Which Style Is Best in Conflict Management?

Like much of organizational behavior, there is no one “right way” to deal with conflict. Much of the time it

will depend on the situation. However, the collaborative style has the potential to be highly effective in

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Which Style Is Best in Conflict Management?
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many different situations.

We do know that most individuals have a dominant style that they tend to use most frequently. Think of

your friend who is always looking for a fight or your coworker who always backs down from a

disagreement. Successful individuals are able to match their style to the situation. There are times when

avoiding a conflict can be a great choice. For example, if a driver cuts you off in traffic, ignoring it and

going on with your day is a good alternative to “road rage.” However, if a colleague keeps claiming

ownership of your ideas, it may be time for a confrontation. Allowing such intellectual plagiarism to

continue could easily be more destructive to your career than confronting the individual. Research also

shows that when it comes to dealing with conflict, managers prefer forcing, while their subordinates are

more likely to engage in avoiding, accommodating, or compromising. [3] It is also likely that individuals

will respond similarly to the person engaging in conflict. For example, if one person is forcing, others are

likely to respond with a forcing tactic as well.


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