Boss or Ref? Managers Waste Time on Employee Disputes

March 15, 2011 ( - A new survey finds managers are spending unnecessary time resolving conflicts between coworkers.

Managers interviewed by Accountemps said they spend, on average, 18% of their time — more than seven hours a week or nine weeks per year — intervening in employee disputes. Accountemps said studies from as far back as 1991 show similar results.  

“Although staff management is part of the job for supervisors, too much time spent handling disputes gets in the way of business priorities and often signals a larger issue needs to be addressed,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, in a press release. “For example, being chronically short-staffed can cause friction among employees, as can an overly competitive work environment.”  

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.