One of the most common outcomes of conflict is that it upsets parties in the short run. However, conflict can have both positive and negative outcomes. On the positive side, conflict can result in greater creativity or better decisions. For example, as a result of a disagreement over a policy, a manager may learn from an employee that newer technologies help solve problems in an unanticipated new way.
Positive outcomes include the following:
- Consideration of a broader range of ideas, resulting in a better, stronger idea
- Surfacing of assumptions that may be inaccurate
- Increased participation and creativity
- Clarification of individual views that build learning
- On the other hand, conflict can be dysfunctional if it is excessive or involves personal attacks or underhanded tactics.
- Examples of negative outcomes include the following:
- Increased stress and anxiety among individuals, which decreases productivity and satisfaction
- Feelings of being defeated and demeaned, which lowers individuals’ morale and may increase turnover
- A climate of mistrust, which hinders the teamwork and cooperation necessary to get work done