Workplace Conflict Case Study – The War Within

Workplace Conflict Case Study – The War Within


Workplace Conflict – Resolving a corporate departments “warring factions”

The  Situation

The workplace conflict concerned a departmental team of 12 people. The relationship between the team leader and the department manager was so damaged they only spoke to each other through third parties.

The group was split into two warring factions – one group behind the team leader, the other siding with the department manager with a few members remaining neutral. There was a perceived favouritism with respect to approval of leave, training and allowances. There had been no performance appraisals for two years, and two staff members had been on stress leave for five weeks.

Problems had been investigated, discussed and not solved to anyone’s satisfaction by senior management for two years.

ProActive Resolutions Response

ProActive Resolutions was brought in to help address and remedy the situation with the goal of creating a long term, sustainable solution that was accepted by everyone involved in the workplace conflict.

ProActive Resolutions conducted a TJA conference – essentially a facilitated conversation among a community of people affected by a given situation – to try and get to the root of what was causing the workplace conflict, develop an workplace conflict resolution action plan and to oversee the implementation of the plan.

Prior to the TJA conference, ProActive conducted voluntary interviews with each of the 12 team members. These interviews revealed the key underlying issues and the nature of the conflicts between various team members. The interviews revealed that all 12 team members had been involved with the workplace conflict to some extent.

During the conference, it became evident that the root cause of the workplace conflict could be traced back to leave approval procedures (where one member of the team had been given significantly more leave than others), the department managers style of interacting with department members and malicious gossip and emails.

By the end of the conference a detailed agreement (signed by every team member) was reached. It included the following commitments:

  • Provide individual staff with needs analysis, training and coaching
  • workplace policies would be re-distributed and re-signed by staff
  • conduct monthly one-on-one feedback sessions with staff
  • review and formalisation of the team leader and department manager responsibilities with performance measures defined.

ProActive Results

After everyone agreed on the workplace conflict action plan, every step was carried out by the team within six month. The impact was immediate:

  • There were  no stress leaves taken in the first six months
  • Overall staff turnover was reduced resulting in an annual savings of $160,000 for the organization
  • Days and weeks spent managing workplace conflict were reduced to two hours a week reviewing team performance and providing constructive feedback to the team manager

Read more details about this case study in National Safety Magazine

Contact ProActive Resolutions to learn about how we can help you resolve your Workplace Conflict issues!

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