7 Major Styles of Conflict Management that Managers Can Adopt

Meaning conflict is not necessarily good or bad but must be evaluated in terms of its individual and organizational functions and dysfunctions.

styles of conflict management
styles of conflict management

A minimal level of conflict is optimal. Conflict, rather than being disruptive and dissociating, may indeed be a means of balancing and hence maintaining an organization as a going concern.

Managers adopt different ways of dealing with conflict.

Different Types of Conflict Management Styles

There are seven major styles of conflict management that managers can adopt. They are as under:

1. Smoothing

It involves an attempt to smooth over by such techniques as discounting the seriousness of the issue, denying that any problem exists, or treating the issue only superficially while maintaining g an aura of conviviality.

One might smooth the conflict emotions of another, saying, ‘I’m not too important.

Think of the good things that happen today.

There is no need to get angry since we are all one happy group.

2. Forcing

It is an attempt to have one’s own view accepted at any cost showing no concern for the views of others.

The force behaves aggressively and uses coercive power to influence others. Conflict can be controlled by overpowering it.

The underlying features of the forcing style are assertiveness and uncooperative.

This style stifles initiative in employees.

Related: Key Importance of Change in an Organization.

3. Integrative Problem Solving

It involves openly acknowledging the differences of opinion, understanding the reasons for the conflict, and finding a plan of action that makes the needs of all parties. This method was also put forward.

This method does not involve positional bargaining, in which each side assets a position, attempts to impose it on the other party, defends it, and may compromise.

Instead, interactive problem-solving involves finding a solution that completely serves the interest of each party.

This method involves three steps:

  1. Identifying the essential or underlying concerns of both parties.
  2. Searching for alternatives and identifying their consequences for both parties, and
  3. Identifying the alternative which is most satisfying.

4. Collaborating

It is an attempt to satisfy the concerns of both sides through an honest exchange of views.

It may take the form of sharing sources.

The success of this style depends on the trust and openness of all participants.

This style is appropriate to find an integrative solution when both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised.

5. Accommodating

In a simple way, this style may involve giving in to another’s wishes.

seven conflict management strategies
seven conflict management strategies

Accommodating behavior may be caused by “a desire to be altruistic or prosocial.”

Top Major Reasons Why People Resist Change.

6. Compromising

It is a traditional style used to resolve conflicts.

It is giving up something of value for a concession.

It may involve third-party interventions as well as total group negotiating.

Compromising means agreeing so as to be agreeable. To succeed at compromising, both parties must be willing to give up something.

What happens when a business does not grow?

7. Avoiding

It is withdrawal from the conflict. It is staying out of situations that provoke controversy.

Three methods can be used under avoidance philosophy: A. Nonattention, B. Physical separation, C. limited interaction.

Nonattention involves ignoring the dysfunctional situation.

Individuals disregard hostile actions and tend to look the other way physical separation involves actually moving conflicting groups physically apart from each other.

In the case of limited interaction, parties are permitted to interact on a limited basis.

Effective problem solving depends upon the open exchange of accurate information, creative redefinition of issues, and trust.

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