A culture of conflict

Dianne S. Lewis, Erica French, Peter Steane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of culture on the performance of an organization depend, not on the strength of the overall culture, but on the mix and weightings of the components of that culture. An example is the component of conflict, which may be a healthy incentive for action and competition when present in some forms and degrees, but can be damaging when it becomes the culture’s dominant feature and its existence is not acknowledged. Research theory in the management of non-profits emphasizes the need for consonance and deplores the existence of conflict; however, research shows that some community organizations do not fit the model presented in the literature and that conflict does exist in these organizations and can cripple their ability to function in goal-setting, staffing, the conduct of meetings, problem solving and decision making, the identification and utilization of individual skills, and writing submissions for government funding. Uses the example of a small, non-profit organization, which works in an environment where there is a need for unity, but where conflict between the volunteers and paid workers, and among the volunteers themselves, had become the over-riding consideration in all decision making and was paralysing the organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalLeadership & Organization Development Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Corporate culture
  • Organizational conflict
  • Organizations


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