Importance of Communication as an Aid to Resolving Workplace Disputes

Importance of Communication as an Aid to Resolving Workplace Disputes

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Conflicts arise in workplaces due to many factors. Some are caused by rude co-workers, some are a result of grievances from employees, while others arise from different opinions shared by employees and employers. If these disputes are not amicably resolved, they result in poor output at workplaces (Nordin et al., 2014). However, some conflicts can be beneficial, depending on how they are handled. One of the most viable strategies for resolving workplace disputes is through communication. Dialogue helps to resolve differences by bringing consensus among the various parties involved.


Conflicts can be solved if the parties involved come together by means of communication. One way of solving workplace disputes is by using the alternative dispute resolution method (Ojo, Iyiola and Osibanjo, 2014). In this method, communication acts as a key means of resolving disputes. According to Ojo et.al (2014), facilitation can be used to solve disputes and it involves a third party trying to facilitate communication between the two parties involved in the dispute. The manager or any other person familiar with the two conflicting parties is best placed to play the role of the third party. This process requires that the three parties involved have a face-to-face forum.

Communication is also vital while applying the conciliation method. The third-party acts as a channel of communication between the conflicting parties who do not wish to meet one-on-one (Ojo et.al., 2014). The work of the third party is to ensure that the two parties will eventually have direct communication, thus resolving the conflict.

As identified earlier, some workplace disputes arise due to poor communication between workers and employers. Better communication can, therefore, resolve some of the conflicts. Communication is important in that when managers are trained to handle complicated conversations with their workers, the conflicts that could have arisen are minimised (ACAS, n.d.). Some employees encounter problems at workplaces and they remain silent, hence opening channels for disputes that occur later. Good communication allows for such employees to be open and to freely express their opinions (ACAS, n.d.). Good communication skills such as listening to what others have to say help resolve disputes at workplaces (ACAS, n.d.).

Different organizations have different communication climates. When an organization’s communication climate is defensive, the employees refrain from speaking out their needs due to the cautiousness applied while making statements; leading to low motivation and a source of disputes (Nordin et al., 2014). Some organisations have a supportive environment and this encourages employees to always air their views, thus resolving disputes (Nordin et.al. 2014).

Good communication exists between employers and employees and the ‘existence of structured performance management processes’ plays a major role in resolving conflicting issues (Saundry and Wibberley, 2014, p. 7). However, direct communication between the manager and the workers could be hard, thus the need for a representative. The representative ensures that the employees’ needs are communicated to the managers, thus resolving disputes.


ACAS. n.d. ‘Disputes and conflict in the workplace.’ Acas. [Online]

Nordin, S. M, Sivapalan, S, Bhattacharyya, E, Ahmad, H. H. W. F. W and Abdullah, A. (2014). ‘Organizational Communication Climate and Conflict Management: Communications Management in an Oil and Gas Company.’ Elsevier. Vol. 109. Pages 1046-1058.

Ojo, B. E. O., Iyiola, O. O and Osibanjo, A. O (2014). ‘Managing Workplace Conflicts in Business Environment: The Role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).’ European Journal of Business Management. Vol. 6 (36). ISSN 2222-1905

Saundry, R., and Wibberley, G. 2014. ‘Workplace Dispute Resolution and the Management of Individual Conflict- A Thematic Analysis of Five Case Studies.’ ACAS. Ref: 06/14. [Online]

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