Conflict and Dispute Management

Conflict management involves the identification and handling conflicts rationally, objectively, and efficiently. Conflict management in the workplace is vital to maintain productivity. Conflict in the workplace is typically viewed as just a way of life and a natural occurrence in most Organisations. Different people with different goals and needs frequently come into conflict resulting in often intense personal animosity. Research shows that 60-80% of all difficulties in Organisations come from strained relationships between Employees, not from perceived deficits in individual Employee skill or motivation (Daniel Dana, Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home (2005))

When conflict within an Organisation is managed in the incorrect way, real and legitimate differences between Employees can rapidly rise out of control, resulting in situations where team work and collaboration is seriously eroded, productivity can be significantly reduced and valued Employees leave the Organisation.

In order to resolve conflict when it does arise, it helps to take an informal positive approach to conflict management where discussion is courteous and non-confrontational in manner, and the focus is on the issues rather than the personalities involved. If this approach is followed, along with a willingness from the parties involved to explore possible solutions, conflict can often be resolved effectively.

In instances, where informal means have been exhausted without success or it has been determined that informal means are inappropriate based on the issues under consideration, Employers are strongly encouraged to have an internal formal procedure in place for resolving Employee grievances and complaints. These may include policies and procedure related to the use of Mediation, Grievance, Disciplinary, and the Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.