From Pollack Peacebuilding by Jeremy Pollack
Süklün H. (2019), A case study: do misconceptions lead to intergroup conflicts at workplaces?, BMIJ, (2019), 7(1): 42-57 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15295/bmij.v7i1.1040
Background & Theory
This article explores the idea that misconceptions are in fact a cause of conflicts. It is widely accepted that misconceptions are a root cause of conflicts, but it has not been thoroughly explored.
The author explores the following questions in the study:
Do misconceptions contribute to or cause conflicts?
Specifically for the case study, the leading question is: “is there any misconception between the sections?”
The author conducts two case studies in order to answer his research questions. He took a specific government office that was divided between four divisions and evaluated one in-group and three out-groups to determine if any of the current conflicts existed due to misconceptions. He first gathered input from those in the in-group about their perceptions of existing conflicts and then asked questions to the out-groups that would find answers to see if any true misconceptions existed.
The results showed that out of 16 statements, 6 of them were in fact misconceptions, which did contribute to causing conflicts. The author’s recommendations are to have leadership take a more active role in uniting the divisions to drive away any “we vs. them” mentalities, improve organizational culture, and address conflicts and employees’ well-being. The author also recommends further studies to explore this area of research.
What This Means
Misconceptions can certainly be a cause of conflicts and can contribute to worsening already existing conflicts.
Organizations, specifically leadership, have a duty to resolve conflicts within the workplace and improve the organization’s overall work environment and efficiency.
For consultants: Evaluate what misconceptions might exist amongst your disputants and do what you can to reveal the truth in a way that puts peacebuilding at the forefront. When dealing with workplace conflict, encourage leadership to quickly address conflict and to work on uniting the groups that might exist within the conflict(s).
For everyone: Try to understand the truths of the conflicts you are involved in, regardless of who the conflict is with. Misconceptions are easily spread and accepted, but the truth can often lead to an end to the conflict.
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