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Example of a critique of conflict management styles essay

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Conflict Management Styles

The Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary defines a conflict as a position when two parties, people or nations are involved in a disagreement. Conflict management styles and skills are pertinent in ensuring proper personal and interpersonal relations (Herbert, 2005). The adoption of a proper management style or skill is the advent of good company relations, especially in the management level. Managers should therefore aspire and strive to uphold the best strategy in order to maintain sanity and remain focused towards the realization of Company goals and objectives. The following is an explication and deep critique into the methods and styles of management that can be adopted for management of conflicts in various levels of governance and administration.

Conflict Management

There are different management styles in conflict management. The choice of which method is preferred and to what situation is solely pegged on the type of scenario one is or even on individual preference (Herbert, 2005). However, the best method should be chosen depending on the scenarios that are being faced. Batcheldor, (2000), proposed some methods and styles of conflict management as follows: compromising, avoiding, competing, accommodating, and collaborating. For the purpose of this paper, three styles would be tackled.
Accommodating style is a conflict management style that can be employed when there is a high level of cooperation between you and another party (Herbert, 2005). The whole decision may actually be against personal beliefs, goals or even objectives. Managers may get involved in this type of management style when the second party involved is the one with higher expertise or knowledge on the relevant matter. One indulges in this type of style as it safeguards the future relations and harmonizes the operation of business or relations between the two members.
While accommodation involves actual submissiveness in order to be at par with the other party, competing does the opposite. With this, the situation is a ‘ win-lose’ one (Alper Tjosvold & Law, 2000). Here one simply follows his goals without paying attention to the other partner. There is no or little cooperation between the two parties involved. In most cases this is applied when one wants to make quick decisions and achieve high level results. In most cases, this occurs in times of emergencies. Decisions have to be made and the people are aware of it, hence cooperation may be solicited from management assistants.

Another method that can be employed is the avoidance style. In this approach, the parties involved simply avoid or avert situations where there may be conflicts between themselves. Here one is not helping the other party and neither is the other party helping an individual. This approach works best when the issues at hand are trivial and there is no chance of winning volatile (Behfar, Peterson, Mannis & Trochim, 2008). It can also be handy when the issue would be expensive or during moments when the atmosphere is emotionally charged. This will therefore mean that one party has to create space. Sometimes when this method is used, there is hope that some of the issues will solve themselves by the nature of the way things unravel. It therefore means that one banks on hope for solution of some problems, an action which is neither reliable nor a permanent solution of the conflict. Whichever method one advances to use to resolve the problems facing them, they should strive and achieve a permanent solution to their problems.
Although these methods have the advantage of preventing crises development and propagation, they also have demerits which offset their reliance to solve all human misunderstandings and disagreements. The accommodating method has the demerit of limiting ones preferences in order to fit into another party’s program. This therefore that one compromises his level of activity just to oversee a harmonious relation between parties. While this is disadvantageous, others find it an advantage. This due to the fact that when one collaborates and accommodates the other partner, there is a high chance that future relations will be in a high progressive stake as compared to when there were early disagreements in a working group.
The avoidance approach will have the advantage of avoiding negative influence or crises that may be a down fall in the running of one’s company (DeChurch & Marks, 2001). While this is the case, the same approach may lead to lead to self-imposed falsehood. One may develop a false impression that they have solved a problem by simply avoiding its occurrence at a particular, moment only to realize that the same problem recurs another time (Batcheldor, 2000). This time round it may be in bigger magnitudes, thus causing havoc to the entire rapport and reputation of the Company. This would be detrimental to business. The avoidance approach may also pause as problem when it comes to lack of collaboration. The profits or benefits that may have been begotten if the two parties would have partnered, are normally forgone. However, this approach encourages high levels of maturity and independence in partners. This is good especially in managing and holding the vision and mission of company.

