Question

In: Operations Management

What role does communication play in workplace conflict and what are some strategies for reducing conflict?


Conflict between employees or between employee and supervisor exists in many organizations.  What role does communication play in workplace conflict and what are some strategies for reducing conflict?  

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Expert Solution

Role of Communicastion In Workplace Conflict:


Conflict arises due to the mismatch of opinions of inidividuals in a workplace. It can cause fight, stress and anxiety which leads to a prevalence of hostile atmosphere in the workplace. Conflicts can be prevented to some extent by a small adjustment with each other. Communication plays a key role in workplace conflict, good communication always results in good understanding among employees. So communication should be very clear and straightforward. Your thoughts and intention should be expressed in sensible words so that it will not hurt anybody. Let's discuss the role of conflict one by one:


1) While communicating with others, you should be very clear about the understanding of the person in front of you. How the person is perceiving your words, that is most important to understand. If a person is confused then clarify him in order to avoid any type of disturbances.


2) Communication should be both verbal and written where necessary. In order to avoid a chaotic situation, a manager should convey important messages both by verbal and email communication. Communication should be transparent at all points to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.


3) Communication should be done on a common platform so that everyone will have a common understanding. At workplace the higher authority should email important things so that every employee can have a clear idea, they can act accordingly without any doubt. Employees should have a clear picture about the ideas of their superior and should not interfere in each other's work, so that a smooth atmosphere will prevail at workplace.


4) Nobody should assume things on their own which is the main cause of conflict in many situations. Everybody should clarify things if there is any doubt.


5) Don't raise your voice while communicating with others. Always be polite, soft-spoken and make your point very clear so that others will take it in a positive way. It will also convince and motivate others to work. Always be presentable and confident enough so that it will inspire your superior and work fellows.


Strategies for reducing Conflicts:


1. Prepare a workplace-conflict guidelines : When large number of people are working together, obviously there is a place for conflict. A little misunderstanding can cause a big conflict among employees. So how to resolve it? It can be resolved both at the employee and employer level. It is seen that in many cases employees don't take steps to resolve a conflict on their own , in that case the employer should intervene. There should be some guidelines for the employees to follow so that there will be less misunderstanding among employees. Mention the steps to follow while there is a conflict, take the actions to prevent a conflict.


2. Managers should be trained to solve a conflict : In most cases, it is seen that managers are not good at solving conflicts. They just make their way clear by saying employees to solve it on their own. Train managers to deal with critical issues, they should be trained how to resolve a conflict with negotiation skill. Without ignoring a small issue, it should be sorted out at the initial level.


3. Clarification : The most important point to resolve a conflict is clarification of priorities. Priorities in workplace is the most essential point to avoid a state of confusion and misunderstanding. What is your job priority ? Employees should be very clear about this point. Employers should also give a clear picture of the roles and responsibilities of the employees and managers.


4. Address issues Immediately : It may be a small or big issue, should be addressed quickly and openly so that others will be aware of it. It is the main responsibility of the manager to maintain a good atmosphere at workplace, if there is any confusion then he should clarify the situation first. Otherwise it will lead to a cold war among employees and manager's reputation will be affected.


5. Effective Communication Skills: One of the key strategies to handle workplace conflict is effective communication skills. Your communication should be transparent and convincing so that others will understand you very clearly. As a manager, you should listen others point patiently then take steps to resolve the issue. You should be very careful handling employees' emotions. Both verbal and nonverbal communications should be strong enough to deal with this type of critical situations.

In a group, there will be persistence of minor conflicts but it should be resolved at the root level so that it will help in regaining the confidence level of the employees and make them focus-oriented.  


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