What Are the Causes of Conflict in Organizations?

by Althea Thompson; Updated September 26, 2017
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Every conflict presents an opportunity for developing innovative procedures, according to author Lawrence Khan in his article, “Fundamentals of Conflict for Business Organizations.” Workplace conflicts are inevitable. People with different personalities and different work methods often disagree. This leads to loss of productivity, distraction and uncomfortable feelings in the workplace. However, organization leaders can resolve conflicts by listening to employees and learning from the experience.

Lack of Information

A cause for conflict in organizations is lack of information. Conflict911.com states that even with company email, newsletters and reports still do not always reach their destination. This lack of information comes from a variety of culprits, such as not knowing how to use email properly or not knowing how to read a report correctly. Employees should be knowledgeable about how to understand and utilize the information they receive. Staff and company meetings are an ideal way to educate a group of employees at one time. Teach methods for organizing emails, reading company reports and checking personal mailboxes frequently. Learning these skills will help avoid conflict from lack of information in the organization.

Ineffective Organization

Tammy Lenski, Ed.D describes conflict caused by ineffective organization systems in her article titled, “Conflict at Work: The Root Causes of Workplace Conflict Are Often Systemic.” Dr. Lenski does not place the blame on individuals, but on the organizational system. She states that these organizational problems may be invisible, until the conflict arises. Organizational culture describes the way employees and leaders communicate. Dr. Lenski states that intervention systems between employees and leaders can help conflicts unfold in a healthy way. If employees and leaders are not communicating effectively, conflict will arise and have a ripple effect throughout the system.

Limited Resources

Mediate.com features an article by Lawrence Kahn called, “Fundamentals of Conflict for Business Organizations.” In this article, Khan states that a major basis for conflict in organizations is limited resources. Competition in the organization arises over people’s fight for resources, such as land and money. Intangible assets such as power, appreciation and stature may also cause conflict. Because many marketplaces deal with scarce funds, different departments within the same organization find themselves competing for the same money. Khan states that conflicts of this type can be resolved if management understands that the problem lies in the structure of the company, and not in the personalities of employees.

About the Author

Althea Thompson began writing professionally in 2002, and her work has appeared on CBN News and in the award-winning "Focus Magazine." She holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Regent University and a Bachelor of Arts in communication and writing from Houghton College.

Photo Credits

  • business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com