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Types of organizational conflicts and how to resolve them

Organizations are made up of people, and these people in turn come from different environments and, consequently, their way of acting and thinking is not always the same. . It is a challenge for organizations to be able to bring together different people in the same environment and make them work towards a single objective without clashes and conflicts arising along the way.

Imagine a work team in a company where two members, John and Mary, have different approaches to carrying out an important project. John believes that approach A is the most effective, while Mary is convinced that approach B is the best. They cannot agree on which path to take and begin to express their opinions more assertively in meetings and emails, sometimes leading to heated and impertinent debates.

As can be seen from this example, the probability of labor conflicts arising between employees is quite high and these organizational conflicts are often the result of poor leadership, as well as a toxic work environment environment in which inequality is manifested. and the sense of common purpose does not prevail . Organizational conflicts undermine the good functioning of the company and greatly harm the relationship between employees.

In the scenario presented above, organizational conflict occurs due to the difference in perspectives and approaches to executing a project. If not managed well, this type of conflict can affect the team’s productivity, create a tense work environment and harm the progress of the project itself.

If so, what are the other types of conflict that occur in organizations?

Organizational conflicts can manifest themselves in different ways, in the list below we highlight the most frequent conflicts in organizations:

personality conflicts

This type of conflict arises from differences in personality, communication style and interpersonal clashes between team members.

Conflicts of interest

They happen when the objectives, goals or interests of individuals or groups are at odds, such as competition for limited resources.

Conflicts of power and authority

They involve disputes over who has authority or influence over decisions and actions, often between managers and subordinates or even between members of management.

Communication conflicts

They result from poor communication, inadequate or misinterpreted information or misunderstandings between the parties involved.

Role conflicts

When expectations about what team members are expected to do are unclear, conflicts over responsibilities and tasks can arise.

Organizational culture conflicts

These are caused by cultural differences, values and norms within the organization, especially in multinational or more globalized organizations.

Change conflicts

Normally, the introduction of organizational changes, such as restructuring or the implementation of new policies, can often generate this type of conflict.


The simplest way to resolve a conflict is simply to avoid it and not allow any disagreements to become larger or more serious conflicts, which are often impossible to ignore or get around. In this scenario, those responsible for organizations must assess their work environment and relationships between employees, in order to be able to detect any type of conflict early and take action before it develops.

In the conflict scenario presented at the beginning of this text, the resolution would involve the mediation of a leader or manager, seeking a compromise between the parties involved and objectively analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of each of the approaches presented to find a solution that benefits the organization as one all. Therefore, it is necessary for for organizations to create a healthy and welcoming environment for all their employees, so as to avoid the outbreak of labor conflicts and it is also essential to try to assess the causes of divergences, if they occur, and, therefore, Therefore, seek to outline possible solutions to prevent these from affecting the proper functioning of activities.

If a conflict is detected, whatever type it may be, it is necessary to bring together the parties involved in the conflict, try to understand the reason why the conflict arose, listen openly to both parties and, depending on what is said, propose a solution. And it is important to highlight that one cannot in any way defend one and condemn the other. Instead of dividing the parties, it is necessary to seek to highlight their common points and thus create a climate of harmony, coordination and cooperation.

A good organizational environment can play a key role in resolving conflicts effectively. Here are tools used by companies to develop a healthy environment:

Open Communication: A culture that promotes open and honest communication facilitates the early identification of conflicts, allowing them to be addressed before they become bigger problems.

Mutual Respect: An environment where employees respect and value differences in opinion and perspectives makes it more likely that people will be willing to listen and consider different points of view.

Effective Leadership: Leaders who are good listeners, skilled mediators, and who demonstrate empathy can play an important role in resolving conflict constructively.
Clear policies and procedures: Having clear organizational policies for dealing with conflict, including a conflict resolution process, provides clear guidelines for the parties involved.

Conflict resolution training: Providing necessary information or training on conflict resolution skills to employees and leaders can empower people to better handle disputes effectively. This ability is an increasingly valued softskill.

Feedback culture: A culture that encourages regular, constructive feedback can allow concerns to be addressed before they become serious conflicts.

In summary, a positive organizational environment creates the ideal conditions for conflicts to be resolved in a more effective and constructive way, benefiting both individuals and the organization, and the use of strategies and tools that help to achieve this objective becomes essential for the success of a company in this matter.

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