Guide

Managing conflict

Conflict between groups and individuals in the workplace

Conflicts in the workplace could occur between individuals or groups.

Workplace conflict between individuals

Conflicts in the workplace 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

Managing conflict between individuals.

Workplace conflict between groups

Conflict in the workplace 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

Groups: 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

Managing conflict between groups.