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POORLY MANAGED ORGANISATIONAL CONFLICT RESULTS IN UNDER-PERFORMANCE AND WASTE.
There are obvious implications when disputes manifest in ways that require money or other quantifiable resources to sort out. We can define these as Primary Costs and they can be directly linked to the conflict at hand. Interestingly these are short-term consequences and the least damaging, the costs of which are easily measurable.
Primary Costs | Examples:
- Wasted time
- Opportunity costs
- Demotivation and lowered productivity
- Absenteeism and consequent underperformance
- Loss of skilled employees and staff turnover costs
- Degraded decision quality
- Restructuring around the problem
- Health costs
- Damaged assets from theft, sabotage, vandalism, and the like these examples are related to specific clashes but dispute resolution does not always address the underlying conflict. People don’t do well with unresolved, mismanaged or un-managed conflict. There are Secondary Costs of Conflict that show up in the aftermath in one-step-removed implications. These are harder to connect to the cause, harder to quantify and harder to pinpoint responsibility for.
Secondary Costs | Examples:
- Team reshuffles
- Failures to meet targets
- Missed opportunities
- Increased costs of supplies, capital purchases, equipment repairs, legal expenses or insurance premiums
The monetary cost of replacing an employee, for example, can be quantified, but the knock-on effects from that cannot. The most troubling consequences however are those that seem to fade away.
These costs are all-pervasive and toxic, seemingly unrelated to any specific conflict or need for change; tracking them back to their root cause is near impossible.
Systemic Costs | Examples:
- Lost market share
- Difficulties in hiring top talent
- Poor customer service
- Undermined industry image
- Best performers quitting
- This alarming continuum can erode brands and leaders would do well to consider serious assessment of conflict that goes unnoticed.
Conflict doesn’t just come in colour, gender or sexual orientation, it comes in generations X, Y, and BB, industry, corporate hierarchy, even area of expertise (think marketing vs. finance, production vs. creative, creative vs. legal, technology vs. everyone) ~ Michelle Kerrigan, http://www.workplaceconfidence.com