Internal conflict vs. external conflict

While completely eliminating workplace conflicts is not a feasible goal, the manager of a small business should strive to minimize the number of conflicts present in the business. When conflicts receive all the attention, attention is given to the tasks necessary for the business. This can cause a waste of time and productivity, which can ultimately lead to a loss in profits if the problem is serious enough. Managers should try to remedy the conflict as soon as they find out about the situation. Ignoring it with hopes that it will disappear on its own can be detrimental to the business.

Internal conflict

The two types of conflicts are external and internal. In the case of internal conflict, it is limited to the person involved. This type of conflict develops within the individual. It can surface when a person’s morals or values are tested or compromised. The internal conflict can cause great stress because the person has to be able to remedy the situation on their own in most cases. The internal conflict can have a great impact on the level of performance of the person. Many times, being able to talk about the situation and the source of the conflict can help tremendously.

External conflict

The external conflict is the conflict that occurs outside the person. It may be a conflict that is observed in others or in external forces that are creating a conflict for the person, such as a dissatisfied customer or a disruptive provider. External conflict can also arise when the management style of the business owner does not fit well with the employees of the organization. A common example of this is a boss who likes to micromanage but has a staff of highly independent employees. This tends to cause conflict and an unpleasant work situation.

Conflict in the workplace

Contrary to what most people think, conflict in the workplace can be positive. Not only can you identify the problems that are points of weakness for the business, but you can also improve the negotiation and mediation capabilities of the members of the office. While constant conflict or an overwhelming amount of conflict can paralyze staff, a little conflict is necessary to keep employees standing. Without conflict, the staff could feel satisfied because things always go perfectly in the business.


Whenever a conflict arises, effective business practice is to involve a mediator. A mediator is a person who is not personally involved in the conflict and can provide an objective opinion. The mediator also ensures that discussions about the conflict follow certain rules, such as not cursing, shouting or showing physical emotions to the other person. Many times, the mediator of the organization is the director of human resources. He can also be a good social communicator for those dealing with internal problems. If the conflict involves the entire organization, it may be necessary to bring an external mediator to help with the problem.


Developing a set of rules that guide communications during the resolution of conflicts can be a great solution for the company. This includes not interrupting when the other speaks, actively listening to the person and saying in other words what they have said to make sure they have understood and what should happen if the emotions intensify. Having all of that in writing and a part of the employee handbook, employees at all levels know what to expect during mediation and can act according to rules that have been arranged in advance with the consent of all business employees.

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