matter and provides the best way to settle the
matter and it is an out of court method.
In this method, there is a mediator who is neutral to both parties. The said
mediator may be an employee of a company who is well trained in dispute
resolution or might be some external professional who has no interest in the
employer or employee. The mediator tries to come up with innovative methods to
resolve a conflict or dispute. It needs to make sure that the said mediation
process is done voluntarily by both parties.
In this kind of method, there will be a facilitator, who may be an employee of a
company and listens to the dispute and provides the best ways to settle the
disputes. It doesn't judge the dispute on the basis of merit, it just provides
an effective solution.
Dispute resolution systems in US and Australia
The United States has a well-established procedure to minimise
employee-employer conflict through trade unionism. Which resulted in less
litigation before the court of law and the same is done through dispute
resolution in house.
In Australia, similarly, a fair work commission is functioning in order to
resolve conflicts amongst the parties. To approach the fair work commission the
parties needs to take all the appropriate steps within the workplace and which
may later be dealt with through arbitration, mediation or conciliation on the
consent of the parties.