18th August 2017
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August 5th, 2017 Cat: Bisnis Online

The office is not only a place for business, but also a place where people meet other people, interact, make friends, and sometimes, unfortunately, make enemies. The employees of an office altogether form a social group, and where there is a social group, there is always the potential for social conflict between its members. Conflict with reference to business concerns is expected, acceptable as long as the conflict remains a professional disagreement, but when office conflict arises out of personality clashes, sub-group and non-business related differences, such conflict can have a serious impact on productivity, quality and the bottom line. That’s when social conflict requires management attention.

Often, especially in offices of highly skilled employees, conflict occurs out of competition. Many businesses encourage their employees to compete. Competition can bring out the best in employees, increasing both production and quality. When competition reduces employee esteem, or when it turns employees into ruthless enemies, then management simply needs to remove encouraged competition and direct their employees to work as a team. Office conflict often disappears when management increases the inter-dependence of workers. Use competition when it facilitates your business objectives, but don’t overuse. Use competition intelligently.

Capitalism promotes competition among businesses and individuals. This cultural trait may sometimes rule the worker: the worker sees himself as always in competition, even with co-workers. When threatened by a competitive co-worker, some employees will use personal attacks to denigrate their competition, or to preserve their own self-image. When a manager perceives that this is the case, its time for the manager to have a talk with the employee and guide the employee towards more mature behavior. If the employee’s attacks are malicious, it’s better to let the employee go than to have a conflict escalate into personal assaults. The manager must be ever mindful of employee safety.

Office conflict can be avoided if the business fosters common respect among its employees and demands professionalism at all times. The personnel department of a business should have policies in place to allow employees to report office conflicts and to provide a fair and adequate hearing on all sides. An open door policy should be in place that assures employees that no retaliation will occur, either from the person with which the employee is in conflict, the person’s manager or his department. To avoid the politicization of a conflict, personnel should judge all conflicts and render solutions. Personnel is trained for this task.

A code of conduct for office employees should be posted on boards throughout the organization and included in employee handbooks. New employees may be made aware of the organization’s code of conduct at new employee orientations. By setting an example of respect and consideration for fellow workers, management can prevent many office conflicts from ever occurring.

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