Human Resource Management – Causes Of Interpersonal Conflict

Causes of Interpersonal Conflict

Conflict between individuals can also be brought about by:

Poor communication

Where the parties are not able to express themselves, verbalize their eeds, state the point adequately, provide logical and argument, or listen effectively, conflict can arise. The more limited the communication skills a person has, the greater possibility of physical violence.

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Perceived differences

Humans form groups naturally and so they need to distinguish their group from outsiders. This can lead to possible conflict between races, religions, political systems and, even, teams or departments at work, making some people feel out of the place.

Spatial relationships

Individuals seem to need their own space. It has nothing to do with personal or professional life, just to be concise, space is a basic need of every human being. Consequently, when there is overcrowding conflict usually increases.


There are numerous incidents or situations that can lead to an employee holding a grievance, which can be both, big as well as small in nature. They can be extremely serious, such as a sexual assault or a severe safety hazard. They may be less serious in totality but of serious concern to the employee, such as a new shift judicature, a failure to consider for promotion, a critical appraisal report, a lack of opportunity or too much pressure at work. A grievance is like an infection. Unless it is dealt quickly and efficiently, it will fester and may spread quickly causing unnecessary pain and suffering leading to lower productivity, reduced co-operation and commitment. A procedure, then, will aim to ensure that the employee’s case is heard quickly, that the employee concerned will have a fair hearing with the opportunity for full discussion to take place and that a response from management will follow without too long a gap. The procedure should make clear to whom the grievance should be addressed, who should accompany the employee if they require somebody to help them in the process, and specific time limits for the meeting to be held and the decision given, plus the stages of any appeal.


An inevitable consequence of employing people is that there must be a set of rules laid down which, to a large extent, regulates their behavior. Meaning of discipline was associated with learning and study – to be a disciple – but now its associations are closer to punishment and penalties, keeping in view the problems employees face in their workplace. This is unfortunate in many ways because the concept of self-discipline and working within a mutually agreed code of behavior are essential features of an effective workplace today. Indeed, it could be regarded as a failure on management’s part whenever a disciplinary session takes place. Perhaps it is a failure in selection, or to explain the rules at induction or a failure in sufficiently understanding or influencing the behavior of the employee in their performance in the workplace. A better approach is to regard any issue of friction that may lead to discipline as that of problem to be solved and that punishment is only one solution that should only be used as a last resort.

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