So much conflict is indirect, behind the back. The grumblings that never make it into a direct “I don’t like what you are doing here.” Email communication seems to facilitate more direct conflict, though often unintended. The indirect and the behind the back facilitates the “I don’t like him/her as a person,” which is rarely expressed directly. As much because it is not the totality of the person that someone finds disagreeable, but rather specific behaviours.
The lack of direct conflict ends up transferring sentiments from specific acts to general views of the person, which are then collectively shared among those in the behind the back cubicle.
Yet some regard organizational conflict as advantageous. As possibly part of the organizational function, or as a necessary consequence of general human interaction. As discussed by Robert Bacal:
There are numerous traditional strategies to address organizational conflict. Most, if not all simply don’t work. In many cases, the worst of these—increased discipline, less communication, creating a shroud of “secrecy,” inaction, and more structure—actually enhance the intensity and frequency of organizational conflict.
Accept the fact that organizational and personality conflicts will happen. Murphy’s Law also confirms that these issues will take place at the worst time for such problems (is there ever a good time?). Ignoring a conflict, or, worse, taking a negative or heavy handed approach usually hurts your organization further.
However, approaching workplace conflicts as opportunities to improve operations is a much more productive solution. Certainly, there are some obvious cons to conflict. Morphing these negatives into pros may do more than diffuse sticky situations
As to opinion, versus evidence…