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Rooting Out Conflict

One of the most obvious ways of preventing conflict lies in attempting to eliminate the causes of conflict in the workplace. This simple recipe is based on the assumption that if you remove the causes of conflict, then it will not occur.

Causes of conflict

But despite its apparent simplicity, eradicating the causes of conflict is in fact a more complex process. As a manager, you need to be analytical and practical in deciding which causes of conflict you can and should attempt to remove.

The three categories of causes of conflict are:

  1. causes that result in beneficial conflict,
  2. causes that you cannot control as a manager, and
  3. causes that you can control and do want to eradicate because they lead to negative conflict

The first two categories you either should not or cannot eliminate. You should not try to eliminate the causes of conflict that have a positive value. This sort of conflict, caused by high professional standards, for example, challenges complacency and slipshod working practices.

Some causes of conflict you cannot eliminate because they are outside your sphere of influence. For example, you cannot remove conflict caused by pay comparisons among workers if you do not set the company pay rates.

Eradicating negative conflict

Instead you need to concentrate on the third category: causes you control and want to eradicate. In this category, the major factor is role conflict. Role conflict occurs when duties performed by a worker clash with those of other workers.

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