Interpersonal conflicts are a major source of work-related stress.
There are two common types: task-related conflicts (disagreement over work issues) and relational conflicts (interpersonal tensions).
Previous research has concluded that both types of conflict can increase job stress and negatively impact collaboration.
However, a recent study published in the journal Applied-Experimental Psychology presents a different perspective.
This study primarily explored the relationship between task-related ambivalence and job stress.
The researchers divided task-related conflicts into two categories – milder expressions of conflict (e.g., debates) and more intense expressions of conflict (e.g., arguments).
Experiments and questionnaires with working adults have shown that gentler expressions of ambivalence provide opportunities to articulate information and perspectives that
It reduces uncertainty that threatens personal goals and increases people’s openness thereby promoting cooperation and reducing work stress.
More intense expressions, on the contrary, often involve self-interest and make both parties feel threatened by others.
It can lead to increased assertiveness and attacks on others’ positions, resulting in increased stress at work.
This finding can be applied to the construction of an open culture in companies, where the task of making decisions is transformed into a gentle way of expressing differences, such as debates.
It may help people to cooperate more effectively and improve business performance.