People live in communities and tend to cooperate with others to complete numerous tasks. This pattern has remained for centuries as people united to increase their chance of survival and, later, improve their wellbeing. This cooperation has also been characterized by numerous conflicts, including interpersonal and intrapersonal ones. Interpersonal conflicts can be defined as a disagreement between two or more people, and intrapersonal conflicts appear in an individual’s mind when some ideas, values, events evoke negative emotions in a person (Robbins & Judge, 2018).
Numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of conflict situations, and the research on the matter seems rather ubiquitous although researchers are still gaining new insights into these types of conflict. Interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts have a considerable impact on the performance of the organization and its development.
This influence is associated with the concept of organizational culture that is instrumental in minimizing or mitigating the negative outcomes of conflicts. Organizational culture is a complex system of the meaning shared by all employees within an organization that is usually presented by a set of values, artifacts, and norms (Robbins & Judge, 2018). Strong organizational culture results in people’s commitment to certain agendas in business, as well as ethical and spiritual domains (Ghazzawi, Smith, & Cao, 2016). People share specific values and standards regarding behavior, which minimizes the number of conflicts, both interpersonal and intrapersonal.
As a rule, organizational culture is based on universal moral values linked to such concepts as support, empathy, dignity, respect, cooperativeness, and others. Employees sharing such meanings are likely to be committed to similar goals and will create a favorable atmosphere with no or a few conflicts. It is noteworthy that people’s religious beliefs have a strong impact on this aspect, which, in its turn, influences organizational behavior. Companies with weak cultures often face numerous issues related to interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts as people’s differences make the weak system even less viable. This situation may result in deteriorating organizational performance.
The competitiveness of any organization tends to depend on its ability to change adapting to the emerging trends in the business world. The implementation of organizational change requires a high level of the employees’ commitment and strong organizational culture. Mangundjaya (2015) emphasizes that organizational trust and people’s personal characteristics play the most important role in employees’ commitment to change.
People’s spirituality is also critical, especially during the period of change, because employees’ behavior and performance depend on this aspect (Miller & Ewest, 2015). The faith of individuals working groups shapes their attitude and conduct. In many cases, faith contributes to the adherence to high moral standards, but certain beliefs may become an obstacle to accepting some changes. The article by Miller and Ewest (2015) includes a brief description of a new model organizations can utilize to manage workplace issues and conflicts.
The process of change is complex, and various interpersonal and intrapersonal challenges often arise. Strong organizational culture will lead to the minimization of intrapersonal conflict as people who do not share some values and ideas will not be hired or will not work for a company for a long period of time (Robbins & Judge, 2018). Nevertheless, at the period of change, intrapersonal conflicts can play the most significant role in this process as people find it difficult or impossible to tolerate inner discomfort.
If several changes are not consistent with their faith or moral codes, they will quit. The adoption of a more comprehensive framework is essential in such situations, as companies should become a place of spiritual diversity and collaboration. The organizational culture should be based on the principles of empathy and understanding, as well as openness to diverse spiritual aspects (Miller & Ewest, 2015). Mangundjaya (2015) stresses that organizational trust can be difficult to attain if a weak organizational culture is established. Strong cultures may also need certain changes as modern companies still pay little attention to their employees’ spirituality.
As far as interpersonal conflicts are concerned, they are also rather common for the period of change. People who fail to handle intrapersonal conflicts are often unable to develop proper relationships with their peers, which leads to interpersonal conflicts. Companies often fail to address the underlying reasons for such conflicts, so these attempts often fail (Miller & Ewest, 2015). People have different values and moral norms, which results in misunderstandings, resentment, and conflict. Therefore, companies should pay specific attention to these spiritual facets that have an impact on the workplace climate and even organizational culture.
Managers paying attention to employees’ moral values and their personal codes of conduct, as well as religious beliefs, will contribute to the development of organizational trust and commitment to change. Employees will acknowledge and accept the need for change, as well as the methods to be used, as they will trust the leaders. People will become committed to organizational goals and be more cooperative trying to align their spiritual agendas with their colleagues’ needs.
