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Conflict Resolution Strategies and Styles

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The world is turning into globalization concept to increase the productivity and efficiency to achieve the organizational goals. To achieve standard effectiveness of the organization the number of techniques and strategic management tools used in different ways either combining/integrating one and other or straight way use one technique. People techniques and organizational techniques are playing very vital role in developing the organization and growth of it. With the help of integration of these techniques we can achieve the effective results after applying in the organization. Organization and people are strongly inter-related to each other. So the effective use of these people technique directly effect on the organization and vise versa. The conflict management is the people technique but effective and timely use of this technique can give the advantage to the organization on the competitors. The consideration of the competitive advantages is very important while making the organizational strategy. The skilled people are the competitive advantages over the same functional competitors. This skilled people force give you a huge competitive advantage and that should be avoid resolving the conflicts between them timely. Conflict management is a key success factor for any organization and we are considering this technique while the formulation of the organizational strategy like CPM (competitive profile matrix) is the organizational technique to formulation strategy. Integration of these techniques (Conflict management & CPM) will directly affect the business in positive direction.


Competitive profile matrix (CPM), Internal factor evluation (IFE), External factor eveluation (EFE), Kye success factors, Conflict resolution Style, competitive advantages, latent stage,congnition and personlization, Key success factor (KSF)


“Competition & people” these two words are always interrelated in all the areas of the globe. New technologies, tools & methods provide extraordinary results in every sector of business world. But apart from those “people” in the organization will also play a vital strategic role to success of any business and stand as a leading competitor in market. Applying people techniques into Organizational techniques and vice versa, and integrating of these techniques for an organization will help to its growth in the market. Key success factors (KSF) are usually understood to be the set of factors that can be considered key to the continued success of an organization or a business. These factors may be ‘skills, tasks, or behaviour', they can operate at a number of levels and be used for a diversity purpose .There are many key success factors will impact to a successful organizations. And these key success factors will helpful to compare the rival competitors in the market. Competitive profile matrix (CPM) is a strategic management tool to communicate with the attributes and shows the competitors in the market. And it is setting up the stages to describe your competitive advantage and the basis for your company strategy. In every organization there will be some conflicts among peoples, groups and departments, by resolving these issues among them in timely lead the organization in positive direction among the competitors in the market. It means when we compare the competitive organizations in the market, we will consider some of the key success factors, and with these key success factors (KSF) we can build the competitive profile matrix, for each success factor , indicators are measures of performance should be established and tailored , the identified information will need to be developed or modified to ensure that the success key information is collected, analyzed, and distributed, in other words , it helps to ensure that the organization's information support the key activities and thus the wider objectives. In CPM there are five main attributes, like key success factor, rating, weight, weighted score and total weight score; here we will give the ratings for each factor its ranges from 1 to 4. 1 is low, and ‘4' is high, means when we compare the organizations we will put the common key success factors (like, advertising, etc...) and assign the rate for each factor. And assign the weight of the each key success factor, it ranges from 0 to 1 (low to high), weighted score value is the result achieved after multiplying each factor rating with weight. While integrating these techniques (people & organization) we can put conflict management as one of the key success factor, in CPM. Means how effectively and timely the conflicts are managed in organizations among the people, groups & dept's. Always healthy environment in any organization helpful to its growth, by taking advantage of this making as “conflict management” is a strategic people technique, and integrating with the organization technique CPM, when the total weighted score in CPM is ranges between 1(low) to 4(high). If the total weight score fall below 2.5 consider as week, higher than 2.5 is consider as strong in the position. The firm with higher total weight score considered as winner in competitive market. Catching the competitor's weak point and making it as strong point for your organization and managing any conflict issues timely in organization, makes you as the leader of the market.

People Technique (Conflict management)

What is conflict?

Conflict is the process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party. Conflict is a process in which people disagree over significant issues, thereby creating friction between parties.

Conflict can exist when people have opposing interests, perceptions, and feelings; when those involved recognize the existence of differing points of view; when the disagreement is ongoing; and when opponents try to prevent each other from accomplishing their goals. Although conflict can be destructive, it can also be beneficial when used as a source of renewal and creativity. A competition and rivalry between individuals or groups over an outcome that both seek, is not the same as conflict. In competition, there must be a winner and a loser; with conflict, people can cooperate so that no one wins or loses.

When people think of the word conflict, they often think of wars or violence. However, conflict exists at all levels of society in all sorts of situations. It is easy to forget that we experience conflict every day of our lives. Conflict happens when two or more people or groups have, or think they have, incompatible goals.

