1WE4 's BLOG

Blogging on Conflict Management and Negotiation

Definition of Conflict

A conflict is a situation between two or more people in which one person perceives that another person has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first person cares about.  This definition of conflict contains three elements, all of which must be present in order for a conflict to exist.  First of all, there is a specific perception on part of one or more of the people involved in the conflict.  The perception may or may not be accurate, but it is held by the conflicting parties.  Secondly, the perception is generally negative.  One party believes the other party is going to do something that will have a negative impact in some direct or indirect way.  Finally, the issue surrounding the conflict must be something that both parties care about.  If one person does something that the other person doesn’t care about, then a conflict does not exist.

Based on this definition, not all disagreements are conflicts. conflictFor example, two people may disagree on how something should be done.  But a conflict doesn’t exist unless both people care significantly about the issue at hand, and believe that the other party will do something that has a negative impact on their interests.  If one of the people is willing to “give in” because the issue is just not that important to them, then the dispute is not a conflict.  Likewise, the parties may disagree, and the issue may be important to both people, but if neither person believes the other person will have any impact on their goals or interests, then the disagreement is not a conflict.


October 2, 2009 Posted by | Definition, Types of conflict | , | Leave a comment

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September 30, 2009 Posted by | Definition, negotiation, Q & A, Types of conflict, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Conflict styles ~when to use which style~


Avoidance is characterized by behaviors that either ignore or refuse to engage in the conflict.  While avoidance is presented by some theorists as a negative style that shows low concern for both one’s own and the other party’s interests, there are sometimes strategic reasons to avoid conflict.

• often appropriate when~~time is short and a decision not necessary or the issue is trivial

•often inappropriate when~~you care about both relationship and the issue involved or negative feelings may linger


Competition, or win/lose, is a style that maximizes reaching one’s own goals or getting the problem solved at the cost of the other party’s goals or feelings.  While always choosing competition has negative repercussions for relationships, businesses and cultures, it can occasionally be the right style to choose if the other party is firmly fixed in a competitive style or there are genuinely scarce resources.  While competitive tactics are not necessarily dysfunctional, competition can easily slide into a destructive scenario.  Understanding the tactics and strategies of others who use competitive styles can assist conflict managers in defusing the negative consequences of competition and working toward a mutual gains approach.

♦ often appropriate when~~you’re sure you’re right or the issue is trivial and no one care about what really happens

♦often inappropriate when~~collaboration has not yet been attempted or cooperations from others is important


Accommodation involves giving in to the other’s wishes or smoothing the choppy waves of a conflict. Accommodation sacrifices one’s own goals for the sake of the other person.  Accommodators often use phrases like:  “Whatever you want is fine with me.”

•often appropriate when~~you really don’t care about the issue or when you realize that you are wrong

•often inappropriate when~~used habitually in order to gain acceptance or when others wish to collaborate and will feel like enforces if you accommodate


Compromise is a give and take of resources. The classic compromise in negotiating is to “split the difference” between two positions. While there is no victor from compromise, each person also fails to achieve her or his original goal.

♦often appropriate when~~cooperation is important but time or resources are limited

♦often inappropriate when~~finding the most creative solution is essential


Collaboration occurs when parties cooperatively work together until a mutually agreeable solution is found.

•often appropriate when~~the issues and relationship are both significant or when cooperation is important

•often inappropriate when~~time is short or you are over-loaded

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Types of conflict | 1 Comment