Hence, employees’ commitment to change and the successful implementation of change depend on management’s ability to establish organizational trust by paying the necessary attention to people’s spiritual needs and profiles. Employees’ moral codes and religious beliefs should be considered when developing (or changing) the organizational culture. This approach will be instrumental in addressing intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts. People’s faith shapes the way the standards existing in the modern world are understood and accepted (or rejected). It is essential to make sure that the change will result in the establishment of an organizational culture characterized by specific attention to employees’ faith and spirituality.
Organizational management can be hindered if important facets of people’s behavior and personal characteristics are not properly addressed. Ghazzawi et al. (2016) examined the effect of people’s religious beliefs on organizational behavior with a focus on employee satisfaction and commitment. The link between the participants’ spirituality and their job satisfaction, as well as behavioral patterns, was apparent. The study sheds light on an important aspect of people’s behavior, including the ways people see and manage conflict.
First, it is important to consider some methodological details related to the research to evaluate its validity. The research involved 741 participants employed in diverse companies and organizations in California (Ghazzawi et al., 2016). People who self-identified with one of such religions as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism took part in the study. The participants completed surveys, and their job satisfaction was mainly assessed.
Ghazzawi et al. (2016) state that the relation between religion and job satisfaction is apparent but not substantial, as other factors are likely to intrude. For instance, income was directly related to employees’ job satisfaction irrespective of their religious beliefs. The authors stress that the major value of the study is the provision of insights into the way employees’ religious beliefs affect their commitment and possible strategies to manage organizations characterized by diversity in terms of ethnicity and religious affiliations.
This research is valuable as it contributes to the understanding of certain factors affecting the occurrence of intrapersonal or interpersonal conflict in the workplace in multicultural organizations. Robbins and Judge (2018) state that employees’ spirituality has an impact on organizational culture and organizations’ performance. Ghazzawi et al. (2016) provide evidence that religious beliefs influence people’s commitment, which, eventually, translates into the performance of the entire organization. Ghazzawi et al. (2016) state that people practicing Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are more committed to organizational goals and accept the authority of the leader.
Therefore, a strong culture is specifically important for them due to their focus on values and norms. These people will manage intrapersonal conflicts (if any) by aligning them with their moral values. People practicing other religions (or no religion) will focus on their moral codes rather than their religious beliefs. If a company has a weak culture, intrapersonal conflicts are likely to persist and transform into interpersonal disagreements. Dogaru (2017) claims that the leader will have to supervise such employees’ performance and interactions. Strong leadership will lead to the development of a strong organizational culture and improved performance.
The study by Ghazzawi et al. (2016) is specifically relevant when considering interpersonal conflict and its impact on organizational culture and performance. As mentioned above, those who practice Judaism, Islam, and Christianity find authority important, and religious beliefs guide their behavior (Ghazzawi et al., 2016). Even in the company with a weak culture, such employees will follow the established rules and will adhere to major moral principles that are instrumental in the creation of a favorable working atmosphere.
Strong leadership would be important but not critical in this case. People practicing other religions (or no religion) can find it difficult to establish proper relationships with colleagues if the existing culture is not sufficiently established. Again, strong leadership will be necessary to manage interpersonal conflicts, and the leader will have to understand the peculiarities of working in a multicultural environment.
Thus, it is necessary to note that people’s spirituality has a significant effect on their performance and the methods utilized to manage intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts. People practicing diverse religions have a different attitude towards organizational culture and tend to behave based on their beliefs and values. The role of the leader in managing both types of conflicts mentioned above can be central if the organizational culture is weak.
In conclusion, it is necessary to state that employees’ spirituality and faith are crucial for proper organizational performance and employees’ commitment to change. People have different spiritual needs, which should be considered by management. Organizational culture should encompass spirituality and the idea of empathy, understanding, and collaboration. It is noteworthy that people may practice different religions, but they tend to share some of the moral standards regarding major facets of human life. Although behaviors and principles may differ, management can focus on certain universal codes related to the concepts of the good and the bad.
