Workplace Conflict in NGOs – Causes and Management Strategies
Keywords:Causes of Conflict; Conflict in NGOs; Conflict Management Strategies; Qualitative Methodology
Workplace conflict is thoroughly researched in the for-profit and public sectors but not in NGOs which are working in a projectfied style. The study examines the causes of workplace conflict and management strategies adopted for its management in the NGO sectors’ soft projects being executed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through a qualitative methodology by employing semi-structured interviews of the key informants utilizing purposive sampling. The data are analyzed qualitatively with the help of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) – Leximancer and causal mapping software MindManager. Several causes of workplace conflict in NGOs are identified such as autocratic management style, dispositional differences, resources scarcity and distribution issues, communication problems, intention to quit, psychological wellbeing, emotional exhaustion, induced stress, and organizational culture. However, the key finding is that these causes do not come into practice linearly as suggested by positivist studies but rather workplace conflict emerges because of the non-linear and iterative interplay of these causes means the genesis of conflict is not a linear process but a complex and interwoven process and hugely context dependent. Furthermore, three overlapping conflict management strategies are found helpful only in inter-employees’ conflicts but not much beneficial in employee-employers conflict. The study calls for mixed method studies regarding conflict emergence for developing generative mechanisms, especially in the global south. Secondly, as most of the organizational studies are conducted in the global north with exception of China, therefore, there is a dire need for the investigation of such organizational phenomena in the global south where NGOs are working extensively. Finally, workplace conflict in NGOs may be studied concerning other organizational phenomena. Managers may investigate and deal with conflict with a holistic perspective not ignoring the underlying unearthed complex interplay of different organizational phenomena.