Free 5-day trial Conflict can be solved in many ways.
The avoider usually side steps an issue by either changing the topic or withdrawing from the controversy.
Sometimes this is a calculated strategic response and may be effective.
For example a company may ignore minor complaints from disappointed consumers.
PART 2 CREATING EFFECTIVE WORK GROUPSCompeting• When quick, decisive action is vital (i.e., emergencies)• On important issues in which unpopular actions need implementing (e.g., cost cutting, enforcing unpopular rules, discipline)• On issues vital to company welfare when you know you're right• Against people who take advantage of noncompetitive behavior Avoiding• When an issue is trivial, or more important issues are pressing• When you perceive no chance of satisfying your concerns• When potential disruption outweighs the benefits of resolution• To let people cool down and regain perspective• When gathering information supercedes immediate decision• When others can resolve the conflict more effectively• When issues seem tangential or symptomatic of other issues Accommodating• When you find you are wrong—to allow a better position to be heard, to learn, and to show your reasonableness• When issues are more important to others than yourself—to satisfy others and maintain cooperation• To build social credits for later issues• To minimize loss when you are outmatched and losing• When harmony and stability are especially important• To allow subordinates to develop by learning from mistakes Compromising• When goals are important, but not worth the effort or potential disruption of more assertive modes• When opponents with equal power are committed to mutually exclusive goals• To achieve temporary settlements to complex issues• To arrive at expedient solutions under time pressure• As a backup when collaboration or competition is unsuccessful Collaborating• To find an integrative solution when both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised• When your objective is to learn• To merge insights from people with different perspectives• To gain commitment by incorporating concerns into a consensus• To work through feelings that have interfered with a relationship Source: K. Thomas, "Toward Multi-Dimensional Values in Teaching: The Example of Conflict Behaviors," Academy of Management Review 2 (1977): 487. It results in greater satisfaction and self-esteem, and relationships characterized by trust, respect, and affection.
From an organizational point of view, it also results in more open exchanges of information and better decisions. Collaboration does not work if there are competitive incentives and procedures already in place.
Last month we summarized the five conflict strategies– avoidance, competition, compromise accommodation and collaboration–and reviewed some general characteristics of each.