7 MIN READ

Bell and Hart's Eight Causes of Conflict

Understanding the Causes of Workplace Tension

Bell and Hart's Eight Causes of Conflict - Understanding the Causes of Workplace Tension

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Learn how to prevent, recognize, and manage conflict effectively.

You've just arrived at your office, which you share with a colleague, and it looks as if it's going to be another frustrating day.

Your side of the office is neat as a pin and incredibly well organized. You always arrive at work on time and you take care not to talk loudly when you're on the phone, so that you don't disturb your office mate. Your colleague, however, is the exact opposite.

Empty cups and stacks of dusty files litter his side of the office. He often rushes into the office late, and he sometimes puts the radio on while he's working, which breaks your concentration. You love your work, but dread coming into the office every day, simply because you don't like sharing your space with your colleague. He drives you crazy, and you often argue.

If you thought about it, you'd quickly recognize that there's conflict between you because the two of you have completely different working styles. Once you'd realized this, you'd have a starting point for thinking about how you could work together more effectively.

All of us experience conflict like this at work. Conflict can be useful, since it can push conflicting parties to grow and communicate, and it can improve conflicting ideas. However, this can only happen if we understand why the conflict is there in the first place. Once we've identified the root of the problem, we can take the right steps to resolve it.

In this article, we'll look at eight common causes of conflict in the workplace, and we'll explore how you can use them to manage conflict more effectively.

About the Eight Causes

According to psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart, there are eight common causes of conflict in the workplace. Bell and Hart identified these common causes in separate articles on workplace conflict in 2000 and 2002.

The eight causes are:...

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