Thomas–Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

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The Thomas–Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) is a conflict style inventory, which is a tool developed to measure an individual's response to conflict situations.


A number of conflict style inventories have been in active use since the 1960s. Most of them are based on the managerial grid developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton in their managerial grid model. The Blake and Mouton model uses two axes: "concern for people" is plotted using the vertical axis and "concern for task" along the horizontal axis. Each axis has a numerical scale of 1 to 9. These axes interact so as to diagram five different styles of management. This grid posits the interaction of task with relationship and shows that according to how people value these, there are five basic ways of interacting with others.

In 1974, Kenneth W.Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann introduced their Thomas–Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (Tuxedo NY: Xicom, 1974). In 1999, CPP, Inc. (Mountain View, CA) acquired Xicom and is now the sole publisher and international distributor of the TKI. The TKI popularized conflict style inventories and, according to the publisher's website, there have been over six million copies published.[1]


The Thomas–Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument consists of thirty pairs of statements. For each pair, the respondent must choose either the A or B item (for example, one item depicts collaborating while the other item describes avoiding). Each pair of statements was specifically designed, through a multi-stage research process, to be equal in social desirability.

The TKI uses two axes (influenced by the Mouton and Blake axes) called "assertiveness" and "cooperativeness."[2] The TKI identifies five different styles of conflict: Competing (assertive, uncooperative), Avoiding (unassertive, uncooperative), Accommodating (unassertive, cooperative), Collaborating (assertive, cooperative), and Compromising (intermediate assertiveness and cooperativeness).

Competing style - Assertive and Uncooperative. You can expect an unwillingness to negotiate with another's opinions.

Collaborating style - Assertive and Cooperative. This style consists of thoughtful consideration of each party's views including discussion of goals, resulting in a mutual understanding.

Compromising style - moderately Assertive and Cooperative. It gives neither party everything they desire but both parties receive enough to leave each satisfied.

Avoiding style - Unassertive and Uncooperative. This is seen as the withdrawal from or refusal to address the conflict.

Accommodating style - Unassertive and Cooperative. The result is the submission of one party by acknowledging and accepting another's side of the issue.

There are some seemingly obvious, but difficult to support, similarities between anger resolution-management style ideas with other tools and theories, such as DISC assessment, social styles, and even the theory of five temperaments, which is based in the theories of ancient Greece.

Thomas, K. W., and Kilmann, R. H. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc., 1974).


[3] [4]

  1. ^ "CPP TKI page". Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  2. ^ Blake, R (1964). The Managerial Grid: The Key to Leadership Excellence. Gulf Publishing Co. ISBN 0884152529.
  3. ^ Thomas, K. W., and Kilmann, R. H. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc., 1974).
  4. ^ Hall, J. Conflict Management Survey (Conroe, Texas: Teleometrics International, 1969). 2

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