The Causes of Conflict

One of the most valuable tools in resolving conflict is a strong understanding of what actually causes conflict to begin with. There are three main categories of conflict you need to keep in mind.

When two or more individuals are involved it is known as an interpersonal conflict. Individuals may have distinct personalities, attitudes, and goals that just don’t blend together well. Everyone forms individual perceptions about their values and workplace goals, and it is not uncommon for these differing ideas to cause tension.

On the other hand, you may find that the conflict within your organisation is between two distinct groups, causing an intergroup conflict. For example, in an automobile dealership there may be tension between the finance department and the sales department. The sales department may feel as though the finance team isn’t working hard enough to approve loans so that they can make sales. The finance team will, in turn, feel as though the sales department doesn’t understand how difficult financing is in today’s economy.

The last type of conflict we’ll discuss today occurs when your organisation as a whole disagrees with the environment (aka, another organisation or entity). This can occur when one business feels as though the other stole a valued trademark or idea. On the other hand, the public may boycott an organisation or product due to what they feel were bad business decisions.

Understanding how conflict is caused will enable you to quickly identify what steps need to be taken when you are forming a plan for conflict resolution. Conflicts need to be resolved as soon as possible in order to keep your workplace running smoothly and efficiently.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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