Interpersonal Conflicts

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Review of Literature on

(Organisational Behaviour)

Submitted By:

Sourabh Choudhury


Interpersonal conflicts are most often based on lack of effective communication, pride and emotionalism. As a result, they can provoke some of the most costly battles in business and should therefore be avoided if at all possible. When someone allows pride and raw emotionalism to control their actions, they are likely to make decisions that, under normal circumstances, they would never consider. Interpersonal conflicts may result in loud, disruptive arguments, acts of covert sabotage and even acts of violence.


Conflicts among Co-Workers

Conflicts at the workplace are one of the biggest reasons for employee productivity issues and often give rise to what is perceived as a hostile workplace. Managers are responsible for responding to workplace conflicts in an effective and timely manner so as to prevent a spark from igniting a fire. Human behaviour is not the mystery that it is made out to be.

There are basically two types of conflicts. The first is the Work-System conflict. This includes procedures, methods, policies, workflow, productivity and quality. It's all about the core job tasks and processes that guide the employee's job duties. Employees will differ in their interpretation and evaluation of many aspects of work, from policy and quality standards to' workload distribution and productivity. When views differ or clash, they look to management for answers.

On the other hand, when a leader sees two or more employees argue about — and fail to resolve — a work-system issue, the challenge is spilling into the second category of workplace conflict, which we'll call behavioural. Behaviour that is unacceptable or undesirable in the workplace includes foul language, sarcasm, accusatory questioning, subtle sabotage, and gossip, the slinging of paper or items across the desk, the silent treatment, and purposeful group segregation, staring or glaring. You needn't be a psychologist to manage employee conflict. You don't even need to import a "team day" seminar or outside mediator. Just ensure that the management team can identify the type of conflict occurring, and approach and interact with the key players effectively. Behaviour conflict does not belong at work, and the best way to quash it is to define unacceptable behaviour to the entire organization, and then intervene to resolve it when it arises. When intervening, leaders must outline the consequences that repeat offenders will experience, and follow through consistently. Otherwise, employees will view your mutual-respect policies as marketing slogans, which will lead to lowered respect, loyalty, trust and effort.

When the Bosses Fight

Often there can be situations in your workplace when there can be conflicts among your bosses/managers and you are stuck in the middle. Often bosses think that the team members do not see what is going on, or they are so involved in the conflict that they don’t care if those around them suffer. Whether they are owners, managers or team leaders, when they fight, the aftershocks sure do percolate downwards. To counter such scenarios, communicate directly and clearly any contradiction in directions given to you by the two parties. If possible, try to engage a third party, preferably someone higher up the hierarchy. Also get everything in writing when you feel that the managers may disagree over the task or project. Avoid gossiping about these issues with your co-workers. Also avoid making personal judgements.

Conflicts relating to Customer-Employees

This is one type of conflict which is very sensitive from organisation's profitability point of view and involves complex reasoning abilities to settle. Not all customer issues are as easy to resolve as they appear. Not all vendors are as willing to work with you. You may also have an awful customer who you just...
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