Management Conflicts – Root Causes and Remedies

For every organization, in order to be effective and efficient for the purpose of accomplishing its objectives, the human resource in the organization should be united to achieve the common/shared objectives. Opposing Views
Management conflicts normally arise when there is a divergence of views. It is part and parcel of every work environment because where you deal or interact with people, sooner or later you will have to deal with conflicts. People come from diverse backgrounds, having different opinions so disagreement among them is quite normal.
Ineffective organizational system, lack of communication, ego, uncompromising attitudes, weak leadership, dominating nature, different perceptions and lust for power/influence are among the major causes.
Normally, when roles are not defined appropriately, then the probability of conflict is enormous. In order to minimize this problem, boundaries and roles should be defined and this needs to be communicated to the employees so that misinterpretations and insecurities can be reduced.
Management needs to be skilled and must be vigilant to identify any negative norm occurring within the organization. Open discussions can play an essential role in stabilizing disputes.
An understanding has to be developed to make sure that every single employee is contributing towards the organization’s mission and vision. Disputes and conflicts must not come in the way of attaining it. On the other hand, constructive conflicts must be encouraged as it can help to develop an understanding between people, who can learn more from each other, resulting in the resolution of problems.
Share your views on how the management can resolve such issues and how these conflicts can be rectified at all levels.


  • Very well said Salima that an understanding has to be developed to make sure that every employee is contributing towards the organization’s vision and mission, but we cant deny the fact that a weak leadership and lust for power can divert your focus towards personal interest instead of the organization you are woking in.
    A flexible, adaptive, collaborative approach to conflict is generally more effective but it can be changed to a more directive approach where necessary. Collaborating is an cooperative way of solving problems by attempting to develop a mutually win win situation.
    . In order to collaborate, both parties must identify underlying concerns and develop a solution to satisfy all of them. Collaboration is the opposite of avoidance.
    The effective management of conflict almost requires, to fill the gap of communication, talking about it, preferably with the person or persons involved. However in using this approach, one has to examine the communication process carefully; ensuring that what one is delivering is actually being received by the other person or persons through effective feedback. It should also be noted that “listening” is very important in conflict management.
    Even if one does not agree with the other person’s or persons’ opinions, one should always learn to have a listening ear and an open mind.

  • The answer is somewhat buried in your text. Leadership is the driver of all organizational success. The best human resource group in the world cannot offset the effect of poor leadership.
    I asked the question “Tell me the two or three words that describe the best leader you ever worked for” in several LI groups…senior leadership, HR and sales. The link below is a blog post with the responses from 297 people that chose to follow a leader.

  • Salima
    Your question holds a lot of the answer. As Greg says, good leaders can not be replaced. And while I support effective communication techniques (hard not to) , I think it is clarity of purpose that melds leader + communitcation to develop a culture of respect . The resultant environment yields innovation from dissent and distinguishes conflict from collaboration.

  • Salima,
    The best way to handle any problem in the workplace is to try and prevent it before it has a chance to start. Having an effective and sustainable system in place to minimize the occurrence is well worth the effort required to operate.
    Having a well defined mission is a good start. A company attitude which is administered from the top down and shared by everyone in the organization is a great place to start. If everyone in management can lead by example, an atmosphere which is conducive to the acceptance of different points of view rather than head to head conflict is much more easily achieved.
    Thorough and clearly defined work instructions, policies and procedures can help immensely in providing examples of acceptable behavior as well as removing barriers to the free exchange of ideas and tolerance for each other’s position on those matters most likely to lead to conflict. Mutual respect of each other’s views and opinions goes a long way in stemming the need for conflict.
    No matter how effective a system you have in place, inevitably, there will be times when differences in opinion will lead to outright conflict. In these instances it is imperative that this behavior not only be quickly detected, but also that it be given our immediate attention so that the indifference can be settled before it gets out of hand and causes yet greater issues.
    Everyone in the company should be a part of this part of the system. Through training and thorough interpretation of the company policies and procedures, all employees can be well equipped to step in and minimize conflict while it is still in the early stages of simple disagreement.
    Clear and objective policies which spell out how to handle conflict need not only be in place, but enforced as well. Only by strict example of our willingness to discipline those who overstep the bounds of approved behavior will we be able to lend credibility to our desire for a safe and cooperative work environment.
    There is no such thing as constructive conflict. Allowing the existence of conflict to any degree is not an acceptable option in my opinion. Conflict by its very definition goes contrary to a productive and cooperative workplace and, therefore, no form of conflict can be constructive. There can be constructive criticism, constructive discussions, even constructive debate, but there cannot be constructive conflict.

  • Salima,
    Your question is pretty much the mother of all questions. Conflicts of interest are the biggest issue within, as well as outside, any workplace. To put it clearly, the entire planet is getting screwed owing to conflicts of interest between human beings. I’ve thought a lot about this, over n over, there are only a few things that seem to help (not solve for good, help) rectify such situations:
    1. Prioritizing collective interests over individual ones. I wanna get a bigger house, that’s why i am working,and that’s why i need a raise= WRONG approach.
    The firm i work for feeds 200 families, and to maximize its profits it needs optimum effort at all levels, which, in turn will lead to more revenue, more profits, and more mula for everyone, which in turn will help me get a better lifestyle as well. That’s the better approach, as it prioritized company efficiency over personal gain.
    But to implement it, a strong sense of trust needs to be established between the firm/employee.
    2. AVOIDANCE of issues takes you to your grave. Putting your head into the sand like an ostrich, and hoping for the bad stuff to ‘go away’ leads to business closures, all the time. If internal issues are not being addressed proactively, it is a solid sign of weak leadership, n lack of interest in collective benefits over personal ones. An organization should address issues before they surface, to show everyone that they really care, and are not just ‘pretending’ to care.
    3. This ones for the top brass – Don’t be evil (this is also Google’s corporate motto). Don’t put short term gains, hefty top brass salaries and that ‘new house on the prairie’ amongst your top priorities. People will only be true to a company, if its owners are true to it, and believe in the company to be a living breathing entity, that they SERVE, just like everyone else. The ‘lord’ and his ‘loyal subjects’ mindset really doesn’t work long term.

  • Jason Sparks

    Theres 2 key answers. Leadership and Bi-Weekly (scuse me) bitch sessions. Leadership is key. YOU are the leader. Input is good BUT YOU are the leader. YOU direct where this ship goes. ALL good leaders need input and they need to take it seriously, something i dont feel that alot of managers do today. A lot of managers I have worked under have thier favorites and everone else is concrete under thier shoes.
    I have worked long term care for a number of years now and the number one thing I have found that has cuased more problems than any other and will destroy a good working ship in seconds is rumors. This person has a problem with this policy and so they carry on about it until it gets carried somewhere else and with a twist to it this time and then eventually what started out as not liking a policy is now “not liking this manager”, something that was never said. The EASIEST way to fix those are to hold weekly or bi-weekly bitch fests. Air alllllllll the dirty laundry and fix it. NOW! Put a nail in the coffin and be done with it.
    When there is discord among a company then eventually nothing will get done right because eventually people are just going to refuse to do their jobs. The strongest companies are the ones that are intermingled personally like family.

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