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Organizational Change:

Generally, the causes of conflict in the workplace fall into one of these four categories:


Misunderstandings large and small happen as a result of poor communication. Unclear job roles, vague project scopes, misunderstood remarks, or differing perceptions of a request — they can all create conflict as each party works to get on the same page.

Organizational Change:

Change can be overwhelming. Employees are expected to move outside their comfort zone to keep up with changing roles, teams, resources, or workplace behaviors. The stress of adapting can lead to conflict with those driving change or, perhaps, with those who’ve adapted more or less quickly.

Clashing Priorities:

Conflict can arise when involved parties rely on different priorities to solve a problem. If one party needs to cut a budget while the other needs to grow an audience, for instance, then their approach to planning an event may differ — thus creating conflict over the best way to plan the event.

Personality Differences:

Everyone’s personality impacts their work approach. Some people are more assertive; others, quieter. Some people are analyzers; others, go-getters. While there’s a proven benefit to bringing multiple perspectives to the table, doing so can create conflict as the group decides on the best approach to a problem.

Preventing Conflict in the Workplace

Good news: Your organization and its employees holds the ability to avoid some conflict. Here are six ways to prevent conflicts from arising.

  • Create a company culture that clearly defines the behaviors, beliefs, interactions, and attitudes dictating how things get donewithin your organization.
  • Define shared values that reflect your culture, what you care about, and what you stand for. Use these values as your guiding principles in everything you do.
  • Strengthen your organizational culture qualities, or the 10 objectively good qualities to foster: Collaboration, innovation, agility, communication, support, wellness, work environment, responsibility, performance focus, and mission and value alignment.
  • Your organization’s culture is a unique reflection of your team and leadership, customer expectations and marketplace demands. Identify your strategic culture qualities, or the unique qualities that sets your organization apart.
  • Show respect, always. Feedback should never get personal. Focusing on the work at hand will prevent feelings from being hurt and employees from lashing back.
  • Encourage curiosity. Employees should feel they can (respectfully) question approaches to solving a problem. Doing so keeps them engaged and fosters a healthy dialogue.

We’ve also documented 60+ culture tips in this free eGuide. Use them to strengthen your culture and reduce unnecessary conflict.