However, in most cases we resolve the conflict. From a personal level to international level, good communication is usually used to overcome differences and to reach an agreement before violence breaks out. At a personal level, we often do not realize we are overcoming our differences.

It is important to remember that conflict can be creative. Conflict is sometimes necessary to bring justice where injustice exists. It can provide an opportunity for new social and political systems to be established and can help to shape the future. However, when conflict becomes violent it will usually do more harm than good. After violent conflict, it is often difficult to see the opportunities for a better future due to the widespread destruction of infrastructure and livelihoods, the breakdown of trust and the suffering caused through bereavement, trauma, grief and anger. It is also likely that such social change could have occurred before the conflict became violent.

Transitions in Conflict Thought:

Conflicts are an everyday phenomenon in each organization. Conflicts are impossible to avoid, but it is possible to manage them in a way that we recognize the conflict symptoms in time.

It is necessary to continuously track the organizational signals, which point to their existence. In case we do not react in due time, this can lead to a situation where the conflict itself manages the organization. Problems mostly occur in those organizations where the business results directly depend on collaboration, team work and creativity, and where having only the results in mind, we tend to forget to take care of people and mutual relationships.

Disagreement which occurs when goals, interests or values of various individuals or groups are incompatible and those people block each other's efforts for accomplishing goals is called organizational conflict. Reduction of work performance efficiency, reduced communication among employees, motivation fall and ultimate employees' dissatisfaction are only some of the numerous negative consequences of conflict. But the conflict itself does not have to be negative; the majority of conflicts can in fact be an excellent ground for accomplishment of better business results, and an impulse for changes and growth of the

Organization itself [5x].

Duly recognition and adequate conflict management can lead to series of positive effects like stimulation of creativity and innovation within the company, stimulation of changes towards work quality improvement, reduction of incurred tensions etc.

Moreover, in case conflicts lead to constructive changes they should be encouraged in order to make a good relation among employees based on mutual respect. Sometimes conflicts should be regarded as a resource which enables us constant new learning, new knowledge and a potential growth and development of organization.

The employees directly involved in the conflict often do not have the opportunity to cope with the whole situation or the impact of all elements in the given situation, mostly because of restricted ability for decision-making. [6x]

Throughout the years there were times when conflict was perceived in a different way, so we distinguish:

  • Traditional view of conflict
  • Human relations view
  • Interactionist view.

Traditional view

of conflict in ‘30s and ‘40s of the last century it is believed that the conflict is something bad, that it is destructive for the organization, and that it should be avoided. It is considered that the sources of conflict are mostly the results of bad communication and lack of trust. According to this standpoint one should avoid conflict, as well as people who make the conflict, so that the work performance be satisfactory.

Human relations view is that the conflict is something natural which occurs within every organization. This view is characteristic for the period from the ‘40s to the ‘70s of the last century. It is considered that conflicts should be accepted, and that conflicts eventually can lead to better work performance.

Interacionist view

is still represented today, and is based on the approach according to which conflicts should be encouraged, because they tend to have a positive effect on creativity and innovation by the employees. [6x]

Types and levels of Conflict

There are four types of conflict.

Inter-group conflict occurs when groups within and outside the organization disagree on various issues.

Interpersonal conflict Interpersonal conflict emphasizes the interaction of human factors in an organization. Here we are concerned with these factors as they appear in a dyadic relationship. It is further classified into two classes of factors as conflict sources. These are:

Personal.Individuals are not identical, constant or consistent. When two individuals are brought together and kept together, each with their own qualities, needs and skills, a conflict may ensue if their attributes are not meshed together in a coordinated way. Interaction between individuals with different attitudes, values and needs can produce conflict behavior and affect organizational performance.[8x]


Individuals in organizations have roles which are expected sets of behavior associated with their position. In theory, individuals are not expected to engage in any discretionary behavior. Such specification would be consistent with organizational preferences for consistency and predictability. In practice, however, role specifications tend to be ambiguous and incomplete, and in their interaction with others, some individuals often feel dissatisfied with their role or position, or they may feel that their aspirations for higher positions are being frustrated. Interpersonal conflict can be accounted for, to a great extent, in terms of the incumbents' roles and their expectations in particular situations.

Intra group conflict

  • occurs within a work group over goals and work procedures.

