DEFINITION of 'Gridlock'

A government, business or institution's inability to function at a normal level due either to complex or conflicting procedures within the administrative framework or to impending change in the business.


In business as in traffic, little to nothing gets done when gridlock happens. This can be highly problematic and costly for a company or industry. For example, gridlock can occur if there is infighting within a company, with two groups competing to gain control of the company. This infighting can effectively create a situation in which business transactions cannot be completed until the problem is solved.

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