Dysfunctional Conflict – How to resolve? Explained! with Example

We human beings have so many positive and negative qualities. Whatever our case is, we keep bringing our negative aspects into the office without thinking about its harmful effects on the overall business. Egos, negative thinking, greed, high expectation, tendency to fight, procrastination, absenteeism, unprofessional working, lousy communication skills, and no inclination towards learning are negative aspects that become detrimental to organizational growth.

When these negative qualities come to the fore, it leads to conflict in the organization, called dysfunctional conflict. Do you want to know more about that? Keep reading down.

What is Dysfunctional conflict?

It is a type of conflict that leads to the breakdown of communication between the individuals and groups that further deteriorate the business performance. It works as an obstruction in achieving the business/ sales objectives, and that is why it is also called a destructive conflict.

Dysfunctional Conflict – Example

  1. Let’s assume; multiple departments are interdependent to submit daily, weekly, or monthly reports to the higher management. If the first department will delay, the whole process gets delayed. So if the delay is happing due to a management issue, it is tolerable. But when it happens due to a fight between teams or individuals, that is detrimental and can be called dysfunctional conflict.
  2. Employees fighting with each other on trivial issues based on their assumptions, egos, negative notions, and others.

Consequences of dysfunctional conflict

High Attrition Rate

It is pretty normal to imagine the thinking process of an employee having conflict with his/her teammates. Employees start leaving the organizations as they have to cope with so much stress and anxiety that comes with dysfunctional conflict. Employees feel uncomfortable, fearful, and always in the mood to skip the office rather than enjoy it—absenteeism and attrition rate increases in dysfunctional conflict.

An environment filled with tension/stress/anxiety

Group members feel stress in dealing with the company’s day-to-day functioning. Furthermore, there becomes an environment of fear, uncertainty, hostility, frustration, and anxiety among the group members.

Increased dissatisfaction and trust –

Earning money could not be the ultimate goal of any employee working in any company except some of them. Work brings meaning to life and gives the option to enjoy life to the fullest. An employee cannot come happily to the office just because he/she has to receive salaries at the end of the month.

At workplaces, people come for friendship, learning, enjoyment, meeting various people, and many more other purposes. But when it is a dysfunctional conflict in the office, employees’ concentration decreases, which further hampers productivity and leads to dissatisfaction and distrust.

Organizational goals take a back seat

Inconflicts, individual interest becomes paramount, whereas employees forget to keep the corporate objectives in mind. Members waste their time and energy in winning the conflict, and the organizational goal takes a back seat.

Whoever wins the conflict, ultimately, the organization has to lose on many fronts. Personal victory becomes so essential that many members even start taking harsh steps that further dampen the company’s brand image. A distraught employee, always at loggerheads with the manager, leaves the company and begins uttering bad words in public.

Costly for the employee as well as the organization –

When an employee focuses on achieving personal ambition, then only it takes to the betterment in the direction of organizational goal. Individuals shift focus towards conflict and ignore the ways to earn and learn more in the organization.

The spare time should be utilized in honing new skills that go into winning the conflict. When management fails to handle disputes promptly and efficiently, it may damage the organization’s business prospects, brand images, and customer base.

Ways to resolve Dysfunctional Conflicts

An unnecessary delay in solving the dysfunctional conflict becomes a ticking bomb for the organization. It is vital to get away with that conflict promptly and efficiently.

1) Mediation –

There is no other way than this one when it comes to the solution of the conflict. Here, the management brings together all the parties and listens to their grievances for further de-escalating the issue. Both the parties share their viewpoints, and ultimately they reach some amicable solution. In this way, the dispute between two employees fighting with each other due to any personal or professional reason can be resolved.

2) Arbitration –

Here, management listens to both the parties and imposes solutions for early resolution of the dysfunctional conflict. It does not matter who gets what in the conflict; the organizational goals matter the most. So management even takes harsh steps for conflict resolution.

3) Controlling

Management tries to reduce the conflict intensity by injecting humor, warning, shaming, and other ways. The manager tells both the fighting parties to cool down their heads for the betterment of themselves and the company. Compelling the employees for resignation who does not want to listen to the management is another way to control the conflict. Organizations cannot keep the dispute going despite knowing that it is very costly for the company.

4) Acceptance –

Sometimes, it is always a brilliant idea to accept some level of dysfunctional conflict in the company. There will always be some sort of conflict between support departments and operations departments. The operation department will keep blaming the support team, like administrations, for not providing sufficient manpower in-process and like that.

5) Elimination –

No one can tolerate the water when it starts flowing over the head. Sometimes, management has to take harsh steps for the betterment of the organization. Mangers escalate the issue to the human resource department for taking drastic action like expelling the employees from the job. These strict steps give clear signals to others for abiding by the rules and regulations of the company.

Bottom Line –

There are many stages of the dysfunctional conflict, such as entry-level, mid-level, senior-level, and executive-level. Whatever the steps are, they cannot be suitable for individuals, departments, and organizations. Firstly every employee should understand that they have a common identity that is the name of their employers. Any action and reaction that is harmful to employees and organizations should not be taken at any cost.

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