Workplace conflicts are a necessary evil. But to move past conflict, we need to understand what they are and what causes them. The cause can range from something minute to something grand. All in all, it is expedient to identify them. Here are some causes of workplace conflict; you might have experienced one already. 

7 Causes of Workplace Conflict 

Poor communication

When an employee continuously passes information the wrong way, it can rub off on the team badly. Imagine an individual who never delivers information on time, and when he does, it’s never accurate. As a result of his incompetence, the team doesn’t carry out their activities effectively. It would not be long before team members start to resent the individual, leading to conflict in the office. 

Double mouthed colleagues 

Some people say one thing to you and say something else when you are not there. Often they are armed with the latest gossip and are ready to talk about anybody with you. Be careful of this type of people, because they would twist your words to sound interesting to the next person. This is a recipe for disaster, and you do not want to have any part in it. But these people always steer office conflict. 



There is always that one person who wants to outdo everyone in the office. It’s either to prove something to themselves or to secure a promotion. Regardless of their intentions, they always come off as rude and aggressive to other employees, building resentment. It only takes one action of theirs to put someone off, and then there is a full-blown conflict at work. 

Office affair 

People who have affairs often end up in conflicts in the office. Either from regular relationship dramas or a sour breakup. It is advisable to keep romance out of the office, but if this isn’t a policy, it is bound to happen. Also, if one person mistreated the other person, friends might rally around her, which might lead to conflict too.   

Inefficient colleagues 

Another cause of workplace conflict can be ineffective colleagues. These are people who do not put in the necessary work to get things done. They are more annoying when you have to work together as a team. If their constant ineffectiveness keeps rubbing off on colleagues, they can one day lash out. 

Taking food from the fridge 

This is not common, but it happens. Some employees get too comfortable with others and start picking their meals from the fridge. This might be overlooked the first time, but when it happens repeatedly, it’s only a matter of time before they start to complain. It’s worse when you cannot pinpoint who took the meal, and everyone starts suspecting one another. 

Not cleaning up after yourself 

Some co-workers can be very messy, and they leave their things all over the place. You can only correct them for so long before they become a pain in the back. Or they mess up the area of lunch. These little things accumulate and tend to cause underlying problems with colleagues. 


Conflicts should be handled immediately, and the causes of workplace conflict should be tackled without delay. Refusal to do so would only lead to accumulated grievances, and that is not healthy for coworkers.