Conflict organisational reason for conflict because it deals with

Conflict is an inevitable part of life. As
long as there are people with differing opinions, morals, values, and desires,
among many other factors, there will be conflict. It exists everywhere; in
politics, with countries waging war; in families, with people not talking to
each other for decades, even; in friendship circles, where petty arguments can escalate
into a broken relationship; and last but not least, at the workplace, which is
where most people spend an average of 90,000 hours in their lifetimes (Pryce-Jones, 2011). According to the University of
Aberdeen, workplace conflict can be categorised in two ways; substantive conflict
and personality conflict. Substantive conflict basically refers to task-related
conflict regarding decisions and ideas. Personality conflict has more to do
with emotions and the consequences of perceptions about someone’s ideas or
values. While there is nothing to be done that can permanently prevent
conflict, there are many ways people can deal with it. A survey conducted by
CPP Global in 2008 claimed that employees in frontline roles experienced the
most conflict. In the case study, Nick can be considered a frontline staff, as
he interacts with customers. This essay will evaluate and discuss the causes of
the conflict he has faced, and what he could have done to make things better
for himself.


From the case study, it is evident that Nick’s
decision to resign is due to a combination of both. There were many causes of
conflict that led to his decision, with unpredictable policies, subpar
performance and interpersonal relationships (Joseph),
in addition to unfair expectations (Beckwith, 2016),
among many others; but most of them fall under the following root causes: poor
communication, poor performance, and incompetent management (Joseph); and a lack of common understanding due to
differing values and goals. The conflict in the case study stems from two
sources- interpersonal, which is a predominant reason for conflict in the
workplace; and organisational, which relates to things like hierarchy and power
manipulation (Donais, 2006).

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


Poor communication is one of the main causes
of conflict in the case study. It is a substantive organisational reason for
conflict because it deals with the inability to properly communicate at the
workplace, which may affect tasks and interfere with goal attainment. Reasons
for poor communication relevant to the case study include unclear goals and
duties, disengaged employees, limited feedback, and lack of leadership (Brookins). In Nick’s case, it is mentioned that he was
not provided with guidance on how to fulfil his duties. His responsibilities were
vague. He was also subjected to limited feedback from his supervisors, as
evidenced from how he went to them for help but was not attended to properly,
and this occurred multiple times. When he tried to improve things he was also disregarded.

This continuous dismissal created uncertainty in Nick, which lowered his morale
and affected his identity goals and relationship goals as his initiative was
not appreciated and his relationship with his colleagues deteriorated (Struzinki, 2016). Some effects of poor communication
include lower efficiency, demoralisation, and decreased innovation (Writing). The lack of proper communication impacted
his motivation and led to his frustration with his work, which resulted in him
being disengaged. Disengagement lowers the likelihood of good customer service
(Brookins), and this was obvious in the way he
treated his customers. The absence of appropriate leadership will be discussed
more in depth in the following paragraph, but it is also a reason for poor
communication because of the inability of the leaders to aid Nick in his
struggles at the workplace.


Nick had to deal with an incompetent management
team, which is once again a substantive organisational reason for conflict. Incompetent
management can cause tension and conflict at the workplace (Root III). There was obvious power play and
manipulation (Beckwith, 2016) displayed in the
case study, regarding how the AM and SM treated Nick in a way that made him
feel insignificant. The company in the case study appears to have adopted a
hierarchical structure where the flow of information is downwards (Morgan, 2015), and this can be seen in how the SM, AM,
and Nick interacted. The management style also seems to fall under the
impoverished category in the organisational development grid where there is
little concern for both production and people (Blake
and Mouton, 1964), considering how there was no regard for Nick’s
wellbeing and how there was no desire to listen to alternatives proposed by him
to make things better. There is abuse of legitimate power by the AM in the way
he took advantage of his higher position to avoid doing work or helping Nick
out with customers. Unpredictable policies can lead to confusion because the
staff may wonder why the change has taken place (mindtools); in the scenario, Nick is baffled
about the ineffectiveness of the roster system. Even when Nick suggested
ways to improve the system, his contributions were not taken into
consideration, which is not how a good management system should operate.


