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The compromise (from Lat. Copmromissum - something promised to each other) is by definition from the Dictionary of Polish Language:

  • the agreement reached by mutual concessions
  • exceptions to the rules, assumptions or opinions in the name of important goals or for practical benefits[1]

According to common notions compromise is a form of agreement between at least two parties, based on mutual concessions. Author of Sociology, Georg Simmel pointed out that it is one of the two basic forms of ending the conflict. A compromise has to deal with the conflict. People can not reach an agreement, if previously there was not a conflict. An alternative way to end the conflict is victory of one of the parties, accompanied by a failure of the other party.[2]

Characteristics of compromise

Compromise is an alternative to fighting until there is a winner and loser. It is also an alternative to the cost of social, economic and moral conduct of the fight to a final settlement. At the core of the compromise is the fact that the award, which is the subject of the conflict can be compensated. Compensation awards can take two forms. Many prizes can be subdivided, you can decide on the distribution of proceeds or division of lands, you may come to the conclusion that either party in dispute has proved their point. If the prize is indivisible (for example, one important decision can be resolved only "yes" or "no"), the losing party can obtain moral, political or material compensation. Compromises therefore require special skills: it consists, first and foremost, on the ability to see that compromise is possible at all, and on the difficult art of distributing prizes or determining appropriate compensation in such a way that it does not become a hotbed of new conflicts.[3]

Origin of compromise

The sphere of trade and exchange of goods can be considered a cultural and historical background of reaching a compromise. Each business transaction or exchange of goods is based on a compromise after all. From the perspective of cultural history compromise is a pattern of behavior noticeable among middle class and merchants in Middle Ages, the model developed during the market situations. Compromise has not in itself pathos, is devoid of knightly virtues and dignity, does not follow the standard of fighting to the end, but skows the cleverness and sense of profit optimization. Although a compromise, to avoid the costs of further rolling conflict, involves costs of other kinds. From the point of view of modern continuation of the chivalric ethos, a compromise as a solution to the conflict is not connected with a determined final which would be a victory or defeat. In this perspective, a compromise is inherently suspected as a result of excessive appeasement, not without reason, civilization has coined the saying about the " rotten " compromise. Making own compromises involves additional justifications and excuses, it is a lesser evil, forced by circumstances.[4]

Choice between fight and compromise

Choosing between struggle and compromise and patterns of perception of these two forms of conflict resolution, are influenced by deeply-established and comprehensive systems of normative attitudes, ethoses. From the point of view of the chivalric ethos, compromise is an unworthy and common behavior, as are trade or deriving profit from lending. On the other hand, moving the mercantile mentality on the level of basic decisions, you would say that the choice between struggle and compromise may be the result of calculation of costs and benefits. In some situations, the struggle pays off, even when associated with a high risk of severe defeat, in other situations - more, perhaps it pays to compromise. Which way is more profitable in certain circumstances? Asking such questions suggest that the course of conflicts can be controlled by reason...[5]


  1. Pod red. Elżbiety Sobol, Lidii Drabik, Mały słownik języka polskiego, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 1997.
  2. Pod red. Ewy Nowickiej - Włodarczyk, Kompromis w życiu społecznym, Międzynarodowe Centrum Rozwoju Demokracji, Kraków 1998, s. 17.
  3. Pod red. Ewy Nowickiej - Włodarczyk, Kompromis w życiu społecznym, Międzynarodowe Centrum Rozwoju Demokracji, Kraków 1998, s. 19.
  4. Leszek Gilejko, Rafał Towalski, Partnerzy społeczni. Konflikty, kompromisy, kooperacja, Wydawnictwo Poltext, Warszawa 2002.
  5. Pod red. Ewy Nowickiej - Włodarczyk, Kompromis w życiu społecznym, Międzynarodowe Centrum Rozwoju Demokracji, Kraków 1998, s. 20.

Author: Agnieszka Czepiec