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What Is Conflict?

Updated: May 21, 2019

“An expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals.”

Or Simply: “discomforting difference.”

Conflict in the Workplace?

Percentage of people who have to deal with conflict at work?

Conflict may be useful!

  1. Bringing to the surface challenges that were not clear before

  2. Pointing out goals that are not aligned

  3. Discovering a process that is not solid, causing people to have a conflict

  4. Revealing roles that are not clear

  5. Showing important differences that need to be cherished

Types of Conflict Functional — support the goals of the group and improves it performance

Dysfunctional — conflict that hinders group performance

The functional conflicts can be differentiated from the dysfunctional conflicts on the basis of the following three attributes

  1. Task Conflict: Related to content and goals of the work.

  2. Relationship Conflict: Focuses on interpersonal relationships

  3. Process Conflict: Process conflict relates to how the work gets done.

Aspects of Conflict Functional Aspects:

  • —Stimulant for change

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Group Cohesion

  • Avoidance of Tension

  • —Identification of Weakness

  • Challenge

Dysfunctional Aspects:

  1. —Resignation of Personnel

  2. Tensions

  3. Dissatisfaction

  4. Creation of Distrust

  5. —Goal Displacement

  6. —Weakening of Organization

Don’t be scared of conflict. Understand it, embrace it, and take steps to ensure conflict remains a functional stimulant for change and innovation.


Dr. Nadine Greiner PhD, Executive Coaching San Francisco

Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders, and has dedicated her career to helping them.

As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’.

Contact Information: Feel free to email Dr. Nadine San Francisco Executive Coaching at or by phone at (415) 861-8383.


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