Workplace Conflict & Company Culture – Beyond the “Top Leaders” Analysis


Workplace Conflict & Company Culture – Beyond the “Top Leaders” Analysis

Most of you know my position on workplace conflict issues— “It’s the System”— and by that I mean much of the problem with workplace conflict stems from the company culture and how that culture trickles down to the employees. But what about when a company culture, from top leadership on down, is one that should foster community and best practices and therefore have lower rates of workplace conflict, but in fact things are not going well? And by not going well, I mean where bullying reports abound, people are leaving their jobs, productivity is declining, and key leaders of the future are moving on to greener pastures.  What’s going on if the issue isn’t top leadership?

In a recent report published by the Australian Business/Wall Street Journal, authors are theorizing that the problem may be in the bureaucracy itself. That is:

  1. Too much organization and not enough innovation
  2. Too many rules which limit creativity
  3. Organizational agenda that discounts individual contributions in favor of rigid performance rules, job descriptions, and such

Is it possible that there are good intentions at the top but that the structure of the company actually fosters rather than inhibits workplace conflict? If so, then there is an opening for new research into the topic of workplace culture that takes the top leadership into account but seeks a more sophisticated approach to causality and interventions.

I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years.  My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts.  You can contact me here.

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