Conflict in the Workplace

Squint - Gabriel Doyle

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and business psychology firm OPP got together to look at conflict in the workplace in a report called Fight, Flight or Face It. And you know what they found? You're not alone.

The Stats

83% of UK employees working in finance have experienced workplace conflict at some point during their careers.

The top three causes of conflict in the workplace are: heavy workloads and/or inadequate resources (57%), stress (40%) and poor line management (32%).

58% of those who've experienced conflict thought these conflicts had a negative impact on the organisation as a whole.

Of those employees, 45% have spent between 1-5 hours of each working  week dealing with this conflict.

Workplace conflict has led to 34% of employees leaving the organisation, 19% being fired, 26% being sick/absent, and 23% of employees being moved to different departments.

42% of employees have had no formal training on how to deal with conflict.

Of those who have received training, 59% reported positive outcomes, such as: it helped me get what I want from situations of conflict (9%) or it helped me avoid conflict (19%).

And as a result of a conflict at work, 66% have gone out of their way to avoid certain people at work and 40% have failed to attend work-related social activities.

The Takeaway

According to Linda Holbeche, director of research and policy at the CIPD:

"Conflict is an inevitable part of the workplace and can be very damaging and costly if not managed properly. Managers must be able to identify the early signs of conflict and intervene and diffuse situations before they escalate if teams are to work productively and harmoniously. Managers must also manage under-performance firmly and fairly, as well as pick-up on when banter starts to become bullying or when workloads become excessive."

"Just as importantly managers must learn to manage in a way that does not create conflict by providing clear objectives, communicating effectively and planning and managing individual and team workloads appropriately."