Essays on Workplace Conflict Case Study

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The paper 'Workplace Conflict' is a perfect example of a human resources case study. In most cases, workplace resembles family; a place which requires people to with each other and coexists peacefully even though they have different religious believes, background, are from different race or ethnicity. It is usually expected that workmates will find it easy and straightforward and will be able to accommodate each other’ s behavior and embrace challenges. However, many workplaces in reality are often fraught with various conflicts (Devine, 2008). This is the case with the National University where John and Tania who works in the finance division are entangled in a conflict following Tania’ s promotion which John disputes.

It should be noted that effective working relationship is not a happy coincidence but it usually depends on concerted efforts from those involved (Abiodan & Remi, 2011). John and Tania had failed to settle their differences for five years and the management needs to take a coercive action to end the row. Workplace conflict can be generally defined as the actual or perceived clash of expectations or interests between groups or individuals.

These may include interest or expectations about how people should work, gender equity, how they should behave, how much they should be paid, for what they should be paid, the chain of command to be observed, and sometimes job promotion (Axelrod & Johnson, 2005). These expectations usually interplay and the extent with which there is a clash in any of them determines the nature of the workplace conflict. Regardless of where the power lies, the people in charge of an organization should always ensure that these expectations are factored out during strategy design in order to minimize risks associated with workplace conflicts and maximize opportunities. Workplace conflicts can be broadly categorized into two: either individual conflict, which is also referred to as interpersonally conflict or collective conflict which is usually based on rights (Salami, 2010).

On a point of argument, these distinctions are basically artificial particularly in the light of the steady movement from a collective approach in workplace relations to an individual approach. The case presented the conflict between John and Tania who works at the National University Finance department is a typical example of the interpersonal conflict.

However, in this case, the gender issue is also portrayed. John has confronted Tania on several occasions and involved in an exchange of bitter words. This can be treated as bullying which has implications on both the individual and the department in general since it affects the way work is done (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011). Other categories of workplace conflicts include alleged breach of expected conduct which may or may not be protected by company policies or law, gender-based conflicts, alleged breach of human rights that are protected by law such as freedom from sex, race, age, disability, preference, marital status and sexual discrimination and lastly, alleged breach of other rights that are protected by law including terms and conditions of employment, awards, workplace agreements, equal opportunity, and legislation. Common examples of conflicts that are most prevalent in workplaces include conflict over conduct that does not amount to bullying, all forms of discrimination including age and gender-based, conflict over performance, workplace bullying, conflict due to actual or perceived unfair treatment, breach of terms and/or conditions of employment, the conflict caused by management or communication style; conflict emanating from differing perception on how work is done, organized, distributed and the nature of workplace environment; and finally conflict originating from how promotion and organization change is carried out or managed (Masters & Albright, 2002).


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Axelrod, L., & Johnson, R. (2005). Turning Conflict Into Profit: A Roadmap For Resolving Personal And Organizational Disputes. NJ: University of Alberta.

Cloke, K., & Goldsmith, J. (2011). Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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Masters, M. F., & Albright, R. R. (2002). The Complete Guide to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

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Salami, S. (2010). Conflict Resolution Strategies and Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Moderating Role of Trait Emotional Intelligence. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal , 38 (1), 53-59.

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