Study Suggests Conflict Resolution Training is Key to Promoting Employee Productivity | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

February 15, 2021by Noah Shaw0
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Summary of:

Parashar, B., and Sharma, R. (2020). Impact of conflicts on productivity at workplace. KNOWLEDGE Proceedings of the International Conference on Research in Management & Technovation, 24, 143-146. http://dx.doi.org/10.15439/2020KM11

Background & Theory:

Promoting employee productivity is critical for their individual growth and for overall organizational growth. Therefore, maximizing productivity is often a major focus of companies seeking greater growth. However, an often-underestimated element that can greatly affect productivity is workplace conflict. This recent review of literature looks at how workplace conflict can affect productivity.

Question(s):

Research was consolidated by Dr. Bhakti Parashar and Ravindra Sharma to answer the following questions:

    1. What is the effect of workplace conflict on productivity?
    2. What are potential solutions for retaining employees and productivity in the course of workplace conflict?

Methods:

The authors examined a total of 15 past studies and other resources on the relationship between workplace conflict and productivity. Based on the data found, they gave suggestions for dealing with workplace conflict in ways that would not negatively affect productivity.

Results:

Data from the literature review showed that unmanaged conflict can impact the workplace in various ways, including decreased productivity. More specifically, the authors suggested that biased (non-neutral) resolution of workplace conflict often leads to employee dissatisfaction, which then leads to negative outcomes like productivity loss, greater absenteeism, and even loss of overall company profit.

Workplace conflict additionally creates stress and tension among employees which affects their ability to be productive and efficient. Prolonged stress and tension can be normalized to create a culture of negativity in the workplace, which further affects employee productivity. The authors noted a couple of other negative consequences of unmanaged or poorly managed conflict, including harm to the company’s reputation and greater employee turnover due to poor communication standards.

Considering these findings, the authors presented suggestions for dealing with workplace conflict. First, they suggested that setting HR policies that help prevent and productively manage workplace conflict can help minimize its potentially negative effects. Additionally, when conflict does occur, it’s important to resolve it quickly and without biased outcomes. A neutral or omni-partial party may best contribute to non-biased outcomes. Finally, it was recommended that employees are given conflict management and conflict resolution training in order to show employees how to effectively deal with workplace conflict.

What We Can Learn:

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

  • Conflict is an inherent element of any organization and can negatively impact productivity if not handled well. Therefore, it’s important management and employees are trained on how to effectively handle conflict.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: Studies like this show the need for impartial third parties to help resolve conflict. Conflict resolution consultants are often impartial third parties that can help people manage or resolve conflicts in ways that satisfy most, if not everyone involved in a conflict.

For Everyone: If unmanaged conflict is negatively impacting your workplace, consider hiring a conflict resolution consulting company that can train and coach employees on how to manage their conflicts productively.

Noah Shaw

Noah is the Peace Operations Coordinator at Pollack Peacebuilding Systems. His writing on the latest workplace conflict resolution research has been featured on Mediate.com.

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