Intrapersonal conflict

  • Intrapersonal conflict is internal to the individual and is perhaps the most difficult form of conflict to analyze and manage. Intrapersonal conflict is basically a conflict between two incompatible tendencies. It arises when a stimulus evokes two different and incompatible tendencies and the individual is required to discriminate between these tendencies. [7x]

Horizontal conflict

  • takes place between departments or groups at the same level of the organization. In contrast, vertical conflict occurs between groups at different levels of the organization.

Types of Conflict

  • Task conflict: Conflicts over content and goals of the work
  • Relationship conflict: Conflict based on interpersonal relationships
  • Process conflict: Conflict over how work gets done

Organizational conflict:

Organizational conflict occurs when a stakeholder group pursues its interests at the expense of other stakeholders. Given the different goals of stakeholders, organizational conflict is predictable. Conflict is associated with negative images, such as unions getting angry and violent, but some conflict can improve effectiveness. When conflict passes a certain point, it hurts an organization.

If we do not react duly, this can lead to the situation that the conflict itself manages the organization. One of the more important determinants of productivity, efficiency and performance, and finally job contentment is also the conflict as an independent variable of organizational behavior. By systematic research of organizational behavior we want to make a positive influence on dependent variables, but first we have to understand and get a good insight into individual elements of organizational behavior. There is strong relationship between the level of conflict and the impact on the Organizational performance. [8x]

Personal conflict:

Conflict sometimes has a destructive effect on theindividualsandgroupsinvolved. At other times, however, conflict can increase the capacity of those affected to deal with problems, and therefore it can be used as a motivating force toward innovation and change. Conflict is encountered in two general forms. Personal conflict refers to an individual's inner workings and personality problems.

It was also pointed out that there is a basic incompatibility between the authority and structure of formal organizations and the human personality.Human behaviorcannot be separated from the culture that surrounds it.[5x]

Many difficulties in this area are beyond the scope ofmanagementand more in the province of aprofessional counselor, but there are some aspects of personal conflict that managers should understand and some they can possibly help remedy. Social conflict refers to interpersonal, intergroup, and intergroup differences.

Role Conflict:

Another facet of personal conflict has to do with the multiple roles people play in organizations.Behavioralscientists sometimes describe anorganizationas a system of position roles. Each member of the organization belongs to a role set, which is an association of individuals who share interdependent tasks and thus perform formally defined roles, which are further influenced both by the expectations of others in the role set and by one's own personality and expectations. For example, in a common form of classroom organization, students are expected to learn from the instructor by listening to him, following his directions for study, taking exams, and maintaining appropriate standards of conduct. Theinstructoris expected to bring students high-quality learning materials, give lectures, write and conduct tests, and set a scholarly example. Another in this role set would be the dean of the school, who sets standards, hires and supervises faculty, maintains a servicestaff, readers and graders, and so on. The system of roles to which an individual belongs extends outside the organization as well, and influences his functioning within it. As an example, a man's roles as husband, father, son, and church member are all intertwined with each other and with his set of organizational roles.[4x]

Conflict within groups:

Conflicts between people in work groups, committees, task forces, and other organizational forms of face-to-face groups are inevitable. As we have mentioned, these conflicts may be destructive as well as constructive.

In western culture, winning is more acceptable than losing, and competition is more prevalent than cooperation, all of which tends to intensify intragroup conflict. Group meetings are often conducted in a win-lose climate — that is, individual or subgroup interaction is conducted for the purpose of determining a winner and a loser rather than for achieving mutual problem solving[5x].Conflict arises in groups because of the scarcity of freedom, position, and resources. People who value independence tend to resist the need for interdependence and, to some extent, conformity within a group. People who seek power therefore struggle with others for position or status within the group. Rewards and recognition are often perceived as insufficient and improperly distributed, and members are inclined to compete with each other for these prizes.

Interdepartmental Conflict

The third major cause of organizational conflict is structural. Organizations are designed around product lines, regions or technical specialties. These activities are assigned to departments that often have mutually exclusive structured interests and goals and that interact within a framework of scarce resources and task dependence. When resources are relatively fixed and when one department's gain is at the expense of another, conflict should be expected. If two sub-units in an organizational system have differentiated goals and are functionally interdependent, conditions exist for conflict. Interdependence produces the need for collaboration, but it also presents occasions for conflict. [9x]

Other contextual factors which affect the interaction structure between departments and create the conditions for interdepartmental conflict include: different attitudes between line and staff units, organizational size (directly related to level of conflict) and standardization (inversely related to conflict), physical or communicational barriers between departments, unequal access to authority, rewards or organizational resources and ambiguity or uncertainty in assigning tasks or rewards to different departments. These are the sources of conflict situations in organizations.

