What is Workplace Conflict and How to Manage It

Students who are in the process of earning their master's in communications understand that conflict in one form or another is sure to arise in every situation that requires individuals to interact with one another. The challenge for individuals who have a master's in communication management is making sure that disputes or disagreements between co-workers do not escalate into something larger or have a negative effect on the way that individuals in an office complete their work. A communications degree can help individuals learn how to deal with these issues, as occasionally, if allowed to get out of hand, workplace conflict can border on harassment, discrimination or violence. All of these behaviors are prohibited in places of business by the U.S. government. As even the smallest disputes can impact employee morale and productivity, it is important that everyone interested in getting a communications degree understand what workplace conflict is, how it arises and the different ways to manage it.

Workplace conflict explained

While most individuals who are pursuing their online master's in communication degree realize that conflict is an inevitability in some situations, it is sometimes challenging to understand why people tend to disagree with each other, especially in the workplace. The resources in this section will provide information on exactly what conflict is and the different factors that cause it to arise.

Workplace conflict, bullying and counterproductive behaviors: This article from the Journal of Organizational Analysis examines conflict from both a qualitative and quantitative approach.

What is workplace conflict?: This document explains exactly what workplace conflict is and goes into detail about the different sources of disputes between individuals.

Definitions of conflict: This informative document provides several different definitions of conflict and explains various ways individuals may express their feelings, such as through disagreement. It also discusses many ways to handle conflict.

The dynamics of conflict resolution: This article gives an overview on the nature of conflict and discusses how perception, feeling and action can all play a large part in disputes.

Two types of conflict and conflict resolution: This article from the Journal of Conflict Resolution discusses competition and dissensus, two different types of conflict that can arise in the modern workplace.

How to manage conflict

Individuals who plan to begin an online master's in communication program may learn how best to manage conflict as part of their curriculum. While there are many ways to go about handling disputes in the office, there are some major skills that communication managers need to learn in order to assure that their workplace is safe, comfortable and productive in the minds of all of their workers. The resources included in this section should give individuals who are interested in pursuing a communications degree an understanding of the skills they will need to learn.

Conflict resolution skills: This document explains that conflict is an unavoidable occurrence in all workplaces. It provides information on what causes individuals to be in conflict with each other, as well as a list of necessary conflict resolution skills that communications managers need to develop.

Constructive conflict resolution: This article from the Journal of Social Issues discusses the different principles that make up the field of conflict resolution and explains current research and training methods in this discipline.

How to handle conflict in the workplace: This is a guide to handling conflict, complete with a list of behaviors that individuals should engage in when trying to mediate disputes between co-workers or employees.

Resolving workplace conflict: This document discusses several of the different sources of conflict, including poor communication and differing values. It also gives advice on how individuals can manage conflict that arises in an office setting.

Guide to problem solving: The Problem-Solving Workshop explains different exercises that individuals can practice in order to ready themselves to deal with conflict in the workplace.

Guide to managing conflict: This document explains different signs that point to workplace conflict as well as gives tips for facilitating conflict resolution.

Why conflict resolution is challenging

Despite the best efforts of communication mangers, occasionally, co-workers simply do not want to get along. The resources provided in this section should give individuals who are interested in pursuing a master's in communication management a good idea of the different factors that make conflict resolution a challenging field.

Barriers to conflict resolution: This article from the Negotiation Journal discusses factors that may prove difficult to overcome when dealing with conflict. It also explains why certain individuals may have a difficult time getting along with each other.

Gender differences in conflict resolution: This article from the journal Sex Roles discusses the different ways in which men and women go about managing conflict and touches upon the difficulties that each gender approaches when doing so.