Conflict is inevitable, and it’s considered an inherent part of life. People are bound to have conflict because of differences in their personalities, upbringing, thoughts, actions, opinions, belief systems, and ways of life. Conflict can be defined as a misunderstanding between individuals or groups arising out of a difference in opinion, interest, needs, and values (Xie & Jiang, 2022). It can also be an expression of anger, negative attitudes, aggression, and misunderstanding. Conflict can occur between two or more people or organizations, family members, close friends, and coworkers. Interpersonal conflict can be defined as a misunderstanding involving two or more people. Conflict can be successful depending on how it was resolved.
Communication Behaviors that can Lead to Conflict
The effects of poor communication in the workplace or among two different people may cause misunderstanding or tension, resulting in a potential conflict between employees or close friends. Communication can resolve a dispute; communication itself can often contribute to conflict. However, how people interact with each other can contribute to successful conflict resolution and potentially escalate the conflict. Communication behaviors that lead to conflict include criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling (Universal class, 2022).
Criticism is a general complaint about someone’s personality rather than concentrating on a particular behavior. Contempt includes public ridicule of others, either by making fun of or using nonverbal cues to signal low opinions of other persons. Defensiveness is seeing yourself as a victim and denying responsibility for your behavior or actions, and Stonewalling means pulling away from the conversation (Universal class, 2022). Other communication behaviors can lead to conflict, such as passive-aggressive behavior, a person indirectly expressing negative emotion instead of openly expressing their feelings. All these negative communication behaviors can escalate the conflict.
Effects of Communication Behavior on Interpersonal Relationship
Communication is essential in every domain of life. Conflict may arise if communication is not clear and concise. Communication is critical in reducing misunderstandings and in solidifying individuals’ relationships. Good interpersonal communication solidifies the bond among each other and helps them to meet their individual needs and remain connected in the relationship. “Unprofessional and disruptive actions can compromise patient safety, increase turnover and absenteeism, and reduce joy in work” (Angelo, 2019, para 2). Interpersonal relationships are when two or more people are connected, impact each other, and involve exchanging information and ideas. Passive aggression and aggressive behavior can ensue during the interaction, escalating conflict when aggression is present, whether it’s exhibited verbally or with non-verbal signs, argument sets in, and an individual can become agitated.
Individual Differences Contribute to Interpersonal Conflict
Individual differences can lead to interpersonal conflicts such as culture, values, opinions, personalities, etc. Cultural differences can trigger conflict between individuals. This can occur when individuals are not willing to understand each other diversity in cultures. A value conflict arises when individuals hold strong personal beliefs that disagree with the organization’s values. Personality differences are another cause of workplace conflict. Employees are from different backgrounds and have different experiences and work ethics. Conflict arises when they fail to understand and accept their differences. Different opinions can lead to conflict when individuals refuse to see other people’s viewpoints. Conflict is bound to occur in the workplace due to misunderstanding, and sometimes conflict in the workplace can be productive if appropriately handled.
Strategies to Resolve Interpersonal Conflict
For conflict to be resolved in the workplace, between family members, or close friends, both parties must be willing to participate in the conflict resolution process. Resolving conflict is pertinent in building a solid relationship. There are many strategies to manage or resolve conflict. The first step is identifying the cause of the conflict. This will help both parties to understand the root cause of the problem, talk through the problem and agree on a solution. Dealing with conflict is a strategy for resolving conflict. Avoiding conflict can lead to increase stress and unresolved feeling of anger. Dealing with conflict will help build a strong relationship and help improve communication. Another strategy to resolve conflict is collaboration. This allows both parties to collaborate, assess each other misunderstandings and viewpoints and learn from their perceptions (Adeyemi & Aigbavboa, 2022). Also, practicing active listening is essential to conflict resolution; it involves listening to what the other party is saying.
Interpersonal conflict is a misunderstanding between two or more people resulting from differences in individual values, culture, personalities, and how they view things. Conflict can be successful if resolved appropriately and can improve communication and interpersonal relationship in the workplace leading to patient safety and a reduction in medical errors.
Adeyemi, B. S., & Aigbavboa, C. O. (2022). An exploratory factor analysis for conflict resolution methods among construction professionals. Buildings, 12(6), 854.
Xie, R., & Jiang, J. (2022). Creativity: The effectiveness of teacher-student conflict. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1628.
Angelo, E. (2019). Managing interpersonal conflict. Nursing Management, 50(6),22-28 https://doi.org/10.1097/01.numa.0000558479.54449.ed
Universal class, (2022). The characteristics of conflict in communication