Lisa Cullen (2008) coined the word – “collenemy.” She arrived at it by blending “colleague” with “enemy.” This morphological use of linguistics surfaced as she vented over workplace conflict. In her article, she references a University of North Carolina study that surveyed over 1,400 workers. The results showed over half experienced lost-time due to workplace conflicts, a third acknowledged a loss of commitment toward employers due to the conflict, and over one fifth said their productivity had been negatively affected as a result.
Howard Guttman (2009) picked up where Cullen (2008) left off and offered some fascinating insights aimed at solutions. He states:
“conflict management is a core competency for HR professionals” (Guttman, 2009).
He suggests that teams exist in one of four stages as it relates to conflict:
(1) The testing stage – the getting to know each other period where conflict is buried beneath the surface. (2) The infighting stage – when conflict surfaces and personalizes. (3) The getting organized stage – when a consultant institutes effective conflict management techniques that begin to separate people from issues, and (4) The high-performance stage – when teams learn to utilize conflict as an opportunity for creativity.
Guttman goes on to say, “It’s a rare team that can accelerate to Stage 3 without outside intervention” (Guttman, 2009, p. 34). Stage 3 is the point where consultants earn their wings. It is the point where skills are applied to maximize productivity while, at the same time, reducing dysfunction.
Cullen, L. (2008, 2 8). Time Business. Retrieved 5 9, 2018, from Time Magazine: http://business.time.com/2008/02/08/never_mind_office_romance_fear/
Guttman, H. M. (2009). Conflict management as a core competency for HR professionals. People and Strategy, 1 (32), 32-39.