The interweaving of (1) the source of work-place conflict (The Who), (2) the triggers of work-place conflict (The What), and (3) the behaviors that are displayed when work-place conflict exists (The How) makes conflict resolution in the work-place a challenging and complex exercise.


Conflict emerges from many sources in a business environment, such as the following:

  • Lateral disputes between or among the leadership or owners

  • Vertical disputes between management and staff

  • Disputes among employees

  • Conflict with customers or clients

  • Disputes with outside contractors who provide goods or services


    The circumstances that generate conflicts in a business environment are numerous. Some of these circumstances include the following:

  • Differences in approach to projects

  • Employee absenteeism and tardiness

  • Change of leadership

  • Discrimination – overt or covert

    • Who gets what assignments

    • Promotions

    • Harassment

    • Who is invited to lunch

  • Personality differences

    • Detail vs big picture

    • People vs task

  • Communication style differences

  • Poor communication

    • Lack of information

    • Misinformation

    • Differing information goes to different employees

  • Values differences stemming from –

    • Generational differences

    • Cultural considerations

  • Competition for limited resources

  • Individual vs team goals

  • Employee’s personal problems affecting work-place attitude and productivity

  • Performance reviews

  • Incompetent management

    • Bullying

    • Lack of supervision

  • External changes

    • Overall economy

    • Change of ownership or restructure

  • Differences in work ethic

  • Unhealthy competition

  • Technology changes


    Some of the behaviors that employees display when embroiled in a conflict include the following:

  • Refusing to communicate

  • Backing into a single solution mindset

  • Going over the head of the manager

  • Gossiping

  • Recruiting others into conflict – creating morale problem

  • Refusing to take responsibility for actions or results

  • Higher absenteeism

    If your business is experiencing unrest due to unresolved conflict, contact Keystone Conflict Solutions LLC at or (404) 314-7228 to learn if Mediation or Conflict Management Consulting might be beneficial in creating a smooth and efficient operation.