Human capital risk update: The cost of workplace conflict

Workplace conflict poses a significant human capital risk to organizations – this according to a recent review of scholarly research conducted by Treasa Kenny, a Fellow at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

Kenny’s review finds that conflict takes its toll on organizations in the form of lost time and money. Studies have indicated that managers can spend anywhere from 13% to 20% of their time at work dealing with conflicts in the organization – a time commitment that results in lost productivity, increased absenteeism, turnover, and a host of other negative issues. These conditions can exact an enormous price, and Kenny’s review suggests that they cost US companies as a whole $35.4 billion each year.

When conflicts materialize in a workplace, a variety of solutions can help the organization overcome them. When conflict compromises the relationships between isolated employees, targeted coaching can provide an appropriate remedy. When conflicts are more widespread, training sessions can provide a more comprehensive solution.

In some cases, features of the organization’s culture can contribute to the prevalence of workplace conflict, in which case a guided culture-change initiative may be in order. An organizational risk assessment can help determine which solution or combination of solutions are most appropriate