Conflict within an agency or other organization can greatly hamper organizational efficiency and decrease the agency's productivity. In addition, it can make it an unpleasant place to work and can lead to higher employee turnover, which can lead to even lower efficiency. Therefore, it is within the agency's best interest to attempt to mend the relationships among its staff. This process can be done in various ways.
One way in which problems can be resolved is by creating an open forum for discussion. If problems are not brought out into the open, then they tend to fester. By creating a forum in which employees can bring management's attention to problems, without fear of reprisal, the agency takes a first step to resolving the issues that need addressing. An agency should consider a town hall forum or other public space.
When a problem has been made public, then an agency can attempt to solve the problem by mediating the conflict between the involved. In some cases, a senior member of the company may act as mediator. However, in other cases, to maintain impartiality, the company may hire an outside mediator to come in and help the warring parties solve their differences. The mediation is designed to satisfy both parties as much as possible.
In some cases, if a problem cannot be successfully mediated, then the two parties may choose to arbitrate the dispute. In this case, both parties agree to let another person hear their sides of the disagreement and abide by the decision rendered. This is less preferable to mediation in that it will more often leave one party feeling cheated. However, if a dispute can be resolved amicably, judgment must be rendered.
In some cases, conflict can be resolved by allowing two or more parties to keep their distance from each other. If two employees, or two factions of employees, cannot get along, then it may be preferable to limit their contact with each other. This can be done by moving one party to another location or changing the agency structure so the two parties don't interact.
- "The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution"; Bernard Mayer; 2000
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.