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If we are going to measure the cost of conflict to an organization, we must know what to look for. What should we consider as conflict? Conflict is a difference about how expected needs are going to be met and we typically know we are in a conflict because of the emotional tension we experience. At a behavioral level we become aware of either distancing or combative strategies: gossip, avoidance, verbal abuse, passive/aggressive communication, and hostility. Conflict can be demonstrated by not returning phone calls, not having coffee with your colleague any more and filing complaints, grievances or lawsuits. At its combative extreme, conflict involves physical violence.

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