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NewsSLF Lawyers NewsWorkplace Relations & Safety5 Common Causes of Workplace Disputes

8 August 2015

It’s inevitable that at one point or another, every workplace will encounter some degree of conflict. Whether it is a confrontation with a boss or co-worker, it is estimated that managers spent approximately 25% of their time working to resolve disputes in their workplace.

But let’s take a step back. Why do workplace disputes occur?

Workplace disputes can stem from a number of reasons, intentional or unintentional. The most common causes of workplace disputes include:

  1. Division of Work: This is amongst the most common causes of workplace disputes, as well as the easiest to resolve. Often employees may find themselves in a heated discussion about who should do what task. They may feel they were the better candidate for the job, or sometimes feel as though another colleague had been given a lesser workload. Perceived unequal divisions of work thus lead to division in the workplace, laying the foundations for ongoing conflict.
  2. Conflicting Standards: Whilst we may all achieve the same end result, everyone has their own way of getting a job done. Many, however, are unable to view things from another’s perspective and may only see their method as the only plausible way. Cue conflict.
  3. Personality Clashes: We’re often told that opposites attract; however, this is not always the case. Working in close proximity with other individuals may also spark tensions. Whilst this one is difficult to manage, it is important to respect boundaries and establish ground rules.
  4. Poor Communication: Just like in any union, where communication fails to exist – conflict arises. If healthy communication channels are not established in a workplace, room is left for assumptions and misunderstandings to grow.
  5. Inertia: Described by physicist Sir Isaac Newton, inertia is the fear of change and is a prominent driving force for workplace disputes. This may occur when a new person is employed, a new system is introduced or even simply a change in seating for an individual.

In order to prevent workplace conflict and ensure a healthy work environment, it is thus important to set expectations and establish effective communication practices. Accept that this is a natural part of business, whilst working to be proactive rather than reactive in your approaches.

For more information on workplace disputes or to find out how SLF Lawyers can help with your dispute resolution case, contact your local branch today.