What Is Dysfunctional Conflict?

by Lena Freund; Updated September 26, 2017
Dysfunctional conflict occurs when there is too much, or too little, conflict within an organization.

Dysfunctional conflict is conflict that leads to a decline in communication or the performance of a group. Dysfunctional conflict can be an overabundance of conflict or a lack of sufficient motivating conflict.

Organizational Dysfunctional Conflict

Dysfunctional conflict within an organization is motivated by egos of employees with competing ambitions. It often leads to higher stress and a likelihood that employees will burn out. Employees will also likely feel less satisfaction and less loyalty to the organization.

Stages of Dysfunctional Conflict

There are five stages of dysfunctional conflict. Incompatibility is the source of conflict: misunderstandings and lack of communication. Recognition is the process by which employees internalize the conflict that affects their behavior. Intention is the process by which employees' behavior changes due to the conflict. Perceived behavior refers to slights and reactions that play into creating conflict, while results are effects of the conflict on a group.

Resolving Dysfunctional Conflicts

A leader must resolve a conflict by recognizing ambitions and abilities of employees and attempt to motivate and stimulate employees when there is too little conflict or calm employees' tempers and bringing them to work together more effectively when there is too much conflict.

References

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Lena Freund began writing professionally in 2007, while living in Tel Aviv. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Middle Eastern studies and Hispanic studies from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University. Freund's articles about travel, languages and cultures have been published on various websites.

Photo Credits

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