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Brockman, J L (2014) Interpersonal Conflict in Construction: Cost, Cause, and Consequence. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 140(02).
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: Conflict; Construction costs; Productivity; Personnel management; Conflict management; Cost in construction; Construction productivity; Organizational issues;
- ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000805
Interpersonal conflict on the job is identified as one of the top occupational job stressors, strongly linked to a reduction in worker psychological and physical health. In addition, interpersonal conflict has been identified as a determinant of work disability, occupational accidents, and other costs related to reduced quality, loss of skilled employees, restructuring inefficiencies, decreased motivation and productivity, absenteeism, and employee turnover. For the construction industry, studies suggest that construction owners and contractors ranked conflict among construction project participants as the highest factor affecting project cost. It is astonishing, in light of this fact, that no research studies exist which attempt to expose the unmistakable financial cost of day-to-day conflict in the construction industry among project participants at the supervisory and trades level. Therefore, the research question being explored is: What are the triggers and consequences of interpersonal conflict on a construction site and at what financial cost? Using the critical-incident technique, a qualitative research method, 74 construction industry personnel were individually interviewed using a protocol designed to elicit one or more conflict incidents recalled by the interviewee. All interviews were audio taped, transcribed, and analyzed using Nvivo 9 qualitative software. Forty-one of the 86 reported incidents underwent an additional analysis using the time reported and associated labor costs. Based on the key findings, it is recommended that educational opportunities and innovative changes to the construction process could reduce/prevent the incidence of interpersonal conflict on the construction jobsite.