Dec 9, 2019 in Exploratory

Disputes and Disagreement at Work Place

In our daily life encounters, dispute and disagreement are inevitable. They are considered to be natural and normal part of our personal and professional lives. Disputes occur where two people are involved be it at the work place, home, or during social activities. The dispute arises as a result of ineffective communication, and still communication is among the remedies for conflict resolutions. If conflicts are resolved amicably, they can lead to high productivity at given activity and happiness between the members involved. On the contrary, if disputes and disagreement are not effectively resolved, they can lead to the rise of unnecessary tension, depression, hopelessness, dissatisfaction unhappiness, withdrawals, and resignation. In some instance, the unresolved dispute can heighten to violence and aggression. The case at hand will focus on the disputes that occur in the workplace. It is either between employer and employees, among employees, between external stakeholder and employer or employee. 

Conflict at workplace setting can be of a positive significance if addressed in the right way. Though feared and avoided by many, dispute can create awareness for important and necessary changes that need to be incorporated in different setting depending on where it occurs. To some extent, it reflects a healthy exchange of different perceptions and innovativeness. However, if disputes are not or are inappropriately resolved at the workplace, they can yield to employ  ee’s turnover, absenteeism, the rise in work-related stress, emotional dissatisfaction. The prime for these unsettled disputes result to a un-conducive work environment.


As the manager strives to create a conducive working environment, they must have the technical knowledge of conflict resolution. Managing dispute is key at all working place. The skill can be learned through the experience or short term courses that improve the competency of handling conflict. Disputes that have previously occurred act as a guideline to directors, managers, and employers in resolving the conflicts at hand as well as expected conflicts. 

Depending on the intensity of the dispute, the manager or executive director has a responsibility to analyze and discern it. To achieve this and manage the conflict, he must have a clear know-how on ways of identifying and resolving different types of disputes and disagreements. Therefore, it is necessary for the manager, director or employer to recognize and address various factors that can easily crop up to dispute directly or indirectly. According to Posthuma, if the conflict is mere, internal negotiation or mediation may apply. Moreover, when a conflict is not within the manager’s or director’s capacity, the need for engaging an external alternative for resolving the conflict may deem necessary.

My employer was interested in identifying different types of dispute that occur in the department of sales and marketing that has ten members. The ten members include the manager, assistant manager, two senior sales executives three sale representatives and three trainees. Being a member of this department, the employer delegated the task to me. As a method expert, I opted to use unobtrusive observation method for collecting data. I found the method convenient since it entails observation of individuals without stereotyping. I conducted the task within five working days where I recorded my observation on a daily journal. The outcome showed the following types of disputes are experienced in the department; power dispute, interdependence dispute, value dispute, personality clashes, limited resources dispute, and conflict of interest. 

On day one, the first entry was power dispute. It occurred between senior sales executive and assistant sales manager. The assistant manager ordered the sales representative to ensure that all deliveries were made before the closure of the business without prioritizing. On the other hand, the senior sales executive provided a list of priorities depending on the urgency of the delivery. Unfortunately, the delivery van broke down before all deliveries were made. A dispute arose due to a dissatisfaction of a customer whose delivery was delayed past their agreement with the assistant manager. The second entry was a limited resource dispute between two sales representatives. They had scheduled to the meet their clients at the same time but in different locations using the same sale vehicle. There was a dispute in deciding which sales representative was to meet the client first using the only available means of transport. 

The second day, the third entry was a conflict of interest. It involved the manager and the sales representative. The sales representative was undertaking her master’s program, and the exams were in a weeks’ time from then. She requested for a week off to prepare in advance for the exam. There arose a disagreement since the manager had a planned task for the sales representative.

On the third day, the fourth entry was a dispute on the unclear definition of responsibilities. It involved two trainees and a senior executive. The senior was supposed to carry out a market survey but instead delegated it to the trainees. After the report of the survey had been presented to the manager, he deemed it wanting. The conflict came in when the manager realized that the trainees conducted the survey.

Dispute of power reoccurred again on the fourth day as the fifth entry. It was between the manager and the assistant manager. The assistant manager approved a 30% discount on goods bought in cash. The manager questioned the approved 30% discount since it was contrary to his proposed 20% discount. On the same day, the sixth entry was a dispute of interdependence. The dispute involved the sale executive and the accountant. The sales executive delayed submitting the weekly sales record to the accountant. The delay inconvenienced the accountant in preparing the books of account. The dispute came up when the sales executive felt that the accountant was mounting unnecessary pressure on him.

The seventh entry on the fifth day was personality clashes. As the last working day of the week, the senior sales executive was supposed to submit a report to the manager by noon. He delayed the submission due to some technical hitches with his laptop. The manager did not consider the executives explanation. Thereto, jumping into a conclusion that sales executive is lazy and slow at work. The eighth entry was a dispute of values between the sales representative and manager. The sales representative had completed a two days sick off. On reporting back, he found there was a business expo that he was scheduled to attend on Sunday. The dispute cropped up since attending an expo on Sunday was contrary to his religious doctrines.

Disputes and disagreements can be beneficial and at the same have adverse effects. For the disputes and disagreements to be beneficial, proper measures must be incorporated. Nonetheless, unresolved disputes can be costly. According to DeMarr, the cost entails time wasted complaining about the unsettled conflicts, employees’ turnover and increased absenteeism. Employees use a lot of time worrying about the unresolved disputes other than focusing on the organizational goals.

Appropriate ways of dispute resolution are by use of proper channels of communication, investing in valuable resources intended to educate employees on how to resolve and address conflict and proper job description of individuals. Such amicable resolutions will help the employers to sustain a good relationship with the employees. Hence, employees will have a good conducive environment that will increase their productivity and cooperation.


Related essays