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Management of conflict is defined as the process whereby an individual tries to reduce the aspects related to conflict. Conflict management is significant in improving the learning experience of a person especially in a particular organization (homeowork prospect) Thomas and Kilmann (1977) identified the five styles of conflict management namely avoidance, compromise, accommodation, collaboration and competition. The paper aims at discussing the conflict management styles in detail while highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. Conflict that is managed properly in an organization beneficial as it promotes a good working environment.
Types of conflict management styles
The five conflict management styles are outlined in the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. The model depends on two dimensions: cooperativeness and assertive. The conflict management styles include the following:
This involves an individual avoiding a problem or issue. The person involved does not address the conflict directly. This may lead to a temporary or permanent solution depending on the circumstances. Unlike the other management styles, avoidance entails determining the situation surrounding the issue and thereafter determining whether or not this style will be effective. It is normally effective when it is employed as a temporary solution. This gives room for one to come up with more information thus making it possible to choose the appropriate decision. However, certain conflicts must be faced to avoid future problems.
This occurs when an individual involves in high-degree cooperation at their expense. The party in conflict normally addresses the other party’s concerns while foregoing their own. It is mostly used in situations that require faster solutions. Also, it is effective when one of the parties has more concerns about the outcomes. This conflict management style is normally suitable for some situations especially when a perspective that is valuable is granted. However, a party that often gives in is perceived to be weak
Collaboration normally indicates that the parties involved are on the same side. Therefore, their main objective is to win. The parties never give up their desires so that they may ensure a consensus is obtained. Collaboration requires the parties involved to be committed towards solving the conflict. Responsibilities are also equally shared to improve the results of the management style. Collaboration is normally used in a situation that requires the parties to maintain a good relationship. The levels of trust are normally high in environments where collaboration is used in managing conflict. The main disadvantage of collaboration as a management style is that it consumes time and effort.
This technique is normally considered as more adversarial. Competing occurs when an individual comes up with ideas with the aim of overriding the other party involved. It is advantageous when one individual considers their own goals bring more significant that their individual relationships. However, its main disadvantage is that it may ignite more problems if not handled appropriately. This is because the resolution made is normally quick. This management style is also controversial in some situations especially when there is no proper competition method. When an immediate resolution is required, and no other management style is effective, competition is chosen. Moreover it is one-sided especially when one party’s solution is forwarded without considering other parties. This management style is normally incorporated in cases like violence or threatening circumstances. Eventually, competition may disrupt the relationship of the parties that are in conflict. Also, it never guarantees a solution that is satisfactory for one party and this further damages the existing relationship.
Compromise as a conflict management style works towards satisfying the parties involved. This strategy ensures there is equality because the parties must ensure they come to an agreement that works for both. On e of the main advantage of the management style is that it leads to a quicker resolution tp the problem. Moreover, each party is able to benefit without being left out. However, this strategy may not always breed the best solution. In a temporary situation, compromise may not always satisfy the parties involved because it may not necessarily work out the problem. The conflict may arise afterwards and it may lead to lack of trust in the parties involved.
According to Wilson (2004), conflict brings about transformation and growth and it emerges from different sources. In order to effectively manage conflicts, it is important to identify the potential causes of conflict. In most organizations, conflicts arise depending on how the company runs its operations. It may also result from the distribution of the workload. First and foremost, people may conflict due to different goals thus lack a common consensus. Secondly, individual conflicts are considered to lead to conflicts since an individual may find it difficult to interact with others in the organization. Furthermore, resources that are scarce may lead to conflict. Another common source of conflict arises when individuals employ different conflict management styles. The challenge is normally during communication in the organization.
The conflict management style that I find effective is collaboration. Many experts promote collaboration as the best strategy to resolving conflicts. Through cooperation and teamwork in my organization, it is possible to have long-term relationships. Collaboration involves parties working through their differences thus the concerns are satisfied. Strategies of communication have been linked to the conflict management styles. Many disagreements may arise from lack of exchange of information.
There exists an interrelationship between conflict avoidance and conflict management. First of all, they both present major differences. The common aim of both is to attain a similar objective of finding solutions of problems before they become serious. Both ensure that the parties involved develop and comprehend their needs through anticipating or directly intervening. Conflict avoidance is when arguments are diffused.
Conflicts are considered to part of life and they occur in various situations due to differences. In most organizations, conflicts may arise when individuals or parties have incompatible goals or interests thus leading to disagreements. Conflict management therefore enables control and resolution of conflicts in an appropriate manner. Conflict management styles include collaboration, avoidance, compromise, competition and accommodation. Existing conflicts normally help in stimulations communication within the organizations. It also helps employees to express their emotion thus reducing stress and tension. Therefore, it is important for managers to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages involved with each conflict management style. This may have a huge impact in the success and productivity of the company. It may also affect the performance of individuals thus employing an appropriate conflict management strategy will determine their motivation towards work.
Craig, G. (2010). Understanding Human Development. Boston: Prentice Hall.
Kadir, A. (2011). Five Conflict Management Styles at A Glance. Sources of Insight.
Kilmann, R., & Thomas, K. W. (1977). Developing a Forced-Choice Measure of Conflict-Handling Behavior: The “MODE” Instrument. Educational and Psychological Measurement , 309.
Wilson, J. (2004). Make conflict management successful-if not cheerful. Accounting Today , 18 (19), 22-27.