THE IMPACT OF HIGH 
CONFLICT 
BEHAVIOURS IN THE 
WORKPLACE 
Professor Tania Sourdin 
Australian Centre for Justice Innovat...
Workplace Disputes and High Conflict Behaviour 
 More Visible Impacts – OHS, Litigation, Workers comp, bullying, RTI and ...
Significance of Behaviour" 
in the workplace – Bill Eddy (High Conflict Institute)
Behaviours 
 Some people because of their mental 
health issues will be less likely to be able 
to negotiate 
 Some peop...
What % of people exhibit HCB’s? 
“An enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates markedly from the ex...
High Conflict People 
1. Rigid, repeat failed strategies 
2. Unable to accept or heal from a loss 
3. Negative emotions do...
Flipping your lid…
Inside your brain
9 Functions of the Mid Pre-Frontal Cortex" 
 Bodily regulation 
 Emotional balance 
 Attuned Communication 
 Response ...
The role of hormones
Cycle of high conflict thinking 
1. 
MISTAKEN 
ASSESSMENT 
OF 
DANGER 
2. 
BEHAVIOUR 
that’s 
AGGRESSIVELY 
DEFENSIVE 
3. ...
High Conflict Personality Types 
 “Love you, Hate you” Personalities 
Often Angry, Sudden Mood Swings 
 “I’m Very Superi...
Strategies 
Process 
Explanation 
Summary and 
reflection 
‘EAR’ 
statements 
Preparation 
Communicate 
People 
Behavioura...
Impact of Legal Approaches 
Impact on health – Dr Genevieve 
Grant (Monash University) 
Impact on cost 
Impact on long ter...
IT IS WORTH THE TIME 
Contact – Tania.Sourdin@monash.edu
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Prof Tania Sourdin - Monash University - The Impact of High Conflict Behaviours in the Workplace

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Tania Sourdin delivered the presentation at the 2014 Safety in Action Conference Sydney.

The 2014 SIA Sydney Safety Conference at Sydney Olympic Park featured a wide range of practical case studies directly from the organisations involved with developing their health, safety and wellness protocols. Learn from their experiences and take back techniques for the enhancement of your own WHS policy.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/SIASydney14

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Prof Tania Sourdin - Monash University - The Impact of High Conflict Behaviours in the Workplace

  1. 1. THE IMPACT OF HIGH CONFLICT BEHAVIOURS IN THE WORKPLACE Professor Tania Sourdin Australian Centre for Justice Innovation (ACJI) Monash University, Melbourne
  2. 2. Workplace Disputes and High Conflict Behaviour  More Visible Impacts – OHS, Litigation, Workers comp, bullying, RTI and FOI, intervention orders  Less Visible impacts - Loss of staff, impact on productivity and innovation  Nature – direct and indirect behaviours that range from poor communication / lack of social skills to violent and threatening behaviour (including social media and other stalking)  Increasing? – Changing social structures and dynamics, mental health issues, drug and substance abuse  Increased mental stress claims? Increased impact
  3. 3. Significance of Behaviour" in the workplace – Bill Eddy (High Conflict Institute)
  4. 4. Behaviours  Some people because of their mental health issues will be less likely to be able to negotiate  Some people will need a lot of assistance – conflict coaching, careful third party interventions and support for staff % involved in dispute resolution % involved in Litigation Family Disputes 20 50
  5. 5. What % of people exhibit HCB’s? “An enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment” (DSM-IV rev manual 1994).  Estimated that 14.8% in US population (2002 Study) have Axis I or Axis II problems.  Estimated that a further 10% have maladaptive personality traits  Some DSM disorders may result in a less chance of a person taking Court action – depression, anxiety.  Cluster B personality disorders include borderline, narcissistic, antisocial and histrionic. Those with these disorders or traits may be MORE likely be involved in intense, ongoing conflicts.
  6. 6. High Conflict People 1. Rigid, repeat failed strategies 2. Unable to accept or heal from a loss 3. Negative emotions dominate thinking 4. Unable to reflect on own behavior 5. Difficulty empathising with others 6. Preoccupied with blaming others 7. Avoid responsibility for the problem or the solution
  7. 7. Flipping your lid…
  8. 8. Inside your brain
  9. 9. 9 Functions of the Mid Pre-Frontal Cortex"  Bodily regulation  Emotional balance  Attuned Communication  Response Flexibility Siegel  Insight  Fear Modulation  Intuition  Moral Awareness  Empathy
  10. 10. The role of hormones
  11. 11. Cycle of high conflict thinking 1. MISTAKEN ASSESSMENT OF DANGER 2. BEHAVIOUR that’s AGGRESSIVELY DEFENSIVE 3. NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
  12. 12. High Conflict Personality Types  “Love you, Hate you” Personalities Often Angry, Sudden Mood Swings  “I’m Very Superior” Personalities Demanding and Demeaning  “Always Dramatic” Personalities Superficial, Helpless, Exaggerates  “Con Artists” Personalities Deceptive, Manipulative, Hurtful  “I’ll Never Trust you” Personalities Fearful, Resentful, Suspicious Bill Eddy “It’s All YOUR Fault!” (2008)
  13. 13. Strategies Process Explanation Summary and reflection ‘EAR’ statements Preparation Communicate People Behavioural understandings Investigation? Analysis Clear process Skills and supports Process skills Guidelines Security and safety Policy
  14. 14. Impact of Legal Approaches Impact on health – Dr Genevieve Grant (Monash University) Impact on cost Impact on long term prognosis Impact on workplaces
  15. 15. IT IS WORTH THE TIME Contact – Tania.Sourdin@monash.edu

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