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The Ways To Conflict Resolution At The Workplace

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The number of individual disputes arising from day-to-day workers’ grievances or complaints has been rising across the world (ILO, 2013). Outline the causes and how these disputes can be mitigated in organisations.

This essay will outline the causes of individual disputes and how these disputes can be mitigated in organizations globally. The first part of the essay will seek to outline what causes these disputes which arise from day to day workers’ grievance whereas the second part of the essay will look at how these disputed are lessened. As disputes related to work are a common issue around the world, there will a comparison of how these issues arise and the resolution or prevention put in place. Conflicts at work take many forms which could be individual with a grievance, a problem between a worker and a supervisor or conflict between two co-workers (Fortado, B., 2001). Disputes at work have a higher tendency of making workers less productive and affects the morale of other colleagues (Almost, 2006).

Danielsson et al, 2015, asserts that Conflicts in organizations can be characterised as either affective or substantive conflicts. A further division of workplace conflicts includes intrapersonal conflicts, interpersonal conflicts, within (work) group and between (work) groups. Moderate levels of conflicts are regarded as healthy and dynamic for the work culture as it enhances and promotes innovation. Whether conflicts will have positive or negative outcomes depends on the type of conflict. It has for example been found that both relationship conflicts (problems with the personalities of co-workers) and process conflicts (about assignments of duties or resources) in work teams can be detrimental to performance (Jehn, K.A., 1997). According to Danielsson et al, 2015, Conflict is a normal outcome of human dealings which is very common in every workplace. These conflicts can arise from situations between individuals, groups, or organizations looking at achieving their objectives, and these scenarios are different from one person to the other or one company towards the other. This is because of different behavioural preferences regarding similar issues or ideas, attitudes, values, beliefs and skills.

The predominant explanation for workplace conflicts has been individual, psychological factors, although organizational factors also may generate workplace conflicts. Organizational risk factors can be lack of resources, categorization, role ambiguity, change, poor physical environment, stress and overtime work whereas preventive factors are social support from colleagues and supervisors and career advancement opportunities (Balducci et al, 2012). These factors are related to organizational culture and organizational climate, which portrays the characteristics and features of every organization. The former, organizational climate builds more slowly in comparison to organizational climate that both forms and varies more rapidly (Kacmar & Baron, 1999).

The one most common causes of conflicts at work is Communication failures which can occur due to challenges with the sending or receiving of a message, especially one that concerns complex or emotional matters; this includes language barriers. Emotions such as anger or envy can both bring about and add intensity to a conflict, but this happens when there is no clear communication strategy or the failure to resolve a communication gap. Researchers in this area have always want to know whether agreement or disagreement within the same groups is advantageous or not. It has been proven that while relationship conflicts based on personal and interpersonal clashes is disadvantageous to the group performance and productivity and affects team morale eventually, task conflicts are most often of much benefits to the group as ideas are made known (Jehn, K.A., 1997).

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Values systems of employees (i.e., moral and ethical beliefs) guide one’s decisions and actions; should values differ between individuals, conflicts may arise. This mostly stems from differences in personalities and ideas and the value differences normally bring about bullying at work, harassment pay and pay-gap issues, working conditions etc (Craig, et al 2005).

Structure consists of the elements in the external framework constituting an issue such as individual experiences, the physical work environment and resources involved. Disputes resulting from structural issues or organizational settings includes disputes over resources because of over-usage by one group or its distribution, limited workspace for employees, health and safety concerns, change in working conditions, job cuts and increased workload (Mayer, 2010).

In finding the cause of the conflict, management should now have a clearly defined way of resolving which should clearly defined strategy for mitigating against conflicts and these strategies must be followed by an adequate conflict management and prevention (Petković, 2008)

Managers should adopt the strategy of negotiation which is the most common strategy of solving conflicts and it is successful when the interests of opposite sides are partly common and partly different. The negotiation is a process, in which involves several tactics including face–to-face tactic, persuading tactic, deceitfulness tactic, threat tactic, promise tactic, and concession tactic. The most important tactic of negotiation style is the concession tactic which makes it possible to create an atmosphere of good will and readiness for solving the problem. All actors in the conflict count on both sides making a concession (Spaho, 2013)

In resolving conflicts at work globally, there is the strategy of superior goal which is one of the most useful ways of mitigating workplace conflict is to define the goals of the task or the team which will present a goal above individual goals causing the conflict either on the personal or interpersonal level or one that is between two different groups working toward a particular task (Knutson et al,2000)

On other way of resolving disputes at work is the application of Alternative Conflict Resolution by third-party intervention. If a negotiation strategy does not show results, it is recommended to apply the strategy of the third-party intervention. In this situation, management hires an external consultant to solve the problem. The consultant can be a mediator, whose task is to give instruction to sides in conflict on how to solve the problem, or an arbitrator, whose task is to impose a solution. Mediation as compared to court proceedings is a much effective way of resolving conflicts and ensure that the damage done is well controlled because rather than lawyers and judges determining the terms of the dispute resolve, the parties remain in charge of the entire issue (Karjee,2010). A concord is achieved only if it is acceptable to both sides. However, research shows that the strategy is least used as the other two strategies must be under control of first line managers, because it is their task to solve conflicts. If they cannot, or do not want to solve the conflict, this must be done by upper-level managers. And most of these third-party resolution styles will involve Integrating, Obliging, Dominating etc (Regan, 2002).


  1. Almost, J., 2006. Conflict within nursing work environments: concept analysis. Journal of advanced nursing, 53(4), pp.444-453.
  2. Danielsson, C.B., Bodin, L., Wulff, C., Theorell, T., Arkitektur, KTH & Skolan för arkitektur och samhällsbyggnad (ABE) 2015, ‘The relation between office type and workplace conflict: A gender and noise perspective’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 42, pp. 161-171
  3. Fortado, B., 2001. The metamorphosis of workplace conflict. Human relations, 54(9), pp.1189-1221.
  4. Jehn, K.A., 1997. A qualitative analysis of conflict types and dimensions in organizational groups. Administrative science quarterly, pp.530-557.
  5. Balducci, C., Cecchin, M. and Fraccaroli, F., 2012. The impact of role stressors on workplace bullying in both victims and perpetrators, controlling for personal vulnerability factors: A longitudinal analysis. Work & Stress, 26(3), pp.195-212.
  6. Kacmar, K.M. and Baron, R.A., 1999. Organizational politics. Research in human resources management, pp.1-39.
  7. Spaho, K., 2013. Organizational communication and conflict management. Management-Journal of Contemporary Management Issues, 18(1), pp.103-118.
  8. Knutson, T.J., Hwang, J.C. and Deng, B.C., 2000. Perception and management of conflict: A comparison of Taiwanese and US business employees. Intercultural Communication Studies, 9(2), pp.1-32.
  9. Regan, P.M., 2002. Third-party interventions and the duration of intrastate conflicts. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 46(1), pp.55-73.
  10. 1Mayer, B.S., 2010. The dynamics of conflict resolution: A practitioner’s guide. John Wiley & Sons.
  11. Karjee, K., 2010. Alternative dispute resolution. Available at SSRN 1533355.

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