Conflict Communication

Conflict communication is the expression of real or perceived incompatibilities in goals, resources, or expectations between interdependent parties, which means that conflict in workplace relationships is essentially unavoidable. In fact, attempting to avoid conflict typically leads to conflict escalation and missed opportunities. In contrast, interpersonal and organizational research in conflict communication demonstrate that constructively-engaged communication conflict can yield creative problem-solving and improve organizational flourishing, generate new knowledge for problem-solving, and enhance commitment to the relationship and the organization.

Though perhaps well-intentioned, communication that minimizes or avoids conflict is often detrimental for the working relationship, the organization, and the success of future problem-solving. Conflict is not inherently destructive, but a lack of skills surrounding constructive conflict communication contributes significantly to destructive conflict experiences for people and organizations. While conflict can be uncomfortable sometimes, research demonstrates that engaging in small, skillful, frequent constructive conflict communication often decreases the frequency and scale of damaging, destructive conflict.

Vocable Communications has diffused three principles for conflict communication in the workplace, with associated communication behaviors:

  1. Share power and align goals
  2. Affirm the relationship and values
  3. Recognize and improvise around tensions

Together, these principles and their attendant behaviors can equip coworkers to more effectively engage in conflict that will result in constructive, organizationally-beneficial communication.


For more information on our conflict communication services, email us at