Styles of conflict management
|Styles of conflict management|
Managers use various styles of conflict management in order to resolve disputes between project stakeholders. Compromise is a style of conflict management in which both parties agree to give up something in order to reach an agreement. Collaboration is when both parties work together to find a win-win solution. Competing and accommodating are two styles in which one party imposes their will on the other, either in order to gain an advantage or to avoid conflict.Avoidance is when one party avoids the issue altogether in an effort to prevent conflict. Finally, problem solving is a style that involves both parties working together to find a solution that will satisfy both sides.
Example of styles of conflict management
- Compromise: Negotiating with a colleague to reach a mutually beneficial agreement by agreeing to give up something in return. For example, in a dispute over how to divide a project budget, both parties could agree to split it evenly even though one party wanted a larger portion.
- Collaboration: Working together to find a win-win outcome for both parties. For example, two departments could come together to brainstorm creative solutions to a problem, taking into account both of their perspectives.
- Competing: Taking a hard stance on an issue by pushing one's own interests over everyone else's. For example, a manager could insist on a certain project timeline despite pushback from their team.
- Accommodating: Putting the other party's needs before one's own to avoid conflict. For example, a customer service representative could agree to a customer's request even though it goes against company policy.
- Avoidance: Refusing to engage in the conflict in an effort to prevent it from escalating. For example, in a disagreement between a manager and their team, the manager could choose to walk away and let the team work out the issue themselves.
- Problem Solving: Working together to find a solution that will satisfy both sides. For example, two departments could brainstorm a compromise that meets both of their needs.
When to use styles of conflict management
The various styles of conflict management can be used in different situations to help resolve disputes between project stakeholders.
- Compromise can be used when both parties are willing to make some concessions in order to reach an agreement.
- Collaboration can be used when both parties are willing to work together to find a win-win solution.
- Competing can be used when one party needs to gain a clear advantage.
- Accommodating can be used when one party needs to avoid conflict and is willing to agree to the other party’s demands.
- Avoidance can be used when one party wishes to avoid the issue altogether.
- Problem solving can be used when both parties are willing to work together to find a solution that will satisfy both sides.
Limitations of styles of conflict management
The various styles of conflict management have various limitations. These include:
- Compromise, which may lead to both sides feeling unsatisfied with the result, as each has had to give up something in order to reach an agreement.
- Collaboration, which can be time-consuming and difficult to achieve when parties have different goals or incentives.
- Competing and accommodating, which can lead to resentment and distrust between parties.
- Avoidance, which does not address the underlying issues, and can lead to further conflict down the line.
- Problem solving, which can be difficult to achieve if both sides have a hard time understanding and respecting each other's point of view.
In addition to the styles of conflict management discussed above, there are several other approaches that project managers can use to resolve disputes between project stakeholders. These include:
- Negotiation, which involves both parties discussing their interests and trying to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
- Mediation, in which a third party helps facilitate a solution to the conflict.
- Arbitration, which is when an impartial third party makes a decision based on the facts of the case.
- Collaborative problem-solving, which is when all parties work together to identify the root cause of the conflict and come up with a solution.
These approaches to conflict management can help project managers better manage disputes between stakeholders and ensure that projects remain on track. Ultimately, the best approach to conflict management will depend on the specific situation and the type of dispute that needs to be resolved.
- Lim, J. H., & Yazdanifard, R. (2012). The difference of conflict management styles and conflict resolution in workplace. Business & Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(1).