HR · 5 June 2017

Gossip, rumours and cliques: UK employees reveal the root of office conflicts

Office conflicts
Workers cited unfair workloads and disparity over hours as the biggest causes of office conflicts
Friendship cliques and tensions over workplace gossip have been outed among the most common causes of office conflicts in Britain, according to a new study.

In a survey of over 1, 000 full and part-time employees, by Cascade HR, gossip and rumours was cited by 31 per cent as the primary reason for conflict at work some way ahead of salary disputes between colleagues and promotions and progression, at 20 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

However, with 32 per cent, a sense of injustice over workloads and disparity in working hours was the greatest contributor to office conflicts.

The findings uncovered a surprising emphasis on personal relationships and team dynamics, rather than frustrations around career progression and salaries.

Unfair distribution of training and development opportunities was only cited by 18 per cent of respondents, while friendship groups and cliques were a major cause of office conflicts for over a quarter of workers.

Commenting on the findings, Oliver Shaw, CEO at Cascade HR, said the study revealed a significant perception of unfair treatment within UK workplaces.

what is clear from these results is that a significant number of conflicts at work are started by colleagues feeling slighted in favour of other people.

however, it’s concerning to see the number of workers who don’t feel their employer handles workplace conflict in an appropriate way, he said.

The topten office conflicts cited by UK employees

  1. Unfair workloads and disparity over work hours 32 per cent
  2. Friendship groups and cliques 27 per cent
  3. Gossip and rumours 31 per cent
  4. Preferential treatment for some staff 23 per cent
  5. Negative attitudes towards the company 22 per cent
  6. Salary and wage disputes 20 per cent
  7. Promotions and progression 21 per cent
  8. Staff arrivals and departures 19 per cent
  9. Unfair distribution of? training and development opportunities 18 per cent
  10. Extra breaks for smokers 15 per cent



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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