Conflicts and Communication

Think of a situation where you witnessed communication between 2 people resulting in conflict. Explain if the sender and receiver expressed themselves clearly. Were questions answered and comments given? What was the outcome of the interaction?

            One situation that I can remember resulted from personality clashes in my previous workplace. Our supervisor and one of my colleagues could not get along with each other. In one incident, a problem was presented to the team, where we were supposed to develop a solution. During the discussion, both the employee and the supervisor kept opposing each other’s suggestions and ideas. At some point the other members of the team were silent, and the discussion was between that employee and the supervisor. The discussion between the two seemed to lack direction since no one was listening to the other. The sender- receiver relationship did not exist. Both were talking without listening to the other. They were raising voice over each other with the sole purpose of opposing.

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It was a fact that sender and receiver were not expressing themselves clearly. The sender is supposed to clearly communicate when the receiver listens silently. In addition, the receiver should listen when the sender is speaking, and later ask questions for clarification (Subramoniam, 2014). However, this did not happen between the two team members. Both were speaking at the same time, opposing views, suggestions and ideas of each other. No one was asking each other questions for clarification. If there were comments, they were opposition ones that did not have some basis. The outcome of interaction between the two was conflict. The conversation almost resulted to a fight but the members of the team prevented it from happening. The problem-solving meeting only took place after the two members were separated and placed in different teams.

Think about an interaction you have had with a peer or colleague that resulted in conflict. If you could replay the interaction what would you change and why? How well does communication function in your workplace? Is there conflict and how is it handled?

            One interaction that resulted to a conflict between me and a colleague was when the two of us were assigned the same project. The initial phase of the project started off well but problems started arising when opposing viewpoints started coming up. According to Illes, Ellemers & Harinck (2014), the main challenge people face in the conflict process is the fear of being wrong and the need of being right. This was the same challenge that our interaction faced- the need of each of us to be right. If the interaction could be replayed, a third person should be included. A third person would listen to the ideas that each of us has, and point out when the argument is taking the wrong direction that could lead to a conflict. That way, conflict would be prevented from taking place.

            In our workplace, communication is taken as an important aspect of managing crises, disagreements and conflicts. The senior management understands that communication failure is the main cause of most workplace problems. In order to avoid the same in the organization, meetings are held constantly in order to pass on certain messages. Short clear memos are also e-mailed to members within the organization when it is necessary. Effective use of horizontal communication is emphasized to ensure that productivity is enhanced through information sharing, collaboration, conflict resolution and problem-solving. Conflicts keep taking place in the workplace between people, teams and departments. When they happen, the main issues are addressed immediately and openly in order to solve them quickly. In order to avoid more conflicts, clear expectations are set for members. In addition, members are always urged to cultivate listening skills in order to avoid misinterpretations.


Illes, R., Ellemers, N., & Harinck, F. (2014). Mediating Value Conflicts. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31(3), 331-354.

Subramoniam, S. (2014). Conflicts: Types, Causes and Resolution Strategies. Paradigm, 8(1), 55-62.

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