Successfully Navigating Internal Conflict 

Internal conflict is hard on everyone and should be addressed quickly at the first sign of even a weak signal that there are problems. Resolving it requires careful analysis to get to the root of the problem and then a thoughtful, often multi-tiered approach. Below you will find a list of ways that other companies have resolved internal conflict as well as companies who have successfully navigated to a more collaborative environment.  

Examples of Internal Company Conflict & Methods to Resolution 

Ford Motor Company  


  • In the early 2000s, Ford was facing a number of challenges, including declining sales, quality issues, and high-cost structure. 


  • In 2006, Alan Mulally was brought in as CEO to turn the company around. One of the first things  

Mulally did was to address the culture of infighting and blame that had taken hold at Ford.  

  • He instituted a weekly meeting of all of the company's top executives, where they were required to share information openly and honestly. This helped to break down silos and create a more collaborative environment.  
  • Mulally also made it a priority to listen to employees at all levels of the company.  
  • He held regular town hall meetings and encouraged employees to share their ideas and concerns. This helped to build trust and create a more positive working environment. 

Strategic Leadership Development:   

  • Ford Motor Company has used leadership development to resolve internal conflict through its Leadership Development Program for Managers and Executives. This program includes training on topics such as conflict management, communication, and team building. Ford has found that this training has helped its leaders to better understand and resolve conflict, which has led to a more positive and productive work environment. 
  • Another example of how Ford has used leadership development to resolve internal conflict is through its cross-functional collaboration initiatives. These initiatives bring together leaders from different departments to work on common projects and goals. This collaboration has helped to break down silos and improve communication and understanding between different departments. 
  • As a result of its investment in leadership development, Ford has been able to reduce internal conflict and create a more positive and productive work environment. This has led to improved employee morale, increased productivity, and reduced costs. 
  • Ford was able to successfully turnaround its business and become one of the world's leading automakers again. 



  • In 2014, Google faced a major internal conflict between its engineers and its sales team. The engineers felt that the sales team was too aggressive and was putting pressure on them to release products that were not ready. The sales team felt that the engineers were too slow and were not delivering the products that customers wanted. 


  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai created a new product development process that gave both teams more input and control. 

Strategic Leadership Development:   

  • Google used leadership development programs to improve communication and collaboration between its engineering and sales teams.  
  • The company has also used leadership development programs to help its managers and executives better understand the different perspectives of their employees. 



  • In the early 2000s, Microsoft faced internal conflict between its Windows and Office teams. The Windows team felt that the Office team was not innovating enough, and the Office team felt that the Windows team was not paying enough attention to customer needs. 


  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was able to resolve the conflict by creating a new product development process that focused on cross-functional collaboration. 

Strategic Leadership Development: 

  • Microsoft has also used leadership development programs to improve alignment between its product and marketing teams as well as using them to help its high-potential employees develop the skills they need to become more effective leaders. 



  • In 2015, Amazon faced internal conflict between its customer service and fulfillment teams. The customer service team felt that the fulfillment team was not meeting customer expectations, while the fulfillment team felt that the customer service team was not understanding their constraints.


  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was able to resolve the conflict by creating a new performance management system that rewarded employees for working together to improve the customer experience. 

Strategic Leadership Development: 

  • Amazon has used leadership development programs to improve customer satisfaction and reduce operational costs. The company has also used leadership development programs to help all of its employees develop the skills they need to be more effective leaders. 

Summary of How Organizations Have Resolved Internal Conflict 

  • Training managers and executives in conflict management and communication skills. 
  • Creating opportunities for leaders from different departments to collaborate on projects and initiatives. 
  • Improving communication and understanding between different departments. 
  • Reducing internal conflict and creating a more positive and productive work environment. 
  • Strategic Leadership Development Programs: In addition to these specific examples, many other companies have used strategic leadership development to resolve internal conflict. For example, a study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies that invest in leadership development programs are more likely to have a positive and productive work culture. Here are some specific examples of leadership development programs that companies have used to resolve internal conflict: 
  • 360-degree feedback programs: These programs allow employees to give and receive feedback from their peers, managers, and customers. This feedback can help employees to identify and address any areas where they may be contributing to conflict. 
  • Mediation training: This training teaches employees how to mediate conflicts between themselves and their colleagues. Mediation can be a remarkably effective way to resolve conflicts peacefully and constructively. 
  • Conflict management workshops: These workshops teach employees how to identify, understand, and resolve conflict. They can also help employees to develop the communication and problem-solving skills they need to resolve conflict effectively. 

Using Strategic Development to Resolve Internal Conflict  

If you are interested in using strategic leadership development to resolve internal conflict in your organization, there are a few things you can do: 

  • Identify the sources of conflict in your organization. Once you know what is causing conflict, you can develop targeted leadership development programs to address those issues. 
  • Choose the right leadership development programs for your organization. There are many different leadership development programs available, so it is important to choose ones that are tailored to the specific needs of your organization. 
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your leadership development programs. It is important to track the progress of your leadership development programs and measure their impact on conflict resolution. This will help you to identify what is working well and what needs to be improved. 

By investing in strategic leadership development, you can help to create a more positive and productive work culture for your employees. 


About EDA, Inc.  

EDA, Inc., a world-class human capital tech and services firm that is committed to equipping leaders to create compelling, high-performance cultures that last through cutting edge technology, EDACulture Suite™ that makes culture visible in real-time and through executive development products, services, and research.  

EDA’s Services include: 

  • C-Suite & Executive Coaching, 
  • Custom Executive Development, 
  • Succession Planning, 
  • Assessment & Selection Services, and 
  • High-Potential Development. 

EDA’s Products Include: 

  • Leadership Books 
  • Culture 20/20®, a culture survey designed with CEO input to capture culture in the 12 core categories that CEOs say they want their fingertips on. 
  • Leadership Effectiveness Survey® Series, multiple 360-degree degree surveys designed to capture the perceptions of your leaders in the most needed core competencies. 
  • T.E.A.M Effectiveness Survey. An assessment designed to capture a team’s strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Return-on-Investment Assessment, a survey designed to capture the perceptions of a few close colleagues on a few key competencies that the leader is working to learn. This assessment measures progress over time. 

EDA’s Research Includes: 

  • Trends in Executive Development 

It is our pleasure and passion to help organizational leaders create conducive workforce environments so that they can attract, retain, and develop top talent and advance their mission, achieve their vision, and execute their strategy. 



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