Handling interpersonal conflict at work is never easy, but understanding the factors behind disputes can help managers strive towards resolution.
Conflict in the workplace is one of the most stressful and difficult issues that managers have to face in their working lives. The seemingly easy way out is not to do anything and hope that the situation will resolve itself in time. Usually, however, it doesn’t and is likely to get worse if not dealt with effectively. Interpersonal conflicts between employees can be extremely tricky to deal with, particularly as they are likely to differ from situation to situation. Effective communication that gets to the heart of the matter is the way to resolve disputes and conflicts. However, in order to communicate effectively, managers need to have some understanding of the behavioural drivers that can lead to an interpersonal conflict and the reasons why conflicts can escalate out of control if not defused early enough.
Instruments of peace
Andrea Broughton has worked as a principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies since 2006. She was previously the editor of European Industrial Relations Review, published by Industrial Relations Services, London. Her research focus is industrial and employment relations. She has undertaken a range of projects on industrial relations themes for Acas, BIS and a range of international bodies such as the European Commission and Eurofound (Dublin). Her specific areas of interest include restructuring and change management, workplace-level industrial relations, social dialogue, employee wellbeing, employee involvement, information and consultation, and work-life balance issues.