Organisational Behavior and Ethics: Conflicts in Organisations

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Conflicts are inventible in organisations and this means that managers must be prepared to ensure all employees continue to work despite the existence of disagreements in their places of work. The causes of conflicts in organisations range from natural to manmade and this means that not all of them can be avoided fully. There is hope that organisations can achieve a high level of success in managing conflicts if they embrace practices and establish policies that will ensure employees understand their roles, work together and respect each other.

The effects of conflicts in organisations range from low staff morale to, decrease in productivity and time wastage. Luckily, there are various ways of solving conflicts and this includes the formulation of policies that will ensure all employees know what they are supposed to do to avoid overstepping their mandates.


Organisations work hard to ensure that their employees work in healthy environments so that they can do their best to increase productivity. However, this is usually not possible because sometimes workers engage in arguments and disagreements that make their work environment hostile. Critics argue that most organisations ignore the need to address issues regarding conflicts amongst workers and this creates room for other problems. Conflicts in organisations may not be recognised easily because they take various forms that are difficult to understand. This discussion explains the causes, effects, and solutions to the problem of conflicts in organisations.


Conflict is a state of disagreement between employees and this is usually fuelled by various issues that may affect the personality of an individual or his work environment (Gangel 2012). These disagreements may also occur between people and systems or machines that are supposed to facilitate the creation of a healthy working environment. This paper will refer to all these forms of disagreements as conflicts and how they shape the behaviour of employees.

Conflicts in Organisations

There is no organisation that can boast of a conflict-free environment and this means that it is not easy to avoid disagreements. Most people do not intentionally create rooms for conflicts because they know the dangers associated with these issues. Therefore, people should focus on the need to ensure that they minimise the effects of inevitable conflicts in their organisations. It is necessary to understand the causes, effects, and solutions to the problems of conflicts in organisations so that people can know what to do to avoid them.

The main cause of conflicts in organisations is personality differences. Most employees believe that they have the best qualifications, skills, and abilities to do their work while others think that they should not be directed by their colleagues. In addition, employees do not come from similar backgrounds and even if this is possible they cannot have identical personalities (Roche 2014). There are things that some employees like while others hate.

For instance, some employees do not prefer being ridiculed or called nicknames while others have no problem with these behaviours. Secondly, employees have different goals and priorities and this makes them have conflicts when prioritising their needs. Some employees believe that their opinions should be given priorities over those of others because they believe they are usually right (Rothman 2010). Most organisations do not have forums to address the priorities and opinions of others and they leave their employees to decide for themselves. Very few individuals can sacrifice and forego their interests to ensure there are no conflicts in their places of work. However, a huge percentage of employees will not allow their colleagues to express their opinions even if they are better than what they have to present (Love 2014).

Thirdly, the processes of achieving objectives also create conflicts in organisations. Employees may have similar objectives but nobody will be willing to use another person’s method to achieve their goals. Workers that believe their methods are superior to others will never give their colleagues chances to express their suggestions. In addition, competition for promotions, salary increases, and other issues makes employees disagree. Workers believe that their contributions to organisations should be recognised and appreciated. Therefore, they think that their bosses should consider them for promotions and salary increase because they work hard to make their organisations successful. Lastly, communication breakdown is responsible for some conflicts in organisations.

Employees may fail to understand the meanings of some messages because of communication barriers (Runde 2009). Therefore, they will not fulfil the expectations of the message and this may be perceived as arrogance or negligence. Most organisations use communication channels that make it difficult for employees to understand their messages. Therefore, they experience regular conflicts because of the misunderstanding caused due to wrong interpretations.

The effects of conflicts in organisations ranging from personal to organisational depending on their causes and the victims involved. Conflicts in organisations kill the morale of employees and make them less productive. Nobody likes working in environments where there is no peace and understanding amongst stakeholders (Guttman 2008). Therefore, conflicts in organisations reduce the ability of employees to work hard and this may affect the activities of an organisation. Secondly, organisations that experience regular conflicts waste a lot of time and valuable resources in solving issues that would have been managed easily.

Conflicts in organisations are usually solved through meetings to identify their causes and solutions. Organisations may spend a lot of time-solving conflicts between employees or spend unnecessarily hiring experts that will advise employees how to work peacefully. Thirdly, conflicts affect the mental abilities of an individual and this means that employees that are exposed to regular misunderstandings may develop health complications (Raines 2013). Employees are usually overburdened with their work and there is hardly any room to think about conflicts. Therefore, they may be affected if there are no proper mechanisms for solving conflicts in their organisations.

Moreover, conflicts push employees to seek employment in other organisations. Workers usually try to solve conflicts when they arise and seek help from relevant authorities to make sure they work in peaceful environments. However, some managers do not pay attention to the cries of their subordinates and this means that the victims of conflicts will continue to suffer (Flanagan 2011). Therefore, they leave their organisations to work for others because they do not see a peaceful future in their previous places of work. This may lead to loss of manpower and transfer of an organisation’s secrets to its competitors.

Lastly, some conflicts, especially those that arise due to criticism of employees’ personalities may lead to violence. It is very shameful for employees to fight instead of solving their differences maturely. Some employees are usually short-tempered while others think that violence is the best way of solving conflict. Fights in places of work may cause injuries to employees and damage property and these require a lot of money and time to be restored.

Healthy communication amongst employees is the most effective way of solving conflicts in organisations. Psychologists argue that conflict in organisations can be eliminated or managed through establishing effective communication channels that will ensure there are no misunderstandings in places of work (Folger 2012). In addition, effective communication enables employees to solve serious conflicts within a short time and ensure there are no chances for disagreements in the future. Secondly, there is the need for employees to be taught to respect each other despite their ages or experiences.

Young employees usually despise old ones and this may cause conflicts in their places of work. Thirdly, employees should ensure they synchronise their goals and how to achieve them to avoid disagreements in organisations (Costantino 2011).

They should be flexible and give other people’s opinions chances to bring change in their places of work. They should discuss and exploit all the means of achieving their objectives and choose the best ones. Lastly, organisations should adopt employee appraisal procedures that are fair and just to enable the best candidates to get a salary increase or promotions. This will reduce competition and conflicts that arise when employees fight for limited resources available in organisations.


Most causes of conflicts in organisations are avoidable; therefore, managers and their subordinates should look for solutions to their disagreements and avoid issues that may hinder effective communication amongst them. Conflicts should make employees more united and respectful of each other. Employees should never rush to make decisions that affect them; instead, they should learn to be patient and seek advice from their colleagues or friends so that they can know what they are supposed to do.


Costantino, C. (2011). Designing Conflict Management Systems: A Guide to Creating Productive and Healthy Organizations. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Flanagan, T. A. (2011). Developing Your Conflict Competence: A Hands-On Guide for Leaders, Managers, Facilitators, and Teams. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Folger, J. P. (2012). Working through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations. New Jersey: Pearson.

Gangel, K. O. (2012). Communication and Conflict Management in Churches and Christian Organizations. New York: Wipf and Stock.

Guttman, H. M. (2008). When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization. Washington: Mt. Arlington Business Press.

Love, R. (2014). Peace Catalysts: Resolving Conflict in Our Families, Organizations and Communities. New York: IVP Books.

Raines, S. (2013). Conflict Management for Managers: Resolving Workplace, Client, and Policy Disputes. New York: Wiley.

Roche, W. K. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Conflict Management in Organizations. London: Oxford University Press.

Rothman, J. (2010). Resolving Identity-Based Conflict in Nations, Organizations, and Communities. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Runde, C. E. (2009). Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader: How You and Your Organization Can Manage Conflict Effectively. New York: Jossey-Bass.

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