The third cause of conflict is poor
performance, which deals with personality and interpersonal relations. Poor
performance can be due to unclear responsibilities and weak interpersonal relationships
(Sullivan), conflicting perceptions, styles, and
needs (Gatlin, Wysocki, Kepner, Farnsworth, &
Clark, 2016) and/or supervisor vs employee dynamics (Joseph). Nick was constantly at odds with the AM
because of the lack of help provided for him. Nick’s colleagues also appeared
to be under compliance conformity since they did not speak up during meetings
despite disagreeing with the establishment due to fear. The rejection of his
ideas and isolation from his colleagues affected his belonging and esteem needs
according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (McLeod, 2017).

This resulted in decreased motivation, which led to poor performance from Nick,
but the poor performance is also from the AM and SM who, as mentioned in the
above paragraph, do not seem to possess good leadership abilities. It is
important for the authority figures to ensure staff well-being and make sure
their voices are heard. The supervisor-employee dynamic can be linked to the
next point.


There was a lack of common understanding
due to a difference in values and goals in the case study. This has to do with
personality and interpersonal relations once more. This situation can be
explained using the frustration-anger-aggression hypothesis, which is drawn
from the frustration-aggression theory proposed by Dollard and Doob, et al (1939),
and further developed by Miller (1948) and Berkowitz
(1969). The basic idea of this theory is that people get frustrated when
their goal attainment process is interrupted, and they try to take that
frustration out on whoever they can hold accountable for that; if they cannot,
they will take it out on someone else who is available (Folarin). This is evidenced in the case study when Nick gets vents
his frustration on his customers, when that frustration is probably a result of
the treatment he has received from his management since starting at the company.

Nick’s values and goals lie more in doing a good job; he seems to be more task
oriented, but the AM’s values and goals seem questionable as he appears to have
something against Nick and refuses to help him.


Nick’s conflict resolution style is a
mixture of compromising, accommodating and avoiding. According to the Thomas-Kilmann
model, to compromise is to seek a middle ground solution; to accommodate is to have
high concern for others to the point of neglecting themselves; and to avoid is
to not deal with the conflict (Thomas and Kilmann, 1974).

Nick tried compromising when he took initiative to do something about the
system he disagreed with instead of just complaining but not doing anything
about it. He accommodated the AM and SM for a short period of time at first,
when he did not say anything about the AM not helping him. By resigning, he is
avoiding the conflict. His conflict resolution style could have changed to benefit
himself more; he could have been more assertive in requesting guidance.


Nick could have tried collaborating by
following the six steps of collaboration in sequence; preparing for
interaction, initiating the exchange, facilitating the relationship, understanding
the interests, examining the solution, and reaching a consensus (Bhushan). He could have made more of an effort to liaison
with the SM and AM about his concerns. However, majority of the conflict rose
as a result of Nick’s mistreatment at the office. Thus, strategies such as
negotiation and collaboration may not have worked in his favour because the
management may not have been open to his point of view.


Nick could have also attempted to repair
the relationship between himself and his colleagues so that he would have had
more support in dealing with his superiors.




It is also important for him to have
focused on the problem and not the individual (Smith, 2017). The problem was
the AM’s values and



It can be said that the underlying cause of
conflict is interpersonal relations because of Nick’s relationship with the AM
and SM. When relationship conflict is high, the people involved tend to be more
stressed and anxious, which decreases productivity, satisfaction, and desire to
work in the same group (Wayne, 2005). This was
all evident in the case study. Resolving interpersonal conflict can be more
challenging, because it really depends on the parties involved, how self-aware
they are, and how willing they are to resolve the conflict. Therefore, perhaps
Nick could have taken the time to reflect on himself and his actions to gain a
deeper understanding on how the issues could have been dealt with in other


To conclude, the reasons for Nick’s
resignation from the company are not as easily categorised as they originally
seem. There are many in-depth issues with the leadership that led to conflict,
and they can all be linked to one another due to the nature of the situation. That
being said, there are a couple of strategies Nick could have utilised to
improve his experience; he could have also raised his concerns with the HR
department. However, since the conflict appears to have started with the
management, seeing how that particular division has the highest attrition rate,
and how Nick seems to be victimised in this situation, perhaps it is best for
him to have left the company to protect his mental and emotional health. He should
not have to lose his job, but in the long run, it is not worth it for him to
work in such a place where he feels unappreciated, and in a way his resignation
is also a resolution to the conflict.