What Is Interorganizational Conflict?

by Richard Morgan; Updated September 26, 2017

With organizations expanding their boundaries into wider areas, encountering interorganizational conflict is a possibility. Whereas intraorganizational conflict deals with friction within an organization, interorganizational conflict occurs when two or more organizations create friction.

Types

The three types of interorganizational conflict are substantive conflict, emotional conflict and cultural conflict. Each is dealt with differently.

Substantive

Substantive conflict occurs when a basic disagreement arises between the two organizations at a fundamental level. For example, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have substantive conflict with an organization that experiments on laboratory animals.

Emotional

Emotional conflicts takes place when individuals between the organizations find themselves reacting on an emotional level–out of fear, jealousy, envy or stubbornness.

Cultural

Interorganizational conflict also can occur based on cultural needs and desires. These conflicts are often the result of basic misinterpretation.

Resolution

Interorganizational conflict sometimes can be resolved through mediation, open dialogue or cultural understanding. In some cases, however, due to the very nature of the various organizations, there can never be a resolution to the interorganizational conflict.