If you have a job that requires you to work with people, then you probably will experience conflict from time to time.
An international study conducted by CPP Global in 2008 surveyed 5,000 employees and found that although 85% of employees experience conflict at work to some degree, very few had received training in how to manage workplace conflict.
Of those few who did receive formal training in managing workplace conflict 95% of people said the training helped them in a practical way to better manage conflict at work.
It is difficult to quantify the costs of poorly managed conflict at work.
What is the cost of workplace conflict?
Much of the cost is hidden among absenteeism, turnover and time spent involved in conflict that could otherwise be spent productively. On average, across nations, employees spend 2.1 hours a week involved in conflict.
As many as 25% of employees involved in conflict have taken time off work as a result of the conflict or sickness resulting from the conflict. Eighteen percent of people have left the organisation due to conflict and 9% reported their projects failed as a result of conflict
All this makes it sound as though conflict is inherently bad and to be avoided if possible.
However, many studies show that conflict which is managed effectively can enhance the productivity and profitability of any organisation.
Diversity of views, backgrounds and goals certainly engenders disagreement, but if that disagreement is managed respectfully and proactively the diverse team will outperform a homogenous team that doesn’t have any conflict.
If your role at work requires you to manage conflict, getting some training is likely to be helpful.
Conflict researcher, McCarthy suggests the following perspective which is helpful to anyone involved in conflict at work: