What Is Dysfunctional Conflict?

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Dysfunctional conflict occurs when there is too much, or too little, conflict within an organization.
Dysfunctional conflict occurs when there is too much, or too little, conflict within an organization. (Image: business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com)

Dysfunctional conflict is conflict that leads to a decline in communication or the performance of a group. Dysfunctional conflict can be an overabundance of conflict or a lack of sufficient motivating conflict.

Organizational Dysfunctional Conflict

Dysfunctional conflict within an organization is motivated by egos of employees with competing ambitions. It often leads to higher stress and a likelihood that employees will burn out. Employees will also likely feel less satisfaction and less loyalty to the organization.

Stages of Dysfunctional Conflict

There are five stages of dysfunctional conflict. Incompatibility is the source of conflict: misunderstandings and lack of communication. Recognition is the process by which employees internalize the conflict that affects their behavior. Intention is the process by which employees' behavior changes due to the conflict. Perceived behavior refers to slights and reactions that play into creating conflict, while results are effects of the conflict on a group.

Resolving Dysfunctional Conflicts

A leader must resolve a conflict by recognizing ambitions and abilities of employees and attempt to motivate and stimulate employees when there is too little conflict or calm employees' tempers and bringing them to work together more effectively when there is too much conflict.

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