Conflict management style

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Conflict is usually found in an individualistic culture, in which competition and individual achievement is stressed over interdependence.[1] 'Conflict can be defined as an interference between individuals or groups of people who have differing aims, values, expectations, purposes, etc.[2]

A model called the "Thomas-Kilmann model" was designed by two psychologists, Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann. It demonstrates how individuals choose the conflict styles when they handle conflict. Thomas-Kilmann model suggests five principles that guide individuals via the conflict process. These are competing, accommodating, avoiding, compromising, and collaborating.[3][4]

  • Competing means stand up for your own rights and defend what you believe is correct.
  • Accommodating means that you yield to other's points of view.
  • By Collaborating both sides are willing to cooperate and listen to others.
  • By Compromising both parties seek a better solution in the middle ground as one gives to another while one takes.
  • Avoiding. An unassertive, uncooperative approach whereby a solution is delayed or avoided altogether. Both sides might wait until they would find a better solution or evade the situation.


The most widely used tool for this is a conflict style inventory, typically a short questionnaire filled out by a user, with interpretation of the scores given in writing or by an instructor. The point is not to categorize the user, but rather to give him or her a framework in which to assess responses and options. Conflict style inventories include the Thomas Kilmann [5] and Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory[6]


  1. ^ Craig, Grace (2010). Understanding Human Development. Boston: Prentice Hall. p. 7. 
  2. ^ Nakayama, Thomas (2008). Experiencing Intercultural Communication. New York: Mc Graw Hill. p. 211. 
  3. ^ Kadir, Ashraful (2011, March 11). Five Conflict Management Styles at A Glance. Sources of Insight. Retrieved from
  4. ^
  5. ^ Thomas Kilmann Archived 2006-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory

Understanding Human Development Martin, Judith and Nakayama, Thomas. Experiencing Intercultural Communication. 3rd ed. Mc Graw Hill. Print Experiencing Intercultural Communication Craig, Grace and Dunn, Wendy. Understanding Human Development. 2nd ed. Peearson: Prentice Hall. 2010. Print Ruble, T. L., & Thomas, K. W. (1976). Support for a two-dimensional model of conflict behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 16, 143-155. Kuhn, T., & Poole, M. S. (2000). Do conflict management styles affect group decision making? Human Communication Research, 26(4), 558-590. Kadir, Ashraful (2011, March 11). Five Conflict Management Styles at A Glance. Sources of Insight. Retrieved from