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Causes of Conflict

Conflicts arise due to the following reasons:

1.    Differences in perception:

Differences in perception, values and attitudes of individuals or groups over the same problem lead to inter-personal or inter-group conflicts. For example, one group of individuals may want that all employees use HP computers to maintain standardization while another group may promote different brands of computers to maintain individuality.  Differences in views lead to conflicts.

2.    Excessive competition:

Organizational resources (men, material, money, space etc.) are scarce and each unit wants maximum share of it. Competition amongst units for maximum share leads to conflict.

3.    Differences in goals:

Different goals of different individuals or groups leads to conflicts amongst them. In order to maximize profits, production department may want to produce limited varieties in large volume so that costs are minimized. Sales department, on the other hand, may feel that selling products of different sizes, colors and models can increase sales and, thus, minimize costs. Differences in group goals lead to conflict between the two. It may even affect the quality of products.

4.    Interdependence:

When work is passed from one unit to the other, interdependence amongst units can lead to conflict. Output of first unit becomes the input of the second unit. If the first unit fails to process its work on time, the second unit will have to wait and stay idle till it receives the process. This can cause inter-group conflict.

5.    Habit patterns:

Some people like to argue and debate. They enjoy conflict as a matter of habit. It acts as a motivator for them to improve their performance.

6.    Personal characteristics:

When group members differ in work attitudes, age, education, temperament and status levels, the potential for inter-group conflict rises high.

7.    Ill defined authority-responsibility relationships:

When author and responsibility of individuals and groups is not properly defined, people do not understand each other’s role. There is lack of consistency in work activities and communication distortions take place. This becomes a source for inter-group conflict.

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