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Informal Conflict Resolution

The University of Cincinnati promotes a positive approach to resolving problems in the workplace through both informal and formal conflict management. 

Consultative services are offered to managers, supervisors, and non-represented employees on a variety of issues that impact the workplace. When individuals work together, they may have different goals and work styles. Because of this, conflict can result. If the conflict is handled effectively, a potentialy destructive force can be turned into an opportunity for creativity and greater productivity. 


Examples of Conflict Situations

Conflict can arise out of many different workplace situations:

  • Misunderstandings or lack of information
  • Changes in the workplace
  • Actions taken by a supervisor
  • Evaluation of work performance
  • Personal situations that affect work performance

*Union represented employees, please follow the guidelines detailed in your individual contract. Contact Labor Relations if you need assistance in locating your Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Informal Conflict Resolution

Informal conflict resolution can be initiated at an early stage, in an open manner, by the supervisor or employee, or can be offered as a facilitative approach by Human Resources.

Contact the Chief Human Resources Officer for informal conflict resolution consultation and/or for resources. 

  • Tamie Grunow, Sr. Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer: 513-556-6381

The Office of the University Ombuds are also available to assist with conflict resolution.

  • Kim Fulbright, Interim University Ombuds: 513-556-5956

Formal Conflict Resolution

If a conflict cannot be resolved informally, or if an employee chooses not to resolve it informally, the employee may follow HR policy for grievance procedure in 17.01 Complaint Resolution. Steps in formal conflict/dispute resolution may include a fact-finding investigation and a hearing or arbitration. This is facilitated by Labor Relations.

Conflict Resolution Guidelines

When people work together, conflict is often unavoidable because of differences in work goals and personal styles. These guidelines can assit you in effectively managing conflict in the workplace. 

Conflict Resolution Guidelines

Difficult People

At some point in your career you may encounter an individual whom you perceive to be difficult. In an effort to remain professional and resolve a potential conflict, try these tips.


Be Honest and Direct

  • State your concern from your perspective
  • "I have a hard time concentrating when..."
  • "It's hard for me to be positiive when..."

Listen Carefully

  • Listen to what the other person is saying
  • Avoid interruptions
  • Confirm your understanding when the speaker is finished

Avoid Blame

  • Focus on facts. Finding fault can prevent problem-solving

Stay Focused

  • Discuss the specific situation, avoid generalizing
  • Avoid getting sidetracked into discussing other issues
  • Keep bringing the conversation back to the concern you've stated

Say Less

  • After you state the problem, allow silence until the other person responds

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Our Employee Assistance Program partner, Impact Solutions, offers conflict resolution and counseling services on top of the services offered by UC Central HR. Visit our Impact Solutions Portal for more information.