The atmosphere in the working place gained its momentum years ago, but it can be difficult to establish and maintain a favorable workplace climate. This situation is typical of companies that have weak organizational culture and ineffective leadership. Strong leadership and properly set organizational culture can ensure people’s excellent performance and appropriate workplace relationships (Bakke, 2005). The focus on a well-defined mission and goals is another important factor contributing to the success of any organization (Bakke, 2005). People’s religious beliefs and their spirituality can be instrumental in the development and maintenance of organizational goals that will be attained.
Christian values are based on the principle of understanding, kindness, empathy, cooperation, and love. These values can become the ground for the effective collaboration of employees committed to organizational goals (that are consistent with such standards).
For Christians, authority and proper conduct are important, which is the foundation of high performance. At the same time, Christians also believe that empathy and understanding are critical for people, so other views and perspectives are considered and respected (unless they contradict the basic principles mentioned above). The integration of faith in organizational management can be favorable due to its ability to offer effective methods to manage diversity. People practicing different religions and having certain moral codes (that may differ in some aspects) will always develop effective strategies to collaborate since they will focus on high moral standards (that are mainly shared in major religions).
On balance, employees’ spirituality, including their faith, should be incorporated into organizational management. This objective can be achieved by the creation of the mission and organizational goals consistent with high moral standards. Employees having different backgrounds (and different beliefs) will devise effective methods to collaborate, manage conflicts (if any), and achieve organizational goals. Faith is an essential part of people’s psyche, which is manifested in organizational behavior, so it should become an integral component of organizational management.
Organizational culture is one of the central factors affecting the overall performance of companies. Employees’ behavior and relationships with one another are guided by the existing norms and values. The development and maintenance of organizational culture can be a difficult process due to various reasons, including diversity, economic issues, and ineffective leadership, among others (Robbins & Judge, 2018). The presence of faith in this process can facilitate the creation of a favorable climate in the working place (Hage & Posner, 2015). Christian values can become the ground for the strong organizational culture that will facilitate employees’ effective collaboration, as well as enhance employee job satisfaction and performance.
It is necessary to remember that strong leadership may be needed when developing a new (or improving the existing) organizational culture. Transformational leadership is the most appropriate type that can ensure the establishment of a strong organizational culture based on Christian values. Transformational leadership implies the focus on growth and collaboration, and the leader is a mentor rather than an instructor (Robbins & Judge, 2018). Such Christian values as empathy, support, and respect are consistent with the methods typical of transformational leaders. Employees are able to unveil new facets of their skills and personalities, which can have a positive effect on the atmosphere at the workplace.
Importantly, diversity should be one of the major aspects to consider when developing organizational culture and managing employees’ behavior. Smith (2015) notes that employees’ socioeconomic and cultural peculiarities have a considerable influence on the climate in the workplace, so leaders should always pay attention to these features. People’s spirituality should become another aspect to focus on, because it can be instrumental in establishing rapport.
Leaders following Christian principles try to build on the moral codes that are common for all religions. It can be effective to discuss some spiritual concepts at the workplace, since it will help employees feel support and enhance their commitment to organizational goals due to their consistency with their personal values. Ghazzawi et al. (2016) note that people’s behavior, as well as their attitude towards authority, in their working places is shaped by their religious beliefs. Therefore, a Christian leader acknowledges these differences and uses them to create an atmosphere of understanding and mutual support.
The role of the leader will be less pronounced when the organizational culture is properly established. Employees will choose the behavioral patterns that are in line with the set values and standards. They will act in terms of their spiritual modes, but they will also concentrate on organizational objectives, which can be the defining factor affecting organizational behavior. It is also important to ensure that organizational culture remains strong, especially during the period of growth. Leaders will enhance their influence to implement change and ensure people’s adherence to the existing benchmarks.
In conclusion, organizational culture is one of the most important factors contributing to the functioning of any company. Employees need to have a set of well-established criteria to develop the corresponding behavioral patterns. Faith can serve as the basis for people who will align their moral codes with the organizational system of values. Strong transformational leaders following Christian principles can contribute to the creation of a favorable working atmosphere where employees are willing to collaborate and achieve organizational goals.
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Ghazzawi, I. A., Smith, Y., Cao, Y. (2016). Faith and job satisfaction: Is religion a missing link? Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 1-29.
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