Conflict Causing Factors – An Info Graphic

Protecting the Employment Relationship: Conflict Causing Factors- An Info Graphic

In a recent article we introduced high level concepts that managers should know regarding organizational conflict. What are the common causes of conflict you ask? In this info graphic, we outline some important themes and concepts related to organizational conflict that impact your employee experience. This lists refers to general themes under which many conflicting conditions arise.

1. Goals and Means Perceptions. Companies usually tend to be differentiated by groups or departments which leads to different perceptions of goals, as well as the means for achieving these goals. These differences exacerbate employee-management conflict.

2. Ineffective Communication. How information is perceived and/or interpreted is a significant mechanism often prone to abuse. By controlling the flow of information through the design and structure of MIS, managers can control how various conflicts/problems within the organization are perceived and interpreted. This enables the meaning gleaned from this information to be interpreted in ways that favor the interest of those who control it.

3. Functional Orientation Differences. Conflict from differences in values and operating procedures is inevitable as a result of differentiation because prevailing organizational priorities (e.g., sales, marketing, or engineering, etc.,) tend to drive hiring for people with an orientation in that subculture. These disparate orientations shift the prevailing norms and values and may even introduce serious conflict between staff of different groups.

4. Diverse and multi-generational workforce. The differences in values inherent in such a complex environment also creates more frequent misunderstandings and conflict as people engage with diverse ideas, ways of working, etc.

5. Authoritarian management cultures. The prevailing management styles and associated cultures rely on arbitrary use of hierarchical power for decision-making and securing compliance with those decisions. This style is incompatible with modern democratic values and ways of working.While many leaders publicly talk of shared decision-making, openness, trust, and employee involvement, the reality is, in private, authoritarian decision-making remains. Particularly regarding how fairly the organization deals with operations-related issues and contentious personnel issues like performance evaluations, dismissal, transfers, and conflicts.

6. Suppression of voice. The result is corporate cultures where employees live in constant fear of being fired, punished, or severely disciplined for airing concerns and complaints, or deviating from uncomfortable directions of supervisors and managers. In these conditions, employees tend not to speak-up due to fear of reprisal despite so called ‘open-door policies’ or ‘speak-up’ mechanisms. This is because authoritarian cultures tend to lack proper checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power.

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