A psychologically healthy and safe workplace has been defined as one in which there is organizational support for the physical, social, personal and developmental needs of employees (Kelloway & Day, 2005). However, we know that conflict can occur anywhere at work-the water jug, the boardroom, the elevator, and even at that office holiday function. On the contrary, the workplace relationship is something needed and often just occurs and can refer to all interpersonal relationships at work ranging from supervisor/subordinate to romantic (Sias, 2009). Unfortunately, the presence of workplace interpersonal conflict is frequently identified as a source of stress which, in some circumstances, may lead to a workers' compensation claim and increased psychological injury. Conflict in the workplace can result in damaged relationships, loss of productivity and lack of job satisfaction (Kidder, 2007).
Various theories exist for why employees experience stress in the workplace but most recognize that it is associated with either the work environment or job factors as opposed to individual personalities (Dollard & Knott, 2004). Unfortunately, many employees fail to report or even address the stressful situation (Caulfield, Chang, Dollard, & Elshaug, 2004). It is often the fear of confrontation and talking about conflict that workers typically avoid as the process is stressful, and some may even interpret it as a form of :social suicide.”
Workplace relationship conflict can vary from minor disagreements between co-workers to aggression and organizational violence; it may be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional, but all conflict will be characterized by negative emotions (Kidder, 2007). In order to overcome these negative emotions both parties must feel validated and that there "voice" is being heard while relinquishing power and any negative behavior and attitudes.
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