Recent research puts the cost of workplace conflict at 2.8 hours per week or about $359 billion in 2008 for U.S. businesses. CPP Inc., a provider of research, training, and organizational development tools, polled thousands of workers from nine countries across multiple industries on the issue of work conflict. In addition to lost time, the study found that one in three respondents (33%) said that conflict has led to personal injury or attacks, while one in five (22%) reported that it has led to illness or absence from work.

“… the study also uncovered a significant variance between managers’ appraisal of their own ability to manage conflict and the observations of the employees under them. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of managers felt that they’re skilled at dealing with conflict. However, only slightly more than one-fifth of employees (22 percent) said that their managers deal with conflict well.”

The study also reported that positive outcomes are directly tied to conflict management training, with employers with a high incidence of training reporting more positive outcomes than those where training is less prevalent.
Additional resources
The full report from CPP: Workplace Conflict and How Businesses Can Harness It to Thrive (PDF)
Six tips to managing workplace conflict
Workplace conflict resolution: people management tips
Dealing with workplace conflict
Workplace Conflict Guide – this guide from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers a good model of a road map that organization’s might use to map out their conflict resolution approach and process

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