Conflict management at the work place


“Conflict in the work place just seems to be a fact of life” (Mind Tools Ltd, 2010). Mind Tools Ltd quotes this in an article on Conflict Resolution. Conflict is not a new terminology and exists in all life aspects. The fact that conflict actually does exist is not a threat to business organizations so long as it can be effectively managed. In fact, when conflict is properly managed, it creates room for both professional and personal growth (Mind Tools Ltd, 2010).

Every employee, manager or leader within an organization is faced with conflict at one time or the other and therefore it is important to manage conflict. This essay supports the idea that it is the right thing to manage conflict as far business organizations are concerned.

Sources of conflict and roots of conflict management in a business organization

OPPapers in their article on Conflict management in the work place quotes Hellriegel, Slocum and Woodman’s definition of conflict as “the process in which one party perceives that its interest are being opposed or negatively affected by another party” (OPPapers, 2010). Some of the employees use much of their energy in trying to fit into the workplace environment or making workplace fit for them. Sometimes, neither of their efforts works. They therefore have two options: live under the workplace condition or force a change.

The force for change is a dangerous source of conflict within an organization. In addition, every employee has his/her goals for work. However, the goals at times do not align with those of the organization. These differences breed conflict within a business organization (Scott, 2010).

The business organization may also be a source of conflict in itself. If the business focus is broader than normal, employees become uncertain and confused about the company’s direction. For instance, if the work is too much for employees, they will not take it kindly. A non-profit making organization that seeks out to help everyone in whatever need ends up with overwhelmed and extremely tired employees. On the other, if the focus is narrow, it limits the potential of the employees and for this reason misses out the essential elements that gives it prosperity. When for instance suggestions of employees are ignored, they may result to violence (Scott, 2010).

When conflict carries a group of employees, the organization is vulnerable and in most cases is negatively affected. For instance, when a group of workers boycott their duties, the business operates at a loss due to loss of productivity. As a result of conflict, conflict management crops up to bring peace in an organization and create a conducive environment at the work place that every employee, leader or manager will feel comfortable and happy to work in (Scott, 2010).

Need for the management of conflict at the workplace

Conflict will forever occur at the workplace. To ensure a smooth running business organization as well as its productivity; it is essential to manage conflict. The aim of managing conflict arising at the workplace is to enhance teamwork, improve communication as well as create a systematic approach through which disagreements are solved (OPPapers, 2010).

In the management of conflict, conflicting workers are made to understand that their goals can be achieved without in any way undermining those of others. They as a result develop respect for one another. Additionally, conflict management at the work place increases cohesion of a certain group. When conflict management is done diplomatically and effectively, the team members are brought close together and they develop a stronger mutual respect towards each other.

Their trust to work together is renewed as a result of conflict management. More so, conflict management improves self-knowledge. The individuals are made to close-examine their goals and in the process, they understand the ones that are most important to the organization and to them. Their focus is sharpened and this results in effectiveness in their work and hence high productivity and profits for the business (Mind Tools Ltd, 2010).

If conflict is not effectively managed, its results can be damaging to a business organization. The conflict can breed into dislike of people at the work places. A team work that had effectively been working together can easily be smashed into pieces. People in conflict may withdraw their commitment from work and in the process talent is wasted. The organization in turn receives a downward spiral characterized by recrimination and negativity (Mind Tools Ltd, 2010).

In addition, conflict may psychologically affect the well being of the employees and put them under stressful conditions. This does not auger well with their productivity as far as the organization is concerned. If conflict is not managed, anger, anxiety and tension are bound to result to deep lasting conflicts that may even cause physical violence between employees and destruction of business property (OPPapers, 2010).

If conflict is unmanaged, it makes the lives of people involved hard and taxing. Conflicts at the work place if remains unmanaged are even more damaging. Working people spend nearly one third of their lives at the workplace. Poor relationships brought about by conflict at the work place have a profound negative effect on the wellbeing of a person. When a worker is sickly, his/her effectiveness at the work place is reduced affecting the productivity of the business organization (Ferguson, 2008).

Conflict as has been described above is destructive and leaders in a business organization such as managers must be sensitive to any sign of conflict and by all means manage the conflict (OPPapers, 2010).


Today’s society is addicted to conflict but it means no harm when it is managed effectively. Places of work have been faced by conflict when the goals of employees and those of the organization do not sail in the same boat. It is therefore very important to manage the conflict as it comes. Conflict management at the work place provides workers with an opportunity to enjoy their work and hence they become more productive.


Ferguson, D. (2008). What teachers need to know about personal wellbeing. Camberwell: ACER Press

Mind Tools Ltd. (2010). Conflict resolution. Retrieved from

OPPapers. (2010). Conflict management in the work place. Retrieved from

Scott, V. (2010). Conflict resolution at work for dummies. Canada: Wiley Publishing