Competing approach is one of the best ways of managing a crisis, especially if the situation requires urgency. It therefore poses as the best method in countering the effects of an impending danger. Working through this method ensures that high levels of independence, and sometimes there is a healthy rivalry space that is maintained between the competing parties. This will ensure that parties work as they please and try to solve their own unique problems. The problem with method is that, one may ignore the best approach in resolving a conflict. When this happens then the parties involved may bear the blunt of immature decision making. One should try and listen to the other party before they try to make decisions. A rational decision should therefore be made after a thorough consultation and harmonization of the situation. Both parties should be willing to advance the best solution for the situation at hand.
The most commonly used method of conflict management is that of collaboration (Alper Tjosvold & Law, 2000). Though not, explicitly discussed in the above assertion, the approach dictates that both parties sit and listen to each other’s ideas and try to achieve a ‘ win-win’ situation for both. Here ideas are synthesized and proper reasoning launched. The downside part of the method is that it takes time to build trust of members and to carry everyone on board. There will be normally issues of trust and mistrust if the move is not properly managed. This method is highly preferred as both parties benefit from the partnership. There is sharing of problems and when there is a hard part encountered, the members of both parties assist in reaching a solution.
Sometimes trying to deal with people who use a different method of conflict solution from mine has posed a great challenge in the normal understanding. I prefer the usage of the collaboration method, whereby we talk and advance fresh ways that can oversee both of us achieve a win-win situation. People who use the avoidance or competing methods have always brushed aside the efforts of getting them to think in liaison with my propositions. Most of them fail to recognize the advantages of working together. To them trust is a hard thing to come by. They tend to think that the other partner is a schemer and would perhaps gain more from the union. This is a bad attitude as neither does it help them nor me. We end up not solving any problem. The same status quo is maintained, a situation that is delicate especially in conflict resolution. While those members who avoid a possible collaboration or partnership fail to solve a problem in a permanent situation, those who compete end up making irrational choices (Alper Tjosvold & Law, 2000). These often lead to detrimental effects that end up becoming injurious to their reputation and the way they run their day to day activities.

The co relationship between conflict avoidance and conflict management lies on the fact that both follow a common cause-that of preventing or averting a crisis from arising due to disagreements and conflicts that are faced volatile (Behfar, Peterson, Mannis & Trochim, 2008). While conflict avoidance refers to the deliberate move by one or particular group to avoid indulging in a situation that may likely cause a disagreement, the conflict management refers to the indulgence in processes of implementing strategies to control the negative parts of conflict and to increase the positive ones to levels which are greater than or level ground to where the conflict is occurring.


Conflict management is a complicated process, and therefore the parties involved should try to understand each other in order to advance the best mitigation measures. One has to listen to the other partner before making decisions. Usually the best method should be advanced so as to get the best solution of the problem. Avoidance approach would normally lead to procrastination of issues which may build up, rendering the situation delicately volatile. While, the four methods discussed in this essay pose as some of the best ways of conflict management styles, people should adopt more liberal approaches. That of collaboration as it is the most neutral one, and it ensures that neither party loses. Both parties obtain a win-win situation, an aura which is the best in ensuring a harmonized and highly functionally effective partnership and understanding.


Alper, S., Tjosvold, D., & Law, K. S. (2000) . Conflict management, efficacy, and performance in organizational teams. Personnel Psychology, 53, 625-642.
Batcheldor, M. (2000). The Elusive Intangible Intelligence: Conflict Management and Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace. The Western Scholar, Fall, 7-9
Behfar, K. J., Peterson, R. S., Mannis, E. A., & Trochim, W. M. K. (2008). The critical role of conflict resolution in teams: A close look at the links between conflict type, conflict management strategies, and team outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology. Pp 170-188.
Bodtker, A. M., & Jameson, J. K. (2001) . Emotion in conflict formation and its transformation: Application to organizational conflict management. The International Journal of Conflict Management. Pp 259-275.
DeChurch, L. A, & Marks, M. A. (2001) . Maximizing the benefits of task conflict: The role of conflict management. The International Journal of Conflict Management. Pp 4-22.
Herbert, S. K., (2005). Conflict Management. Thomson/Course Technology. Pp 30-57

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