How a conflict situation will change over time, how its interrelated components will alter and the environment, in which it occurs will respond, is dependent upon the administrator's efforts to manage or influence it. This in turn is related to one's understanding of the source of a specific conflict situation.

Process of Conflict:

Process of conflict consists of 4 stages or levels of conflict according to which the development of relationships between the sides involved in conflict is shown.

The first stage is also called as

latent stage

in which certain characteristics, like communication, structure and personal variables, can lead to conflict. It is important to point out that it is not necessary to have the simultaneous occurrence of all three factors, but occurrence of just one. Communication in organization is very important, in case there is lack of communication in the organization this can lead to conflict. But also to much communication, as well as obstacles in communication, possible lack of understanding or noise in the communication channel can produce conflict as a consequence.

The second stage, cognition and personalization stage represents the outcome of the impact of first phase factors. We distinguish two sub stages in this stage:

  • Perception of the participants in conflict - which does not mean that conflict, has occurred.
  • Not until there has come to articulation of feelings and expression of awareness of conflict, can we say that the conflict itself occurs.

In the third stage there comes to conflict manifestation. There is hostile behavior among participants in conflict and we say there comes to the so called open disagreement.

The last stage in this process of conflict is the conflict outcome which shows us the further relationship development of the participants in conflict and consequences of conflict. Consequences of conflict can be manifest through increased working efficacy of the organization in whole or quite the contrary, the decrease of working efficacy [8x].

Conflict management styles:

The success of the organization depends on the ability of conflict recognition and the very way of conflict management. Conflict management implies integration of all factors which can contribute to conflict resolution or its prevention. Those factors are improvement of communication and practicing discipline in the organization, as well as having in mind the life phases of parties included. Different authors know about various approaches to conflict management. Besides five typical approaches and strategies on conflict management which we will show and explain, it is important to point out that an important role bears also the organization itself as the third party in conflict. The organization appears as the mediator between adversaries or as arbitrator. This third party in organization are managers which by using their experience have to constantly develop new strategies and tactic for conflict resolution by using their experience. Moreover, it is generally acknowledged that conflict represents the most severe test of manager's interpersonal skills.


Thomas and Kilmann identified a conflict-handling grid comprised of five conflict management styles based on two dimensions: assertiveness and cooperativeness.

Assertiveness is the motivation of an individual to achieve his/her own goals, objectives, and outcomes, while cooperativeness assesses the willingness to allow or help the other party to achieve its goals or outcomes. Any of the five conflict resolution styles might be appropriate based on the circumstances of the situation and the personalities of the individuals involved.

Avoiding Conflict Resolution Style

The avoiding style is low on both assertiveness and cooperativeness. In other words, the manager is not very cooperative in helping the other individuals to achieve their goals, but neither is he/she aggressively pursuing his/her own preferred outcomes in the situation. The original problem, conflict, or situation is never directly addressed or resolved. However, avoiding behavior might be appropriate when the issue is perceived by the manager to be trivial. It might also be an appropriate approach to use when there is no chance of winning or when disruption would be very costly.

When is Avoiding Appropriate?

Avoiding conflict can be an appropriate choice, depending on the circumstances. According to Thomas-Kilmann avoiding is an appropriate form of dealing with conflict when used in the following situations:

  • When an issue is trivial and other issues are more important or pressing - use time and effort where it will be most productive.
  • When there is no opportunity to constructively address the concern - attempts to deal with the problem will likely result in futility and may make matters worse. It may not be the right time or place.
  • When the potential cost of confronting the conflict outweighs the benefits in addressing it - this requires assessment and judgment.
  • To buy time and give angry people an opportunity to "cool down" so that tensions can be reduced - it is important for parties to take a break to regain perspective and composure when the situation becomes heated.
  • To refrain from making a rushed decision and allow time to obtain more information or support - well planned and prepared decisions are usually the best decisions.
  • When it is more appropriate for others to resolve the conflict - resist getting in the middle of conflicts that are better dealt with by other people.

Working with Conflict Avoidant Individuals

It is clear that the use of avoiding dealing with conflicts and differences can have both positive and negative implications. When working with individuals as a supervisor, mediator, or friend it is helpful to get them to consider the pros and cons of avoiding conflict. Developing a strategy or plan requires that conflict avoidant individuals at least consider their options. [10x]

Choosing a conflict mode other than avoiding may be understood by conflict avoidant people as a better option but acting on this choice can still be very difficult. Ensure that emotions are under control so that the facts, beliefs, and goals regarding the disagreement can be clarified and understood as objectively as possible. Excessive fear can be emotionally paralyzing.

