Webster's dictionary defines conflict as "a sharp disagreement or opposition of interests or ideas". Anytime people work together, conflict is a part of doing business. Conflict is a normal and natural part of any workplace. When it occurs, there is a tendency for morale to be lowered, an increase in absenteeism and decreased productivity. It has been estimated that supervisors spend at least 25 percent of their time resolving workplace conflicts causing lowered office performance.
Handling and resolving conflicts that arise in the workplace is one of the biggest challenges supervisors and staff members face. Typically there are two responses to conflict: run away (avoidance) or battle it out. In either case, we often feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the results because no resolution has been achieved. By learning to constructively resolve conflict, we can turn a potentially destructive situation into an opportunity for creativity and enhanced performance.
There are many causes or reasons for conflict in any work setting. Some of the primary causes are: