Conflicts & Conflict Prevention

Do you need conflict support or would you like to be trained in conflict management?

​Problems and conflicts can arise in any work environment. It is important to address these situations and resolve them in a sustainable way. In a conflict situation, it is helpful and important to seek support early on so that the conflict does not escalate. The Max Planck Society offers support options for resolving conflicts and for individual further training in conflict management, with the aim of creating successful cooperation through collegial behaviour.

Conflict prevention at the MPI

  1. Communicate shared values and establish processes for conflict resolution
  2. Make contact persons visible and provide psychosocial counselling services
  3. Obtain feedback regularly
  4. Conduct training on conflict management, discrimination, unconscious bias. Offers for leaders include the MP Leaders Programme and (executive) coaching.

1. Values of the MPG and (model) works agreements of Institutes

The values of the MPG are laid down in the Code of Conduct. These form the framework for our dealings with each other. If applicable, your institute or facility may also have a local works agreement or other regulation on social interaction or collegial behaviour. A model works agreement on collegial behaviour, which can be adapted to the respective institute, is available on the MAX intranet. This model agreement is based on examples at MPIs that have had good experiences with similar structures (conflict guides).

2. Contact and counselling points

An overview of central contact, counselling and reporting points can be found here and on the web or intranet site of the respective institute. If employees or scholarship holders of the MPG would like support in dealing with professional or personal problems and issues that affect their well-being at work, an immediate counselling service EMAP is available to them via pme: by telephone, online or in person. This counselling service is free of charge for employees and scholarship holders.

Advice on discrimination, sexism and violence is available here and here on diversity.

If disputes that are not in the area of scientific misconduct cannot be settled at the Institute, employees are entitled to request a mediation procedure.

If employees have questions or concerns about a conflict of interest (in their person or with third parties), they can contact the central Risk Management and Compliance Officer, Mr Sven Friese: . A conflict of interest exists when the interests of the Max Planck Society collide with private interests and thereby give rise to the appearance of bias.

If employees wish to report misconduct in the non-scientific area, please contact the reporting points. For conflicts and misconduct in the scientific area and for questions about the rules of good scientific practice, the ombudspersons at the respective institute are available. More information can be found here.

3. Obtain feedback through annual staff interviews and regular staff surveys.

MPG leaders are recommended to have regular (annual) conversations to identify conflicts as early as possible and address them. From the MPG-wide staff survey conducted in 2019, we know that people who attest good leadership qualities to their superiors tend to:

  • report misconduct to their immediate superiors,
  • rate the group atmosphere well,
  • praise their institute to friends,
  • have had an annual staff interview.

Leaders and staff can find more information and advice on the MAX intranet .

Following the MPG-wide survey in 2019, the MPG bodies recommended conducting regular institute-specific, local surveys. The voluntary and anonymous surveys relate to the area of work and leadership culture. The survey can be combined with a psychological risk assessment (= 1 survey with 2 parts). More information on the working culture surveys can be found on the MAX intranet .

4. Training opportunities / conflict management

Several bilingual e-learnings are available to MPG staff for further training in dealing with conflicts. The e-learnings as well as learning material and instructions for the Learning Management System LMS can be found on the MAX intranet . Here, further offers of the Planck Academy on the topic of conflict management as well as especially for leaders are available in the training centre of the LMS.

Go to Editor View