Active/Collaborative Learning Student Teams Integrating Technology Effectively Women and Minorities Assessment and Evaluation EC2000 Emerging Technology Foundation Coalition Curricula Concept Inventories
 
 
 
 
 
What factors can affect our conflict modes?
 

Some factors that can impact how we respond to conflict are listed below with explanations of how these factors might affect us.

Gender Some of us were socialized to use particular conflict modes because of our gender. For example, some males, because they are male, were taught “always stand up to someone, and, if you have to fight, then fight.” If one was socialized this way he will be more likely to use assertive conflict modes versus using cooperative modes.
Self-concept How we think and feel about ourselves affect how we approach conflict. Do we think our thoughts, feelings, and opinions are worth being heard by the person with whom we are in conflict?
Expectations Do we believe the other person or our team wants to resolve the conflict?
Situation Where is the conflict occurring, do we know the person we are in conflict with, and is the conflict personal or professional?
Position (Power) What is our power status relationship, (that is, equal, more, or less) with the person with whom we are in conflict?
Practice Practice involves being able to use all five conflict modes effectively, being able to determine what conflict mode would be most effective to resolve the conflict, and the ability to change modes as necessary while engaged in conflict.
Determining the best mode Through knowledge about conflict and through practice we develop a “conflict management understanding” and can, with ease and limited energy, determine what conflict mode to use with the particular person with whom we are in conflict.
Communication skills The essence of conflict resolution and conflict management is the ability to communicate effectively. People who have and use effective communication will resolve their conflicts with greater ease and success.
Life experiences As mentioned earlier, we often practice the conflict modes we saw our primary caretaker(s) use unless we have made a conscious choice as adults to change or adapt our conflict styles. Some of us had great role models teach us to manage our conflicts and others of us had less-than-great role models. Our life experiences, both personal and professional, have taught us to frame conflict as either something positive that can be worked through or something negative to be avoided and ignored at all costs.

Discerning how we manage our conflict, why we manage conflict the way we do, and thinking about the value of engaging in conflict with others is important. With better understanding we can make informed choices about how we engage in conflict and when we will engage in conflict. The next section provides points for us to consider when determining if we will enter into a conflict situation or not.

References for Further Information

  1. Katzenbach, J.R., and Smith, D.K. (1992). Wisdom of teams, Harvard Business School Press.
  2. Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T., and Holubec, E.J. (1986). Circles of learning: cooperation in the classroom (rev. ed.), Edina, MN: Interaction Book Co.
  3. “Workplace Basics: The Skills Employers Want,” Am. Soc. Training and Devel. and U.S. Dept. Labor, Employment and Training Admin., 1988.
  4. Algert, N.E. (1996) “Conflict in the workplace” in Proceedings: Women in Engineering Advocates Network, Denver, CO., 123–127.
  5. Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA: (800)624-1765 or available on the World Wide Web at http://www.cpp-db.com.
  6. Smith, K.A. (2000). Project management and teamwork. New York: McGraw-Hill BEST series.
  7. Blake, R.R., and Mouton, J.S. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.
  8. Algert, N.E., and Watson, K. (2002). Conflict management: introductions for individuals and organizations. Bryan, TX: (979)775-5335 or e-mail .
  9. Raudsepp, E. (2002) “Hone Listening Skills To Boost Your Career,” available on the World Wide Web at http://www.careerjournal.com/myc/climbingladder/20021224-raudsepp.html, accessed on 28 January 2003.
  10. Lambert, J., and Myers, S. (1999) 50 Activities for conflict resolution. Amherst, MA: HR Development Press.
  11. Johnson, D.W., and Johnson, F.P. (2000) Joining together: group theory and group skills (7th ed.), Boston, Allyn and Bacon.
Additional Resources
Algert, N.E. (2002). The center for change and conflict resolution, Bryan, TX: (979)775-5335 or e-mail .
Moore, C., “How Mediation Works” in The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict.
Putnam (1994). “Beyond third-party role: disputes and managerial intervention,” Employee Responsibilities and Rights J. (7:1).
Xicom, Inc. (1996). Conflict Workshop Facilitator’s Guide.
 

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