Factors Affecting Conflict in the Workplace | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

April 9, 2021by Vanessa Rose0

Many things can cause conflict. Stressful situations can spark a dispute and escalate into a situation that impacts everyone. Preventing conflict altogether can be helpful, but in order to know how to go about that, it’s important to consider the various factors affecting conflict in the workplace.

Factors Affecting Conflict in the Workplace

Being proactive about conflict can save your company time, money, and potential legal problems. It can also help cultivate a culture that attracts highly talented individuals, reduces turnover, and inspires new ideas. Here are some common and important factors affecting conflict in the workplace that you can stay ahead of.

Skills & Experiences

Everyone brings something different to the table. This is typically a positive thing as it creates diversity of ideas and experiences that can contribute to innovation and growth. But sometimes this can be a source of conflict if two employees are tasked to work together with mismatching skills. One way to mitigate this from becoming an issue is to make sure employees are offered equal opportunity to learn skills that apply to the job and focus on their professional development. More than making these trainings and resources available, encouraging engagement and removing barriers to it can also support this effort and benefit conflict resolution among employees. In addition to skills related to the job, offering conflict resolution training related to communication skills, diversity and inclusion, or de-escalation training can help your team better understand conflict in the workplace and therefore engage effectively in resolution.

Personal Challenges

This is one of the more common factors affecting conflict in the workplace. When people are going through a hard time in their personal life, it’s common to expect them to “keep that at home” rather than bring their stress to work. Unfortunately, humans don’t quite work that way. While compartmentalizing can be accessible and effective at times, sometimes people can’t separate emotions from obligations. With this in mind, cultivating a company culture that supports and encourages wellness can interrupt possible conflict kindling. By making resources available for struggling employees that may include time off, counseling resources, and assistance with child care or bereavement support, you can contribute to preventing or effectively resolving coworker conflict that can arise in the stresses of life.


Experiencing discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, religion, political beliefs, abilities, age, and other protective classes is a clear-cut road to conflict, either with management or among employees. Diversity and inclusion issues can also lead to legal issues so it’s best to get ahead of this. Create an inclusive company culture with clear policies against discrimination and a retaliation-free protocol for reporting problems.

There are many factors affecting conflict in the workplace so it can feel overwhelming trying to identify them all. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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