Conflict is a state in which opposing ideas, opinions, feelings, or wishes exist between two individuals or groups. Many minds working together may cause a rift or difference in ideas and perspectives. Different working habits and opinions are reasons behind conflicts within an organization.

 

Different personality traits and values are also causes of workplace conflicts. These attributes boost competition within the group. Office conflicts are often seen as interpersonal problems. However, once you delve deeper, you’ll observe that more significant systemic issues are often the source of conflicts in an organization.

 

There are several reasons behind conflicts within an organization. Let’s look at the major sources of conflict in an organization:

 

Major Sources Of Conflict In An Organization

 

  1. Lack of common performance standards

  2. Competition

  3. Personal differences

  4. Lack of resources

  5. Communication issues

  6. Time constraints

  7. Task interdependence

  8. Status issues

 

 

1. Lack of common performance standards

The different parameters for judging performance and arbitrary reward systems become a source of conflict in an organization. The absence of common performance standards is an avoidable source of conflict in the workplace. For example, the production staff is rewarded for their efficiency based on long-term results. On the other hand, sales people are rewarded for their short-term response to market changes without thinking much about long-term market efficiency. This situation causes conflict as every unit tries to reach its performance standards while unfairly competing with others.

 

2. Competition

Competition is the most common cause of team conflicts. Every person wants to be recognized and appreciated for their work. This leads to cutthroat competition and conflicts in the end. Unhealthy competition can be addressed by building team spirit. Bringing employees together as a family could decrease this kind of conflict.

 

3. Personal differences

There are bound to be differences among the people in a team. Their unique abilities, traits and skills affect interpersonal relations. So do their backgrounds, culture, and thinking. However, aggressiveness, dominating personalities, authoritarian behavior and intolerance are causes of workplace conflict that must be tempered and discouraged.

4. Lack of resources

Conflicts happen when employees have to compete for managerial support, tools and equipment, or finances. Having sufficient resources that employees can access when needed ensures a stress-free environment.  When resources are lacking, employees get demoralized and are more prone to negativity. This becomes a source of conflict in an organization.

 

5. Communication issues

It is safe to say that communication barriers are one of the causes of conflict in an organization. If there is a misunderstanding in sharing information from one person to another, it may cause a conflict. Communication is a complex process; it causes barriers that often stir conflict. Any hindrances to two-way communication make it easy to misjudge another person or group. Such misunderstandings can hurt employee performance. Creating specific and clear communication channels that inculcate a culture where questions are welcomed will go a long way in relieving this type of conflict.

  

6. Time constraints

Deadlines are necessary to meet targets, but too much pressure is counterproductive. They often turn into causes of workplace conflict. Unreasonable deadlines lead to stress and unhappiness. Managers must respect an individual’s capability before setting their targets.  The employee also needs to know  how long they have to complete a task. Carefully creating the job design and cross-training employees can lessen these conflicts.

  

7. Task interdependence

When the two teams or departments are interdependent for supplies, information, direction or help, they need perfect coordination. While interdependence can be fruitful, it is also a reason for workplace conflict. This is especially true for teams that often work closely with each other, such as sales and production, sales and marketing, production and re­search and development, etc. The higher the interdependence among individuals or groups, the greater the chance of conflict. Therefore, coordination and communication are necessary for interlinked teams. 

 

8. Status issues

Status could mean the respect and prestige a person receives in the organization. At times, mem­bers disagree with the status quo leading them to become frustrated and resentful. Everyone tries to protect and elevate their positions. This is a reason for conflict in the workplace. This issue can be resolved if people are aware of one another’s position. Finally, all employees must treat their colleagues with respect, regardless of their post.

The sources of conflict in the workplace can vary depending on the organization and its work culture. Conflicts are unavoidable in dynamic workplaces where multiple people coexist. However, it is important to recognize their sources, address them, and move forward before these conflicts get out of hand and threaten the company. Harappa’s Navigating Workplaces program is perfect for giving all you need to know on this technique. Join now!

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