While it has often been noted that conflict is not all bad, conflict that is unchecked or unproductive stifles the best parts of our experiences in a team. It often paralyzes any team action, spills over into other areas of the business and, ultimately, is often the causal factor in the failure of many ventures.
People caught up in the conflict often cannot solve that conflict themselves simply because any actions they take are seen as part of the system that has created the conflict. Much like the much touted Einstein quote, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Employees, members, and customers often simply do not trust that the solution can come from the same processes that created it in the first place.
Yet conflict often is only the indicator of what really is happening in an organization or business. Organization react to fear of things getting worse, leaders become "gun shy" when decisions are criticized, employees become passive as initiative is not rewarded, or worse yet, punished. Communication becomes difficult. Tempers flare or people begin to disengage. What ever the "real issue" was at the beginning it now becomes a running skirmish or open warfare. People divide up based on their sense of loyalties and sense of fairness. Solutions are tried and fail. The environment becomes putrid and toxic. Those who can leave.