10 Characteristics of Conflict in the Organization

Characteristics of Conflict

Conflict is when two or more parties do not consent to each other’s viewpoints. The following are 10 common characteristics of conflict in personal and organizational settings.

Processual Nature

Conflict within organizational settings often follows a circuit, commencing innocuously with minor misunderstandings and gradually intensifying due to divergent values, perspectives, and interests. This progression might involve a series of layers, starting from simple disagreements and escalating into deeper clashes if left unaddressed.


Conflict permeates social structures and organizations due to the inherent diversity among individuals. Varied backgrounds, opinions, and the competition for limited resources inevitably create situations where conflicting viewpoints emerge. It’s a natural byproduct of human interactions and differing priorities.

Normative Aspect

Contrary to being an anomaly, conflict is an expected facet of organizational dynamics. It’s not inherently detrimental but can spur growth and innovation. However, if mishandled or ignored, conflicts can disrupt the harmony and functionality of an organization.

Perceptual Basis

The foundation of conflict often rests on the perception of clashing interests or actions. How individuals interpret these differences shapes their subsequent behavior and communication patterns. Biases, misunderstandings, or differing interpretations of the same situation can influence these perceptions.

Opposition and Interdependence

Conflict thrives on the existence of opposing viewpoints or goals and relies on some form of real or perceived interdependence among the conflicting parties. It’s not merely about disagreement but also about the acknowledgment of interconnectedness, where the actions of one party affect or are affected by the other.

Read More: Teams Vs. Groups – 12 Differences

Ubiquitous Impact

Conflict is not limited to specific areas but pervades various levels within an organization – individuals may experience inner conflicts, conflicts may arise between employees, among different groups or departments, and can even extend across the entire organizational structure. This widespread presence of conflict influences the overall atmosphere, impacting relationships, teamwork, and productivity.

Multi-Dimensional Nature

Conflict isn’t a singular entity but a spectrum encompassing various intensities and forms. It ranges from minor disagreements or differences in opinion to more severe clashes involving core values or fundamental goals. This multi-dimensionality provides opportunities for growth and improvement but also poses challenges requiring minute handling and resolution strategies.

Dynamic Process

This characteristic of conflict states conflict isn’t static; it’s a dynamic and evolving phenomenon. It can intensify due to unresolved issues or de-escalate through effective communication and resolution techniques. Its fluid nature demands adaptive management strategies that acknowledge its evolution over time.

Catalyst for Creativity

Despite its reputation for disruption, conflict isn’t entirely negative. It can catalyze creativity and innovation. When diverse perspectives clash, it can lead to the generation of fresh ideas, alternative viewpoints, and innovative problem-solving approaches that may not have emerged in a conflict-free environment.

Test of Relationships

Conflict acts as a litmus test for the robustness of relationships within an organization. It unveils the depth of trust, communication, and mutual respect among stakeholders. Addressing conflict effectively can fortify these relationships, fostering a more resilient and collaborative organizational culture.

Hence, these are the 10 characteristics of conflict.

Read Next: How To Manage a Team in Organization? 10 Strategies For Success

Leave a Comment