Role playing or writing out a plan of action can give a conflict avoidant person the confidence they need to deal with the conflict. Assertiveness coaching may also help. These preparatory approaches allow individuals to express their thoughts and feelings in a manner that is typically less stressful than talking about them spontaneously.

It is possible that one party will be in a relative power position over another, such as a boss vs. employee. In these situations involve a person in a mediator role who can be neutral yet balance the power relationship so that the weaker party will develop the courage to address their concerns. When this is not possible the weaker party may need to include another person as a third party advocate or observer to help give them some support. [10x]

Competing Conflict Resolution Style

The competing style of resolving conflict is also known as the win-lose approach. A manager using this style, characterized by high assertiveness and low cooperativeness, seeks to reach his/her own preferred outcomes at the expense of other individuals. This approach may be appropriate when quick, decisive action is needed, such as during emergencies. It can also be used to confront unpopular actions, such as urgent cost cutting.

The strategy of “competing” as a means of gaining power and control stems from early childhood and is reinforced throughout our years in school and college. Many children learn that they can obtain material objects as well as social control over people by using assertive, demanding or aggressive behavior. As they mature they use their talent to compete to “be the best” student, athlete, musician, etc. or to socially compete to be popular and have status among peers. Some youth learn to deal with disagreements by persuading others to accept their position. Others use power negatively in the form of arguments, threats, intimidation, or physical fighting. Youth who are effective at competing are deemed to be successful. Children and youth who do not stand up for themselves in conflicts may be seen as weak. Many video games and other media directed at youth promote the thrill of engaging in conflict with the goal of defeating the “enemy”, often using any means possible. All of these dynamics promote the use of competitiveness. While parents and teachers also instruct children to be kind, considerate, and cooperative there remains a strong inclination toward using competitiveness as a means of solving problems and achieving success.

The value of competing to resolve differences and achieve goals continues into adulthood and employment. Individuals compete for status and position within organizations, sometimes being rewarded for their ability to achieve business goals by being better than their internal colleagues or external business competitors. Successful leaders demonstrate an ability to strategically use their competitive energy and skills for personal and professional benefit. While competing can be productive it can also cause problems when used excessively or inappropriately. It can lead to misuse of power, fraudulent acts, and unethical or illegal activity as we have seen in the situation at Enron and in other business and political events in the news. Truly successful people develop the judgment and skills to use competitiveness effectively and appropriately. [10x]

Competing is an appropriate form of dealing with conflict when used in the following situations:

  • When a quick decision and action is needed.
  • When the outcome is critical and cannot be compromised.
  • When you know you are right and are doing the correct thing.
  • In emergencies or when safety is a concern.
  • When being right matters more than preserving the relationship with the other party.
  • When important but unpopular actions are needed such as cost-cutting, down-sizing, enforcing rules, or administering discipline.
  • When one's position, authority, or rights are being challenged.
  • When implementing strategic change and strong, confident leadership needs to be demonstrated.

When used inappropriately competing in conflict situations can lead to negative consequences such as:

  • When it strains relationships leading to resentment and retaliation.
  • When it causes intimidation which inhibits important communication, discussion of alternative ideas and attempts at problem solving.
  • When collaboration or compromise would lead to a better exchange of information and better decisions or outcomes.
  • When personal drive for power and control overrides the best interests of the organization.
  • When it results in diminished commitment and support from staff.
  • When it is indicative of a highly competitive personality trait resulting in overuse, causing a person to not recognize when it is important to quit or take another stance.
  • When “winning at all costs” results in harm to people or the organization.
  • When the personal relationship is more important than the issue at stake.

In attempting to address a conflict with another person who differs with you and takes a competitive position it may be helpful to do the following:

  • Allow the person to first thoroughly explain their position, asking clarifying questions.
  • Summarize and repeat what you have heard to assure mutual understanding.
  • Acknowledge the parts that you agree with.
  • Ask the party to carefully listen to your position, clarifying points of agreement and disagreement, using logic and data to support your perspective.
  • Consider having both positions put into writing for review and consideration.
  • Minimize discussion or expression of feelings or subjective elements unless the other party seems open to this perspective.
  • Point out the mutual benefits of a decision that involve collaboration or compromise if this is an option.
  • Help the other party to understand how your position will benefit him/her and how they can gain from agreement with your proposal.
  • If necessary, calmly inform the other party that you have the power, influence, or ability to win a power contest and that he/she will be better off not to continue to compete over the outcome of the decision that needs to be made.

