Work place conflict part II

Conflict in the work place may not be a common experience in many organizations but those that do exhibit traces of this trend tend not to deliberately address it in a realistic way that can curb its existence.

Are we really aware of work place conflict like we should?

Many employees upon being offered employment do not expect conflicts of any sort while some who do, either plan to trigger it or are overwhelmed by the nature of conflict they encounter.

It could come as a surprise that some staff actually have "conflict" in their to-do list upon being employed.

Why would that be?

Who then are the perpetrators of workplace conflict?

What encourages conflicts? and ....

How do the victims react to conflicts when encountered?

Causes and perpetrators of conflict

Some employees believe in 'divide and rule' strategy especially where unity among staff appears to be a threat to their position or employment. This situation may occur where that staff is ambitious or does not feel able to break into the team mold due to some personal reasons such as low self esteem, poor people management skills or, having insufficient knowledge of the field for which they were employed when compared to other team mates.

Where a staff is related to a significant staff in the organization, it could also create a tendency for that staff to look down on other staff or gather clout that can give the impression of authority/superiority above other staff.

Nonetheless, ambition and battle for supremacy tends to stand out as one of the major causes as well.

It is easy to assume conflict can be promoted by some management staff but, it can be triggered by any junior staff who aims at taking advantage of the simplicity or weakness of an organization's management team.

How do staff react to work place conflict?

One common culture in a work environment driven by conflict is the promotion of cliques instead of team oriented work relationships.

Within such a workplace exists staff who are either strong enough to challenge this status quo, or remain indifferent if it does not affect their work or individuality while on the other hand, some staff who are greatly affected and not able to challenge the situation choose to either succumb to the demands of the 'cliques' or simply resign their appointment with the organization.

Staff who challenge the existing situation either do so by refusing to comply with laid down policies and procedures, or becoming confrontational with other colleagues through either aggressive email exchanges or unfriendly conversations that could end up being violent if not properly channeled.

Those who remain indifferent stay put for as long as they can before they seek new employments.

On the other hand, those who succumb are easily manipulated as seen as 'weak'..

In such a situation, conditions may arise where seemingly 'weak' staff members are required to please some other staff member in the 'reigning clique' in order to keep their jobs. It could be very easy to manipulate a "weak staff' as they may actually fear losing their jobs (taking into consideration some very pressing commitments that need to be met through their earnings)

Addressing the impact

Some of the impacts include high employee turnover, poor internal controls due to lack of compliance to policies and procedures and; increased sexual harassment.

It is usually at the point of addressing the impact that some organizations initiate moves to ensure best practice without taking into consideration the possible root causes!

One way that organizations address this is by drafting policies that clearly defines what these impacts are and the accompanying punitive measures.

New hires are bombarded with these policies without clear guidance on what it means to that particular organization as regards its existing culture.

Existing cultures differentiates one organization from the other. Without clear explanations, its easy to misinterpret information provided

Any organization that takes practical steps to inculcate its values in its employees as it affects daily activities and interactions with others (both staff and non staff), could stand a better chance of establishing a healthy culture/work environment suitable to eschew work place conflicts.

Having standards that are realistic and actually practiced in the work place is probably the way to go!

In conclusion, it may be safe to say work place conflicts can be eliminated or curbed before it gets out of control if;

* the root cause is known, understood and not assumed,

* staff members are well orientated and policies are realistic and practicable, and finally,

* the policies are meant for all staff to comply with and not a select few in the organization.

Watch out for more articles on work place challenges!

The writer of this article is a guest writer and the article does not necessary represent the opinion of INGOsphere9ja. The picture in the article is obtained from the internet and attached for illustrative purposes

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