Managing conflict

Conflict between groups and individuals

Conflicts in the workplace could occur between individuals or groups.

Conflicts may arise between individuals because:

  • of a clash of personalities, difference of opinion, bullying or harassment
  • of an aggressive or weak management style
  • some employees may feel others are treated more favourably

Read more on managing conflict between individuals.

Conflict may arise between groups because of:

  • team rivalry, disagreements or resentment
  • a 'them and us' mentality between large groups of employees and their managers
  • resentment of senior management, poor morale, low motivation, disagreement over pay, health and safety, redundancies and lack of proper consultation

Patterns of behaviour

Groups of people in a team tend to display a certain pattern of behaviour. Four distinct phases of a group or team's development are:

  • forming - the team is new, uncertain of how to behave and reserved
  • storming - the team argues about who should do what and how, and therefore conflict may occur
  • norming - the team agree its core tasks and responsibility is assigned
  • performing - the team operates according to agreed norms and can progress

Read more on managing conflict between groups.