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Conflict Management Styles


The following are the common conflict management styles that are observed in different individuals as categorized by Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann in the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model: Competing, Avoiding, Compromising, Collaborating and Accommodating.

Competing Style of Conflict Management

The competing style of conflict management is characterized by the unwillingness of the individual or individuals to cooperate with others in order to resolve a particular conflict. Here, the focus is on achieving one’s goals and needs without regard for the effects that having these goals and needs met will have on his relationship with others. The competing style of conflict management can be observed in situations where one seeks to come out the winner in a situation at all costs, or it may also mean fighting for what one believes in.

Avoiding Style of Conflict Management

The avoiding style of conflict management is employed when there is a need to delay addressing a certain conflict in order to ease the tensions first or to simply buy time while waiting for a better solution to materialize. The goal of avoidance is to evade any unpleasantness that may arise from the conflict.

Compromising Style of Conflict Management

The compromising style of conflict management is the middle ground between the competing and accommodating styles of conflict management. Here, the resolution to the conflict is acceptable to both parties, but it does not explore the issues at length.

Collaborating Style of Conflict Management

The collaborating style of conflict management meanwhile explores the issues of both parties exhaustively in order to find an agreeable solution for everyone involved. The key element here is that each party collaborates with the other to resolve the conflict.

Accommodating Style of Conflict Management

The accommodating style of conflict management is the complete foregoing of one party’s needs in order to accommodate that of another party. This conflict management style is employed when one seeks to create good will or simply to keep the peace.



Thomas, Kenneth W., and Ralph H. Kilmann. Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument Profile and Interpretive Report. Rep. 1 May 2008. Web. 4 Apr. 2010.

“Collaboration Toolbox || MODULE 1 Conflict Management.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology Collaboration Toolbox. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web. 04 Apr. 2011.

“Managing Workplace Conflict.” Vancouver Island University. Web. 04 Apr. 2011.

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