Common types of workplace conflicts

Posted on: September 1, 2008

Whether you like it or not, at some point of time you will be forced to face a workplace conflict. Conflicts at your workplace occur usually when an individual or a group of them have had differences in respect to what they are aiming to attain keeping in mind their personal benefit. There are a few common types of conflicts that are bound to happen from time to time. There are interdependence conflicts wherein one person’s job is affected or depends upon someone else’s cooperation and input or output. For instance, if a sales person delays the entry of his sales record, then the accountant in charge will be late with his reports. This results in a conflicts between the both and can be resolved if both the concerned people set a fixed date and are required to stand by it.

Cooperation and team work minimize differences, optimize the use of resources and enhance working relationships. Conflicts may also arise when employees have a different style of performance for completing a job. To site an example, Paul wants to get done with the job quickly and is more task oriented whereas john another team player is concerned with getting more people involved and is more thought oriented. Both the schools of thoughts are justified in their own way and the only way to resolve such a conflict would be to merge both the styles and find a neutral path. Conflicts may also crop up due to difference in personalities.

A recent survey showed that 85% of the dismissals and terminations in the US are due to personality conflicts. Personality conflicts arise when one feels, emotes and percepts differently about someone else’s motives and character. Conflicts may also occur due to difference in education background, personal experiences, religion and gender. If you swap from one supervisor to another, there are chances of confusion and conflicts too as both may have different styles of management. Basically all conflicts are messy and disruptive. They cannot miraculously vanish with ignorance. It is wiser to face it upfront and resolve it fairly and justly.

Carlos Todd, LPC


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