Study Suggests Conflict Management Leads to Greater Organizational Effectiveness

January 12, 2021by Noah Shaw0

Summary of:

Gwanyo, Y.E., Dicksonn, C.N., & Talatu, M. (2020). Conflict management as an instrument for organizational effectiveness: A conceptual perspective. International Journal of Management, Social Sciences, Peace and Conflict Studies, 3(4), 165-174.

Background & Theory:

In today’s workplace, conflict is common and can lead to positive or negative outcomes depending on how it is handled. Conflict management is one way of mitigating conflict’s destructive potential in the workplace. Past research has shown the positive effects of conflict management in the workplace, one being increased effectiveness among employees. This study focuses on the role of conflict management as an important contributor in bringing about greater organizational effectiveness.


Research was consolidated by Yusuf Emmanuel Gwanyo et al. to answer the following question:

    1. What does recent literature tell us about using conflict management as an instrument for organizational effectiveness?


Over 22 past studies and other resources were consolidated to create this literature review. The topics covered include conflict, organizational conflict, conflict management, and organizational effectiveness.


The authors suggest that while there are many different definitions and types of classifying conflict in the workplace, it is helpful for organizations to first understand that conflict is an inherent aspect of human interaction, and therefore, an inherent element of an organization. One way of classifying workplace conflict is through its functionality and dysfunctionality. Functional conflict, also known as cognitive conflict, is often manifested among employees who disagree over aspects related to the completion of a task. To some degree, functional conflict can be useful for employee motivation and creative inspiration. However, if not managed, functional conflict can become dysfunctional. Dysfunctional conflict is often seen in personal and relational disputes, where differences between employees lead to avoiding and counter-productive behaviors.

In order to optimize organizational effectiveness, the authors suggest that conflict be managed so that both leadership and employees are able to work together to accomplish organizational goals. Organizations can begin to build a cooperative culture through first making sure leadership is trained on how to effectively manage conflict. Leaders should not be taught a one-size-fits-all approach to managing workplace conflict, but rather an approach that looks at the needs of each individual in conflict and helps address those needs through company procedures. Once leadership is able to engage in effective conflict management with their employees, greater organizational effectiveness is likely to ensue.

What We Can Learn:

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

  • Effective workplace conflict management can lead to greater organizational effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to train leaders on effective conflict management techniques so that conflict does not negatively impact employees and the organization as a whole.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: Training organizational leadership on conflict management directly helps employees and the organization. Greater organizational effectiveness is one of the many benefits effective conflict management can bring to an organization.

For Everyone: Consider learning effective conflict management techniques to help assist you with workplace disputes. If your workplace could use training on this subject, consider contacting Pollack Peacebuilding Systems to help train leaders and employees on how to manage conflict and communicate more efficiently.

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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