When working with individuals or groups as a neutral third party or mediator it is helpful to get the parties to consider the points made above. It is possible that one party will be in a relative power position over another, such as a boss vs. employee or a provider vs. consumer. In these situations the mediator must work to be neutral yet balance the power relationship so that each side effectively presents their case and hears that of the other. Helping the parties in conflict to understand the facts as well as the impact of the disagreement may also move them toward conciliation. After listening to each other competing may still be the conflict mode of choice for one or both parties and they may elect to take another approach if they determine that it will be more productive.

Accommodating Conflict Resolution Style.

This style reflects a high degree of cooperativeness. It has also been labeled as obliging. A manager using this style subjugates his/her own goals, objectives, and desired outcomes to allow other individuals to achieve their goals and outcomes. This behavior is appropriate when people realize that they are in the wrong or when an issue is more important to one side than the other. This conflict resolution style is important for preserving future relations between the parties.

Of the five conflict styles, accommodating or harmonizing, is viewed as the "peacekeeper" mode as it focuses more on preserving relationships than on achieving a personal goal or result. However in a dispute this creates a lose/win relationship where the accommodating party may make a choice to acquiesce to the needs of the other, sometimes out of kindness and sometimes to avoid conflict or stress. "Giving in" and letting the other person "take" is the result when this choice is made. While this may be seen as a weak or non-productive position there are situations when this approach is preferable and will gain more for a person than by taking a strong position. It can be both a productive and unproductive strategy in the "give and take" process. [11x]

When is Accommodating Appropriate?

According to the Thomas-Kilmann and Kraybill literature accommodating is an appropriate form of dealing with conflict when used in the following situations:

  • When preserving or building the relationship is more important than winning the issue at hand.
  • When supporting the needs of the other party is feasible, appropriate and does not come at significant personal cost.
  • When a person realizes that they are wrong and that the alternate position is better.
  • When competing will produce a negative outcome, such as when the other person is in a position of authority or power.
  • To help someone learn and grow from the outcome of their decision, even though it may differ from their own.
  • To restore harmony during a tense moment or after a disagreement.
  • When a positive outcome is unlikely and it is better to end the dispute and move on.
  • To satisfy a complaint when in the process of providing customer service.

Working with "Accommodating" Individuals

An accommodating person may need to develop skills and confidence in becoming more assertive in communicating their personal needs and boundaries. Assessing the impact of the conflict on their current and future well-being can be a powerful motivator to take a constructive course of action. Role playing or writing out a plan of action can give an accommodating person the confidence they need to deal with the conflict. Assertiveness coaching may also help. These preparatory approaches allow individuals to express their thoughts and feelings in a manner that is typically less stressful than talking about them spontaneously. When handled appropriately, accommodating people will find that confronting problem situations will earn them more respect and support than taking the softer role of giving in to the person or problem.

In situations where one party is in a relative power position over another, such as a boss and employee, a decision needs to be made regarding the merits of accommodating a decision or action vs. taking a position of difference. In some situations this can be viewed as insubordination and disciplinary action could occur. However if the differing position is well thought out, supported by data, and offers a constructive alternative it may be respected and appreciated.

Compromising Conflict Resolution Style.

This style is characterized by moderate levels of both assertiveness and cooperativeness. Compromise can also be referred to as bargaining or trading. It generally produces suboptimal results. This behavior can be used when the goals of both sides are of equal importance, when both sides have equal power, or when it is necessary to find a temporary, timely solution. It should not be used when there is a complex problem requiring a problem-solving approach.

The use of compromise is a common solution to resolving disagreements in negotiation and mediation processes. While it may produce an agreement, compromise does not always resolve problems that contain underlying interpersonal or organizational conflict. This is because compromise is frequently a "settled" resolution to a problem and not typically the optimal solution sought by either party. It may generate a functional or material solution but not resolve emotional or behavioral issues associated with the disagreement. As a result one or both parties in the dispute may continue to ill feelings or other dissatisfaction that can surface again if the parties continue to have contact with each other. [12x]

Compromise is a strategy commonly associated with purchasing a car or home, settling a divorce, or resolving labor contract disputes. When an agreement is reached and the parties separate, the compromise process can help both parties feel satisfied that they have reached an acceptable solution. However in disputes such as a divorce or labour contract agreement the parties typically resume a functional relationship after the negotiation and the compromise agreement might not produce a truly satisfactory solution to the problems. As a result lingering anger, resentment or dissatisfaction may trigger subsequent conflicts.

