Conflict Within the Work Environment

The CCTF recommends that supervisors and chairs (as well as faculty and staff) could benefit from trainings or workshops on workplace bullying, hostile work environments and interpersonal conflict. Trainings in identifying microaggressions or hostility in oneself and others could raise awareness and prevent some disputes within departments. These trainings could create/develop ways to resolve conflict stemming from microaggressions. Additionally, trainings or workshops could be provided on how to reframe certain types of conflict or disagreements from being perceived as volatile to being a foundation for healthy debate and a place for growth.

Michigan State University attracts a variety of people, and therefore the CCTF suggests that extra care and consideration be put toward bringing people from all backgrounds into an equitable working environment. Occasional conflicts between staff or faculty members are inevitable in a working environment, but when cultural differences are added, there can be greater misunderstanding as cultural norms may be crossed. The CCTF suggests that a conflict resolution model be considered that would encourage and train mediators to ask questions and offer advice to help each party understand the other’s values, as well as the deeper offenses caused by unmet cultural expectations. Encouraging someone to see how their actions may look different to someone with a different cultural lens could bring better understanding to coworkers and allow them to avoid future grievances.

Finally, CAL should make room for self-care and/or coping mechanisms during or after disagreements and conflicts that are not resolved. CCTF members have experienced situations where resolution seems impossible and attempts for resolution may actually make things worse.Toolkits for unresolved conflict should be provided; partnership with campus and local experts is desired.

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