What is Organizational Conflict?

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  • Written By: Jenelle Sprague
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2020
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Organizational conflict can simply be defined as problems or misunderstandings that arise between members of a group or team. To best understand this term, one must first understand what these words mean separately. For example, an organization does not always necessarily mean a work environment; it can also mean a social group or a team of people working together toward the same goal. Conflict does not always necessarily mean an argument, it can also be a misunderstanding or a simple problem that arises during a task.

When dealing with organizational conflict, it is best for the organization to be prepared with a conflict resolution plan. This often is put into place during the formation or transformation of the organization. A conflict resolution plan can aid in resolving issues within a group by merely laying down a set of guidelines and rules for each group member to follow when he or she experiences conflict within the organization.


When confronted with organizational conflict, it is important for each party to keep an open mind, maintain a professional tone and to support any arguments with facts. People who maintain a professional attitude and an open mind when confronting an organizational conflict are able to manage that conflict more successfully. In addition, when confronted with an issue that cannot be solved by following the conflict resolution plan, it is important for those who are involved to report to a group or team member of a higher status with more power to resolve the conflict. Most large and powerful organizations employ human resource representatives specifically for the management of organizational conflict.

Although conflict within an organization can be stressful, it often is necessary for an organization to encounter conflict for it to become strong and successful. After an organization is confronted with conflict, it then must work together to form new plans to overcome that conflict in order to reach the organization's goal. When dealing with conflict in general, success should be measured in small steps and not in leaps and bounds, to ensure that the stress caused by the conflict is not overwhelming for the organization's members.


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Post 1

Organizational conflict management can be done in various ways.

In companies with human resources departments, conflict resolution is often covered in orientation, ongoing training, workshops and meetings.

Conflicts are going to arise in any group. The best way to deal with it effectively is to make sure all members of the group are armed with the best resolution techniques.

Organizations also sometimes create conflict teams to allow problems between workers or departments to work with their peers, rather than potentially intimidating members of management.

In all cases, organizations should strive to keep conflicts confidential among only the affected parties and those trusted to help. No situation is helped by members of the group choosing sides or by the spreading of rumors.

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