Unfortunately conflict within the workplace is inevitable. With an increase in diversity within workplaces in terms of  personalities, needs and expectations, there becomes an increase in potential workplace conflict. Consequently, it is important to have a ground understanding of the potential issues that can arise within conflict in the workplace and more importantly the cost this can have on businesses and employees.

Before going into the consequences of conflict, it must be said that a little bit of conflict, as long as it’s not disrupting workplace satisfaction and decreasing productivity, can be a good thing. It can foster healthy workplace attitudes and provide opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and improvement. However, let it be known that this conflict needs to be restricted to a minimum, in order to avoid  potential organisational and interpersonal costs, which are discussed in detail below.

The most obvious consequence of conflict in the workplace is the cost of productivity and morale of employees. When conflict arises at work, the amount of time spent on resolving the issue takes time away from employees designated tasks and thus signifies wasted work opportunities and decreased  productivity. In addition, the morale of employees and surrounding bystanders are also affected negatively by conflict and thus workplace satisfaction is reduced. This can also lead to increased turnover of staff in extreme cases. In a study run by CPP Inc. commissioned on workplace commitment, U.S. employees were found to spend on average 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict in 2008. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours, or the equivalent of 385 million working days. Meanwhile surveys by The Centre for Creative Leadership and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida, indicate that managers spend between 20-40% […]