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PACS 202 (100)

Conflict Styles

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University of Waterloo
Peace and Conflict Studies
PACS 202
Betty Pries

Lecture 3: Approach to Conflict: Conflict Styles Styles in how we engage in conflict Compete Collaborate If you don’t care about relationship, there is no need for conflict. Stay away from conflict. But if you want to maintain relationship and stay away from conflict, then there needs to be collaboration. Concern 5 primary communication/ conflict styles For 1. Competitive Self ______ 2. Avoiding 3. Accommodating Importance Compromise 4. Compromising OIssue 5. Collaborating  Your mode = your style, your skill and the situation (calm or storm)  Based on work of Thomas and kilman What is your Primary communication/ conflict style?  In calm? Avoid Accomodate  In storm?  Would others agree?  Originated as a model to describe management Concern For Other // ConcernFor Relationship styles (supervisor roles) o Then got picked up by communication field and then conflict field There are things that others know about us that we don’t have a clue There are things we don’t like about ourselves There are things that we know about ourselves but we keep it hidden from others There is also the unknown where nobody knows Competing  High assertiveness/ low cooperation  “its my way or the highway”  Benefits: o Able to take quick action o Can make unpopular decisions when needed o Stands up for vital issues o Protects him / herself  Strategies: o Compete o Persuade o Control, coerce Lecture 3: Approach to Conflict: Conflict Styles o Outwit o Be firm, insist o Argue, debate, assert o Repeat o Cite policy o State position firmly, speak clearly o Stand ground o Take leadership  Source of Power: from position/rank/sphere of influence and/or force of personality  Costs when overused: o Atrophy of other’s gifts (loss of empowerment) o Loss of cooperation and/or feedback from others o Loss of learning o Loss of creativity (surrounded by yes people) o Stagnation and/or anger, depression among others/in system o Lose focus on the relationship  Costs when underused: o Indecision o Delayed action or inaction o Loss of commitment to task o Loss of influence o Loss of leader behind important issues Avoidance  Low Assertiveness/Low Cooperation  “Lets not make a big deal out of this” or “I’ll think about this tomorrow.”  Benefits: o Avoidance of trivial/unimportant issues or insignificant relationships, o Able to buy time o Knowledge of limitations o Recognise issues as symptoms o Allow others ownership o Predictability, preservation of status quo o Sometimes, able to reduce tensions  Strategies: o Withdraw, o delay, o deny, o avoid response altogether, o divert attention/sidestep, o suppress personal emotions  Source of power: From calmness, silence, non-cooperation, being above the fray o Usually the most quiet is the one in control of the argument  Costs when overused: o Build-up of negative feelings/festering issues o periodic explosions (or leaking out) of pent-up anger, o stagnation and dullness, depression o Feeling of being left behind, malaise o loss of accountability, motivation o Wisdom of avoider is lost – friends get frustrated! o Decisions by default o Cautious to the point of inaction.  Costs when underused: o Unnecessary issues become central o Lack of prioritization/delegation o Work overload – not enough is avoided o Unnecessary conflicts are created resulting in hostility/hurt feelings Accommodation  Low Assertiveness/High Cooperation  “OK, whatever you say” Lecture 3: Approach to Conflict: Conflict Styles  Benefits: o Approval/appreciation from others, o Creates goodwill o Someone is keeping the peace o Building team identity o Freedom from hassle (in short term), o Control of ego o Shows reasonableness  Strategies: o Agree, yield to others o Forego one’s own desires o Support the other o Selflessness, o Acknowledge mistakes, o Flattery of the other, o Obedience to rules, desire to please, o Soothes the situation  Source of power: From relationships and approval of others  Costs when overused: o Over-dependence on others, o Resentment, depression, (sense of being lost in favour of the other) o Under-utilization gifts, loss of contribution o Lack of healthy confrontation, o Frustration for others who want to collaborate, o Ineffective in tangible problem solving o Anarchy?  Costs when underused: o Lack of rapport o Low morale o Loss of flexibility o Inability to yield to others Compromising • Medium Assertiveness/Medium Cooperation • “Let’s make a deal” • Benefits: ▫ Relatively fast decision making, (good for solving issues of moderate importance or where temporary solutions make sense), ▫ Enables progress on an issue, ▫ Provides a way out of stalemate, ▫ Builds atmosphere of calmness and reason ▫ Can provide a stop gap measure to support collaborative or competitive approache • Strategies ▫ Urge moderation, ▫ Bargain, negotiate ▫ Split the difference, meet halfway, a little for everyone (make concessions, find middle ground) ▫ Assess value of ongoing nature of conflict • Source of power: From appealing to moderation and reasonableness • Costs when over used: ▫ Possibility of unprincipled agreements, ▫ Mediocrity, cynicism ▫ Patching symptoms and ignoring causes ▫ Lack of trust ▫ Gives more credibility than is due to those who abuse their power ▫ Loss of big picture • Costs when underused: ▫ Unnecessary confrontations ▫ Frequent power struggles ▫ Some situations of conflict drawn out longer than necessary ▫ Inability to negotiate effectively Lecture 3: Approach to Conflict: Conflict Styles Collaborating  High Assertiveness/High Cooperation  “Let's talk this through.” “Two heads are better than one.”  Benefits: o Trust building between parties, o Mutuality and improvement in relationships, o Creativity, energy, synergy from joining of different perspectives; integrated/robust solutions o Utilization of gifts, opportunity learn from others o Improved commitment from parties involved.  Strategies o Gather information, o Ability to listen, understand and empathize o Welcome differences, cooperate o Tough conversations that do not threaten but honour the other o Ability to get at underlying concerns o Analysis of input  Source of power: Trust, skill, goodwill, creativity, ability to hold relationship and task at the forefront simultaneously  Costs when overused: o Fatigue, work overload o Too much time spent on trivial issues o Distraction from more important tasks, (some will take advantage of this) o Paralysis by over-analysis o Diffused responsibility  Costs when underused: o Loss of mutual gain o Lack of commitment o Low empowerment o Low innovation Further Thoughts…  Most people live on the continuum which has competing at one end and accommodating at the other end of the spectrum. Avoidance and collaboration seem to be learned responses to given situations.  It is easier to coach an accommodating person to be assertive than to coach a competing person to be relational. Why?  Each person has a favourite style. The wisdom of the model involves…  Knowing your style and the way it works for and against you.  Discerning what style would work most effectively in a given situation.  Learning to choose the right style for the right situation. When Different Styles Interact…  What is your experience o What happened when you had conflict with some with a different styl
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