The negative impact of conflict at work

A new study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows the link between workplace conflict and employee wellbeing and engagement.

Man bullying a woman sitting at a desk

 

People who experience workplace conflict, such as humiliation, discrimination, or verbal abuse, are more likely to have lower job satisfaction and poorer mental and physical health, according to a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Its Good Work Index survey found that one in four employees has experienced conflict at work in the past year. The most common causes of conflict were poor management practices, including bullying or being undermined, and excessive workloads.

42% of those affected said they felt exhausted all or most of the time, compared with 18% of those who reported no conflict. 37% said they felt under pressure all or most of the time, compared with 15% of those who didn’t experience any conflict. Only 28% said their work had positively impacted their mental health, compared with 43% per cent of those who didn’t experience conflict. And a quarter said their work had a positive impact on their physical health, compared with 32% of those who didn’t experience any conflict.

Those who experienced conflict also had less confidence in senior leaders’ ability, less trust in them to act with integrity, and lower perceptions of managers to enable employee voice, highlighting the crucial importance of early action to address conflict at work.

The CIPD says the results show that employers should focus on line management training to enable managers to build more positive relationships in their teams and address areas of conflict early on, pinpoint and address the underlying causes of conflict, including excessive workloads, exhaustion and pressure and encourage open and supportive work environments, where employees can feel they have a voice.

Meanwhile, Gallup research says demotivated workers in the UK cost the country over £257bn in potential output last year. It says only 10% of UK workers were “engaged” at work last year, a significant decline over the past decade and well below the global average of 23%.



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