MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., October 6, 2008 - CPP, Inc.,an
industry leader in research, training, and organizational development tools including
the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment, today
announced the results of its worldwide study on workplace conflict. According to
the report, workplace conflict is rampant throughout the business world, with U.S.
companies spending more than 2.8 hours per week which equates to approximately $359
billion in paid hours in 2008. In many cases, this has a severely crippling effect
on productivity and morale. However, the report also found that when properly managed,
conflict actually benefits organizations, leading to innovation and motivation.
The study, which polled thousands of workers in all industries from nine countries,
reveals the substantial cost of workplace conflict. According to the report, workplace
conflict is a nearly universal occurrence, with 85 percent of all workers reporting
that they deal with it. Employees on average spend 2.1 hours per week dealing with
conflict. However, this figure rises to 2.8 hours in the U.S., where roughly one
in three (33%) say that conflict has led to personal injury or attacks, while one
in five (22%) report that it has led to illness or absence from work. Additionally
ten percent of workers report project failure as a direct result of conflict.
“These figures should be a wake-up call to industry leaders,” said Jeff Hayes, CEO,
CPP, Inc. “Companies are losing billions of dollars because of poorly managed conflict,
and we expect that figure to grow in a down economy as stress and workload – two
of the biggest causes of conflict – rise.”
The study also uncovered a significant variance between managers’ appraisal of their
own ability to manage conflict and the observations of the employees under them.
Nearly one third (31%) of managers feel they’re skilled at dealing with conflict.
However, only slightly more than one fifth of employees (22%) feel that their managers
deal with conflict well.
“If acknowledgement of a problem’s existence is the first step toward solving it,
this gap between perception and reality is troubling,” said Rich Thompson, Director
of Research, CPP, Inc.
Conflict Can Benefit Organization if Managed Correctly
However, the study also shows that properly managed conflict actually benefits an
organization, the key determinant being whether it trains its managers to handle
“Conflict is a normal and essential part of the human condition that companies should
work to manage rather than eliminate,” said Thompson. “An organization without conflict
may also lack that all-important creative spark.”
In the U.S., 81 percent of workers report having seen positive outcomes from workplace
conflict. Nearly half of all surveyed (41%) said they had emerged from workplace
conflict with a better understanding of others, while around a third (33%) report
improved working relationships, and almost as many (29%) found better solutions
to problems. Around one in ten (9%) even saw a major innovation, while 21% saw higher
performance in their team.
Positive Conflict Resolution Corresponds with Specialized Training
Positive outcomes, however, are directly tied to conflict management training. Countries
with high incidence of training report high proportions of positive outcomes, while
countries in which training is less prevalent report low proportions of positive
“This research clearly shows the astounding amount of workplace debate, disagreement,
and negotiation that take place in business,” said Josh Bersin, President and CEO
of Bersin & Associates, a leading analyst firm in enterprise learning and talent
management. “If high performing business and HR leaders are to turn conflict into
positive business change, they must take the time to coach and train their employees
to effectively deal with differences of opinion, style, and points of view.”
To read the complete report, visit www.cpp.com/ConflictReport
About CPP, Inc.
Since its founding in 1956, CPP, Inc., has been a leading publisher and provider
of innovative products and services for individual and organizational development,
supplying reliable training solutions to businesses of all sizes, including the
Fortune 500. The company’s hundreds of offerings have been used by millions of individuals
in more than 100 countries, in more than 20 languages, to help people and organizations
grow and develop by improving performance and increasing understanding. Among CPP’s
world-renowned brands and services are CPP Professional Services; the Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator® (MBTI®), Strong Interest Inventory®,
Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), FIRO-B®, and CPI 260®
assessments; and Davies-Black® Publishing.