Agree to Disagree

Using compromise to settle a conflict or dispute requires the parties involved to be consciously aware that the outcome might be less than they had originally hoped for. The final decision may be one that is acceptable but not optimal. There can be reluctance or resistance to using compromise as an approach to conflict resolution when the result seems like a loss. However if the focus is on what is achieved, rather than on what has been given up, there is a greater likelihood that the parties will leave with feelings of satisfaction and acceptance.

There may be a need to "agree to disagree" on some points when the dispute seems intractable and the reality that they will not be able to totally agree sets in. Agreeing to disagree is required more often when there is disagreement over values or principles rather than facts or methods. When both parties are able to truly listen and attempt to respectfully understand the position of the opposing party they can often come to accept their disagreements. The mutual acceptance of differences increases the likelihood of a productive resolution to the dispute.

Compromise can be an effective method for managing conflict and differences but it is not always the best choice. Resorting to compromise when other conflict modes (avoiding, accommodating, competing or collaboration) may be more appropriate can result in a process or outcome that is not helpful for the situation at hand. It is important that vital issues or significant requirements are not lost in the course of compromise. Sometimes other creative solutions are needed. All differences and disagreements do not need to be negotiated. Effective individuals know when to use compromise and when other approaches to problem solving are needed. [12x]

When is Compromise Appropriate?

Using compromise to resolve a disagreement or dispute is appropriate in the following situations:

  • When the general welfare of the organization will benefit from both parties giving in on some of their demands.
  • When differences have been recognized and "aired" and there is a need to move forward.
  • When it is unrealistic to totally satisfy everyone involved in the disagreement.
  • When the goals of both parties have equal importance and merit.
  • When the situation requires a quick resolution, even if temporary.
  • When there are options and the use of bargaining or negotiation will help to reach mutual agreement.
  • When the outcomes are moderately important and do not warrant the extensive use of time and energy that may be needed when using collaboration.
  • As a secondary or back-up approach when competing or collaboration modes are not working.
  • When the value of maintaining relationships is more important than the tangible outcomes of the disagreement.
  • When the parties can agree to disagree and live with the decision.

Collaborating Conflict Resolution Style

This approach, high on both assertiveness and cooperativeness, is often described as the win-win scenario. Both sides creatively work towards achieving the goals and desired outcomes of all parties involved. The collaboration style is appropriate when the concerns are complex and a creative or novel synthesis of ideas is required. The downside of this approach is that the process of collaborating mandates sincere effort by all parties involved and it may require a lot of time to reach a consensus.

Popular literature in the areas of leadership, management, organizational change, and personal/professional development frequently advocates for collaboration and win/win solutions when dealing with differences and solving problems. Some authors would suggest that we should always pursue this method of interacting. While collaboration is a desirable goal and has many positive aspects it may not always be the best approach to achieving desired outcomes. Understanding the role of collaboration in resolving problems can help to determine when to use this particular approach.

Collaboration = Win/Win

Collaboration is described as being a win/win agreement because both parties come out of the engagement completely satisfied with the resolution or outcome. It is an integrative process which may involve a synergy of ideas, beliefs, and feelings resulting in an optimal outcome.

Competitiveness may be instinctual and is certainly reinforced in children as they vie for position, approval and success in their family, in school, and in non-academic endeavors such as sports, music, and even video games. As adults we also find ourselves believing that being competitive will bring us achievement and success. Our litigious society suggests that people think that they need to challenge others and resolve problems by using confrontational procedures such as grievances and law suits. These social dynamics often discourage inclinations toward collaboration - which is the opposite of competing. [13x]

Collaboration is not the same as cooperation, though these terms are often used interchangeably in literature regarding methods of effectively working together. Cooperation suggests that those involved choose to interact in a supportive and helpful manner. That in itself is not collaboration. Cooperation can be a dynamic in three of the Thomas-Kilmann conflict modes - collaborating, compromising and accommodating. It is not an element of the other two conflict styles - competing and avoiding. Therefore individuals may demonstrate cooperation when they are in the process of compromising to reach a "middle ground". One party may also cooperate when he/she chooses to acquiesce and accommodate to the desires of the other because the issue is not worth struggling over. Neither of these forms of cooperation are collaboration as the outcomes are not win/win.

Effective Use of Collaboration

Collaboration is high in assertiveness and high in cooperation working best when the issues at stake, and the quality of the relationships, are important to both parties. This can occur in personal or family problems, workplace interactions, and business contracts.

