Remain calm and keep responses under
control and emotions in check. Calmness
will set the tone for the parties involved.
Never stop improving communication and problem-solving
skills. Using this style of conflict resolution builds a foundation for effective collaboration in the future, leads to a
win-win outcome and usually solves the actual problem.
Actively listen and focus attention on the speaker. Try to understand, interpret, and evaluate what’s
being said. The ability to listen actively
can improve interpersonal
reduce conflicts, foster understanding, and improve cooperation.
Be proactive to address the issue of concern at an early stage. Avoiding the conflict may cause frustration
and escalate the problem.
In addition to the styles presented, other
skills and considerations should be considered in managing conflicts. Recognition of conflict is one of the most
critical elements to success. What happens at the beginning of a
disagreement is disproportionately important to the eventual outcome. Recognizing the
early warning signs of conflict is the first step toward resolution. Pay
body language and be cognizant of the moods of the staff.
An example of how these variables impact the
best style would be if time is limited and one party has enough power to impose
their will, dominating is more appropriate. Or if there is a conflict
over an unimportant issue, using an obliging style is a quick way to resolve the
conflict without straining the parties’ relationship.
As stated previously integrating
style will not work in all situations of conflict resolution and there a few key variables to consider in
determining which conflict management strategies are likely to be
effective. One of the most important variable is time pressure. If there were
never any time pressures, collaboration might always be the best approach to
use. In addition to time pressures, some of the most important factors to
consider are issue importance, relationship importance, and relative power.
a conflict meets the criteria described, the problem solving can proceed in a
four-stage process: Identifying the problem, generating alternative strategies,
selecting and implementing a solution, and evaluating
consequences. The first step involves detailing what is the
conflict, and understanding the problem by identifying both sides interests,
goals, reasons, options, etc. The next step is to brainstorm for
alternative solutions to the problem. Techniques such as idea checklists
or What If questions are useful tools. The third step is to evaluate the
alternatives and decide on a solution. Individual decisions can be
brought together to reach a group decision. During this step, each side
must understand and protect against the different factors and biases that can
undermine the decision making. Finally, the parties must commit to their
decision. (Weitzman & Weitzman, 2000)
Before trying to solve conflicts using the
problem-solving technique, there are a few criteria that must be in place to be
successful. First the method requires
all parties to commit to look for a mutually acceptable solution. Secondly, it may require more effort and more
time than some other methods and a win-win solution may not be evident. Due to this time, the third item to consider
is problem solving may not be practical when timing is crucial and a quick
solution or fast response is required. The
last object to consider is once one or more parties lose their trust in an
opponent, the relationship will fall back to other methods of conflict
resolution. Therefore, all involved
parties must continue collaborative efforts to maintain this style of
Past studies have shown supervisors who
have used an integrating style achieved more behavioral compliance, less likely
to experience persistent conflict at work and have less disputes (Rahim &
There are many advantages to using an integrating strategy to
handle interpersonal conflict situations. Collaborating with the other
party promotes creative problem solving, and it’s a way of fostering mutual
respect and rapport.
workplaces with high conflict, leaders using this style are likely to be more
effective because they seek new ways of working, positively managing conflicts,
seek opportunities in the face of risk and are less likely to support the
status quo (Saeed, Almas, Anis-ul-Haq
& Niazi, 2014).
referred to as problem-solving, involves an attempt to work with the other
person to find a win-win solution to the problem in hand – the one that most
satisfies the concerns of both parties. The win-win approach sees conflict resolution
as an opportunity to come to a mutually beneficial result. It includes identifying the underlying
concerns of the opponents and finding an alternative which meets each
Implement Integrating Style
At first glance, the style of compromising
may sound to be the best approach as most people understand many compromises
are necessary in daily life. But trying to resolve a conflict by identifying a solution that is
partially satisfactory to both parties, but completely satisfactory to neither,
ends up leaving both parties unhappy and more likely to keep the conflict.
To learn the necessary
communication skills, one can use the Rahim’s Model, shown in Figure 1, which
suggests two dimensions for handling interpersonal conflicts: Concern for self
and concern for others. A combination of
these dimensions results in five styles of handling an interpersonal conflict,
namely, integrating style, avoiding style, dominating style, obliging style,
and compromising style illustrates the five styles of conflict management (Rahim,
Communication is both the cause of conflict and the tool for resolution.
Understanding how to effectively
communicate, and how to satisfactorily resolve disputes, can lead to a happier,
more productive workplace. Communication
and conflict resolution skills must be learned. Most often, poor communication and conflict
resolution styles must be corrected and replaced with approaches that are more
conducive to creating peace in the workplace.
A clash of perceptions, goals, or values in an arena where people care
about the outcome will trigger conflict. Those feelings are intensified with confusion
about, or disagreement with, the common purpose and how to achieve it while
also achieving individual goals within an organization. There is also competition
for limited resources, both internal and external, which will feed conflict.
Significant amounts of
managerial time and energy is spent on conflict which can be costly to
organizations. In the study of
employees, the average number of hours spent per week on workplace was 2.8
hours in the US. The calculated expense
based on average hourly earnings in 2008 was $359 billion in lost time. In addition to the lost time, high rates of
employee turnover and absenteeism are seen in companies where conflict is poorly
managed (Overton & Lowry, 2013). In
addition to these, chronic conflict may also increase the likelihood of stress
related illness among employees, and the associated medical and insurance cost
Conflict is normal and a part
of everyone’s workplace and personal lives. Some kinds of conflict result from
a company’s growth and change, and can be the results of new ideas being
generated and debated; this kind of conflict can be helpful in making necessary
changes within the work environment. Unfortunately, not all conflict is good and there
is a fine line between effective and unresolved conflict which can leads to feelings
of dissatisfaction, hopelessness, depression, and other emotions. It can result in behaviors such as physical or
emotional withdrawal, resignation from jobs, dissolution of personal relations,
aggression, and even violence.