The Cost of Conflict in the Workplace

Did You Know:

  • 30%-40% of supervisors’ and managers’ daily activities are devoted to dealing with conflicts in the workplace
  • $700,000 is the average jury award in wrongful termination lawsuits
  • 80,000 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discrimination charges are filed annually
  • $162,000 is the average cost of litigating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim
  • $58,000 is the average amount paid on a sexual harassment complaint
  • 55% of employment claims result in money awards to employees
  • $2.7 million is the average amount of punitive damages awarded in employment cases

Conflict in the workplace can result in:

  • Poor morale, absenteeism, attrition
  • Wasted, nonproductive time
  • Poor decision making
  • Angry, resistant employees, feuding groups, “we vs. they” attitude
  • Poor communication
  • Unfair treatment, discrimination, harassment
  • Stress-related medical conditions
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Complaints and grievances
  • Theft, sabotage, violence, lawsuits,

How much is conflict costing your company right now?

A large New England hospital decided to determine what conflict cost it in one year (2001). It hired outside analysts to do this work, looking at everything from length of unresolved conflict, wasted time and energy, reduced decision-making quality, loss of skilled employees, sabotage, restructuring, lowered job motivation, lost work time and health costs.

In one conflict alone involving a doctor and 2 nurses the cost to the hospital was $60,916.77. This was around the average cost of each conflict at the hospital. And the hospital had over 200 conflicts in that year for a staggering conflict cost of $12,183,200.

Answer the following questions:

  1. Looking back over the past 6 months, how much time each week, on average, did you spend dealing with conflict?__________hours/week
  2. What is your rate of pay per hour? $__________
  3. Multiply your answer in #1 x your answer in #2 =__________/week
  4. Multiply your answer in #3 x the number of weeks you work each year = $_________. This is about ¼ of the cost of conflict for you in the workplace. The other hidden costs – noted above – account for the remaining costs of conflict.