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Why are we triggered?

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Michaela Woodson

The 5 triggers

Triggers over roles, goals, policies, and prodcudrues happen when there are changes to policies, procedures, and expectations. You may find yourself asking "how does this affect me??".

Why do triggers happen?

That's not my problem!

  • Triggers over roles, goals, policies, and procedures
  • Triggers over information
  • Triggers over relationships
  • Triggers over values
  • Triggers over structures

What are the 5 triggers?





HEY!! I don't like that!

Triggers over information happen when individuals feel as if they don't have enough information, are misinformed, or someone might be withholding information. How someone interprets information plays a huge role in this.

Triggers over relationships happen when individuals can't communicate effectively. Differences in culture, backgrounds, and experiences can alter someone's perception of events.

Triggers over values occur when individuals disagree on the importance of work, participation efforts, arriving on time, and management authority. How people interepret ideas or behaviors can also be a trigger.


Triggers over structures happen when an organization's expectations are not realistic or when employees don't have as much control over their work as they would like. Power imbalances cause individuals to feel powerless and disenfranchised.

Griffith, D., & Goodwin, C. (2013). Conflict survival kit: Tools for resolving conflict at work (Second). Pearson Education, Inc.

How can we come to a resolution?

First, know WHEN to respond. Which stage is the conflict in? Routine Daily Events (monitor), Evolving Conflicts (intervention), or Deeper Conflicts (confrontation stage)?

Routine daily events don't require immediate action. Parties are in a dispute but able to maintain the relationship.

Evoliving conflicts require proactive prevention and some intervention before the conflict spirals into something bigger.An interest-based approach will help all parties involved feel heard and valued.

Deeper Conflicts require immediate action. Communication is key before consequences ensue. A rights-based approach might be effective here.

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