Conflict Management for Project Managers

Aargh, do you sometimes want to pull your hair out? Find out how to resolve conflict at work. Know the what, where and how. What are the effects of unresolved conflict? How do we resolve it? What are the different behavioural styles to approach conflicting situations?   

Styles in Conflict Management

Styles of Conflict

Styles of Conflict

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument determining styles of conflict was developed in 1974. This instrument is a self-assessment tool and leads one to understand how different styles are applied when facing conflicting situations. Conflict arises when 2 or more parties have opposite beliefs, values and opinions. This instrument looks at 2 poles namely: assertiveness and co-cooperativeness. Are you able to assert your point of view in a situation satisfying own needs and how cooperative we are - do we give in to others needs, views and opinions. 5 Different behaviour patterns are described:

Competing is assertive and uncooperative— here; the individual accepts only their point of view. They will stop at nothing to assert or force their views and opinions to the other person’s detriment.

Accommodating is unassertive and cooperative—here the individual sacrifices their own beliefs, views and opinions giving in to those of others.

Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative—here the individual will avoid the conflict situation, excusing themselves, withdrawing or putting it off until another time. Often they hope the situation will go away.

Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative—here the person tries to resolve the problem by working with the other person to understand the different viewpoints and coming up with an agreed upon solution. Seen as a win-win situation.

Compromising is moderate in both assertiveness and cooperativeness. Here both parties try to find a middle ground that suites them both, finding a solution that is mutually satisfactory to both, but neither are totally satisfied.


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Being assertive and uncooperative during conflict is which type of approach to the situation?

  • Avoiding
  • Competing
  • Collaborating
  • Compromising

Choose 1 correct answer