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Reviews and Excercises

10% of conflict is due
to difference in opinion
and 90% is due to
delivery and
tone of voice.

Causes of Workplace Conflict
Many things have the potential for causing or contributing to workplace conflict. Some causes may originate within the structure or operations of the organization, while others arise from interpersonal issues. Listed below are some of the more common causes.

  • Organizational structure, policies, procedures. The organization may foster conflict by how it goes about conducting its business. For example, sales people may be pressured to sell beyond the capacity of manufacturing to produce and deliver quality product.
  • Task interdependence. If your organizational function is downstream from another, any disruption upstream creates conflict by impeding the smooth and effective flow of your work.
  • Goals. Conflict can arise from the absence of goals, from conflicting goals, or from differing priorities even when goals are shared.
  • Personality conflicts. Sometimes our complex personalities lead to clashes or even indifference.
  • Scarce resources. Resources may be dollars, people, equipment, information, or a host of other things. When any of these are scarce or limited, conflict can arise.
  • World view. No two people are exactly alike, even identical twins. Each person sees and interacts with the world through a set of highly individualized physical and psychological lenses. People have different styles. Your thinking style or communication style might conflict with somebody else's thinking style or communication style.
  • Culture. Conflict can arise from the way people do things or see situations. This is influenced by their culture, which is based on many things including race, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, and a host of other factors.
  • Values. The deep-seated beliefs or ethical ideals of an individual (or group) often become the source of conflict because they are subjective. Individual values are influenced by such factors as genes, family, national origin, religion, education, and politics. Core values are hard to change.
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