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Conflict occurs when people perceive that, as a consequence of a disagreement, there is a threat to their needs, interests or concerns.

The ability to accomplish goals and objectives depends on the cooperation and assistance of others, which increases the opportunity for conflict. No one person can do the job without the input of someone else. When the other person is late, misunderstands directions, has different priorities or is playing office politics, conflicts are created. The workplace is fertile ground for conflict because of the dynamics and the breadth of relationships that exist.

Conflict can be helpful in making necessary changes within the work environment. However, unresolved or unmanaged conflict can quickly escalate and halt an organisation's progress as people spend time worrying more about conflict than their goals.

Communication is both the cause of and the remedy for conflict. However, communication and conflict resolution skills must be learned. Poor communication drives conflict underground and can create a downward spiral of misunderstanding and hostility. Unresolved conflict can result in feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. It can result in physical or emotional withdrawal, resignation from the job, break down of personal relations, aggression, and even violence.

Sources of conflict

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