Outcomes of Conflict

One of the most common outcomes of conflict is that it upsets parties in the short run. [4] However,

conflict can have both positive and negative outcomes. On the positive side, conflict can result in greater

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creativity or better decisions. For example, as a result of a disagreement over a policy, a manager may

learn from an employee that newer technologies help solve problems in an unanticipated new way.

Positive outcomes include the following:

• Consideration of a broader range of ideas, resulting in a better, stronger idea

• Surfacing of assumptions that may be inaccurate

• Increased participation and creativity

• Clarification of individual views that build learning

On the other hand, conflict can be dysfunctional if it is excessive or involves personal attacks or

underhanded tactics.

Examples of negative outcomes include the following:

• Increased stress and anxiety among individuals, which decreases productivity and satisfaction

• Feelings of being defeated and demeaned, which lowers individuals’ morale and may increase


• A climate of mistrust, which hinders the teamwork and cooperation necessary to get work done


Is Your Job at Risk for Workplace Violence? You may be at increased risk for workplace violence if your job involves the following:

• Dealing with people

o Caring for others either emotionally or physically, such as at a nursing home

o Interacting with frustrated customers, such as with retail sales

o Supervising others, such as being a manager

o Denying requests others make of you, such as with customer service

• Being in high-risk situations

o Dealing with valuables or exchanging money, such as in banking

o Handling weapons, such as in law enforcement

o Working with drugs, alcohol, or those under the influence of them, such as bartending

o Working nights or weekends, such as gas station attendants