Conflict Management Styles

Similarities in conflict management

Conflict refers to a perceived difference in interest, whereby one party (individual; or group) believes that if the other pursues its interest in the current context, then it will be disadvantaged. It arises when social entities, which may be individuals, groups, or organizations, interact as they seek to attain their objectives (Rahim, 2010). Conflict management in work relationships has differences and similarities with that in a non-work relationship- the example here is an intimate relationship with someone you work with.

The first similarity is that both are intended to end in a mutual agreement. In both situations, the parties need each other to achieve their objective. For instance, where one disagrees with a colleague at work who doubles as the girlfriend. They both need each other as employees to complete their tasks; therefore, they will strive to attain a mutual agreement. When the two disagree at home, they will seek common ground as they desire to see the relationship move on smoothly. As a result, in both relationships, they are likely to use the compromising style to solve their conflict (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2007).

The second similarity is that the position of each party in the relationship will determine how the conflict will be determined and solved. Roles are used to establishing who has crossed the line. Hence he/she is required to retreat or to define who stands to win and who will lose. For instance, in organizational conflict, when the conflict is vertical- between a junior and his superior, the leader tends to use a forceful style to assert his authority. On the other hand, in a non-work relationship, the domineering partner tends to use his influence or forceful style to win. When both are equal partners, then the cooperative style is used (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2007)

Differences in conflict management

One difference is that in work relationships, conflicts are mostly resolved using laid down procedures which are rigid and must be adhered to. In a non-work relationship, there are no laid down procedures, and if they are set, the parties may sometimes not adhere to them when resolving conflicts. The second difference is that conflicts in work relationships are likely to involve third parties in solving because rules are set by the management.

Therefore, involving a mediator might one of the requirements. As a result, such conflicts have a high chance of being resolved using the forceful style. In non-work relationships, the parties only involve third parties when they fail to agree. In addition, the third party is chosen by agreement. The parties are likely to use a cooperative style in their conflict resolution (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2007)

My conflict resolution styles and its effects

My conflict resolution style is a collaborating style because I believe that conflict cannot be avoided and, if handled appropriately, can lead to a more creative solution. I also believe that both parties will only be committed to a solution if what is resolved at the end of the conflict is satisfactory to both of them. My conflict style has led to favorable evaluation with most people who see it as a way of achieving fairness. However, in some circumstances, it has been criticized, for example, when one of my friends has wronged the other party and is clearly evident from the facts. Although my friend expects me to join him as a friend, in using forcing style to winning, I always disappoint them when I go for an agreeable solution for both parties (Fenn & Gameson, 1992).


Fenn, P. and Gameson, R., (1992). Construction Conflict Management and Resolution. London: Taylor & Francis.

Hellriegel, D. and Slocum, J. W., (2007). Organizational behavior. Cengage Learning.

Rahim, M. F., (2010). Managing Conflict in Organizations. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

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