What sparks workplace conflict? It often boils down to competing personal agendas or values. “One employee may look upon work as a way of life,” says Matt Kramer, a professional mediator based in Orlando, Florida (mattkramer.com). “That person might be working with another employee who does not perform as well and looks upon work as just a job.”
These differences in perspectives can cause the people involved to start acting angrily toward each other, and start blaming each other for poor results. The result is workplace dysfunction.
“Conflict can also arise as a result of change,” says Kramer. “For example, a business might have just installed new software. People find the modified system confusing at the same time their supervisors are demanding results. The resulting pressure causes stress.”
Other factors can come into play, says Kramer. “Perhaps a delivery system breaks down, with the result that the usual business resources are not available to serve customers. Or perhaps the business has to let some people go to right size the work force. That can cause fear which creates stress which leads to workplace conflict.”