Research Shows Benefits of Workplace Conflict in Some Organizations | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

June 15, 2021by Noah Shaw0

Summary of:

Phulpoto, K., Hussain, N., Buriro, G. S., & Maitlo, Y. (2021). Impact of workplace conflict on job satisfaction and employee performance. International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology, 12, 609-616.

Background & Theory:

Workplace conflict is a given in every organization across all industries. This being said, it is important to understand how workplace conflict is viewed within organizations and how it impacts both job satisfaction and employee performance. This study focuses on this relationship and points to the potential benefits of workplace conflict within a Pakistani University.

Question(s):

Research was conducted by Kamran Phulpoto et al. to answer the following question:

    1. What is the relationship between workplace conflict, job satisfaction, and employee performance specifically at Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari in Karachi, Pakistan?

Methods:

This study functioned like a case study, analyzing workplace conflict within a specific Pakistani University. 109 participants from Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari in Karachi, Pakistan participated in this study. 56 participants were male (54 participants were female) and all participants had at least a Bachelor’s degree. Participants filled out a survey on a 5-point Likert scale measuring their perception of workplace conflict, job satisfaction, and employee performance.

Results:

The results of this study found a moderately positive relationship between workplace conflict and job satisfaction. The same relationship was found between workplace conflict and employee performance.

These results are not in line with many past studies that have shown a negative relationship between workplace conflict and job satisfaction. The reason this study differs lies in the reality that Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari is a public, government-owned university in Karachi, Pakistan. Many employees at this university are involved in unions and believe that conflict in the workplace helps provide basic rights and contributes to the well-being of employees. In this type of environment, workplace conflict is viewed as positively contributing to employee performance and job satisfaction.

What We Can Learn:

Looking over this research, we can take away the following key insight:

  • While past studies typically show an inverted relationship between workplace conflict and job satisfaction, this study suggests that context of what workplace conflict looks like in each organization matters. For some, workplace conflict may represent the ability to challenge organizational norms to provide employees with a better work experience.
  • This study may have had different results if the workplace conflict variable was focused specifically on relationship or interpersonal conflict, which previous studies typically show negatively impacts job satisfaction.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: As we have mentioned in previous articles, workplace conflict is multifaceted and can encompass positive and negative outcomes for employees. The job of consultants is to help guide organizations to the positive and productive outcomes of workplace conflict.

For Everyone: Although workplace conflict is typically something we like to avoid, it is important to recognize it is an inevitable part of work life. Consider learning more about how to constructively deal with workplace conflict to become more conflict competent.

Noah Shaw

Noah is the Peace Operations Coordinator at Pollack Peacebuilding Systems and holds a Master's in Dispute Resolution from the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law.

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