Role of Workplace Conflict in Business

Conflict is an inescapable part of human interaction, in particular, in the place of work. It can help strengthen relationships within the workplace and help employees better understand each other by identifying existing problems. Nevertheless, if unresolved, conflict can be of substantial detriment to the involved individuals and the workplace as a whole. Therefore, it is vital to understand the causes of conflict in the workplace as well as the point at which it can become destructive.

Conflict can arise from a variety of causes and unfold quickly if not addressed. According to Townsley (2022), differences exhibited by individuals in a group inevitably lead to conflict. Conflict in the workplace can be caused by communication, structural, and personal factors. For example, communication factors contributing to conflict can include individual lack of information and differences in perception and interpretation of the received data (Townsley, 2022). Whereas structural and personal factors of conflict extend to different participation levels among employees and the differences in values, needs, and personal goals (Townsley, 2022). Therefore, when addressing a conflict in the workplace, it is crucial to understand what factors contributed to its development for it to be effectively resolved.

Conflict can have a substantial adverse effect on the work of teams in the workplace if it escalates. Townsley (2022) notes that conflict becomes destructive if an environment of distrust and suspicion develops and individuals begin to experience a feeling of defeat. Such an atmosphere forces team members to become combative and refuse to accept the perspectives put forward by their colleagues. Such factors as poor scheduling and lack of resources can lead to workplace conflicts escalating to a point at which resolution is unlikely. In summary, in order to promote a collaborative environment in the workplace, factors contributing to the development of workplace conflicts and inhibiting their de-escalation should be considered.


Townsley, C. A. (2022). Resolving conflict in work teams. The Team Building Directory.

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