Due to the amount of time, effort, trust, and cooperation involved in this process it is usually only recommended when the nature of the problem is considered to be highly important. When this is not the case other forms of conflict resolution - competing, compromise, accommodating, or avoiding - may be more appropriate and successful.

A willingness to trust and openly listen to alternative ideas and views is essential for collaboration to be successful. Participants must be focused on an outcome that is desirable for all concerned and not just on their individual goals. Efforts by participants to support and confront proposals with integrity and respect can create an atmosphere that will ultimately result in an outcome that everyone can actively support. Sometimes it is helpful to have an independent third party facilitator to manage this process and constructively move it forward. [13x]

Techniques and skills that facilitate collaboration will enhance the success of this process. Consider use of the following:

  • Clarification that the parties involved have an interest in using a collaborative process to work out the problem
  • Ensuring that there is adequate time and appropriate space for the meeting
  • Stating the situation as a mutual problem
  • Avoidance of personal criticism and blame
  • A willingness to be flexible and open minded in search of the best solution
  • Brainstorming and "out of the box" thinking to facilitate new ideas and options
  • Reflective listening in which each party paraphrases what they hear the other saying
  • Use of the word "we" instead of "I" to demonstrate mutuality
  • Courage to assertively identify and address personal feelings about the matter
  • Identification of multiple ideas and options for consideration
  • Clarification of the mutual benefits of potential solutions
  • Provision of time for parties to take ideas back for reflection and discussion with stakeholders
  • A commitment to resolution and action based on the decision or outcome

The benefits to collaboration include:

  • Sincerity in efforts to clearly present and actively listen to ideas
  • Objective assessment of pros and cons
  • Mutual learning
  • Growth in understanding and appreciation of differing perspectives
  • Synergy resulting from combined information and efforts
  • A deepening of respect and strengthening of relationships
  • Decisions and results that are of high quality
  • Commitment to the outcomes.

Organizational Techniques

CPM (Competitive Profile Matrix)

What is CPM (Competivtive Profile Matrix)?

Competitive profile matrix is an essential strategic Management Tool to compare the firm with the major players of the industry. Competitive profile matrix shows the clear picture to the firm about their strong points and weak points relative to their competitors. The CPM score is measured on basis of critical success factors, each factor is measured in same scale mean the weight remain same for every firm only rating varies. The best thing about CPM that it includes your firm and also facilitates to add other competitors make easier the comparative analysis.

CPM is use full tool to communicate those attributes and show how the competition is addressing them. The matrix figure not only creates a powerful visual catch point, it conveys information regarding gaps in the current offerings, setting the stage to describe your competitive advantage and the basis for your company strategy.

Creating a competitive profile matrix requires an understanding of what the marketplace values, the key success factors, in other words, what makes the customer buy one company's product over another's? Think about a restaurant. People often choose to dine in restaurants based on a number of factors, including the location, the price and quality of the food, and atmosphere. Because you have strong understanding of your customer, you should be bale to identify the key success factors of your market space. Once you have the key success factors, you list your competition and your venture in the matrix and then evaluate how each company fares in dealing with the key success factors.

Finding information about your competition can be easy if a company is public, harder if it is private, and very difficult if it is operating in “stealth” mode (it hasn't yet announced itself to the world) .

Why CPM important for organization:

One thing we know about profitable growth is that companies that design and deliver more distinctive products can command a higher margin and are therefore more profitable. If your company is competing today only on cost then your future is at risk, this should be a Red Flag. Your products can easily be outsourced to lower cost producers either in the US or off-shore.

But by continually seeking out ways to make your products and services more unique and distinctive, as well as delivering measurable benefits to your customers, your company will on the road to developing a profitable growth plan now and in the future. The key is to take the first step on the road to profitable growth; the Competitive Profile Matrix is an excellent place to begin the journey.

Strategic Management in Organization:

It can be defined as art and science of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross functional decision that enable an organization to achieve its objectives. As this definition implies strategic management focus on integrating management, marketing finance/ accounting, production/operation, research and development and computer information systems to achieve organizational success. The term strategic management in this text used by synonymously with the term strategic planning.

The term strategic planning originated in 1950's and was very popular between mid -1960's, and mid- 1970's. During these years strategic planning was widely believed to be the answer for all problems. At that time much of corporate America was “obsessed” with strategic planning, following that “boom” however, strategic planning was cast aside during 1980s as various planning models did not yield higher returns. The 1990s, however, brought the revival of strategic planning, and the process is widely practised today in the business world.

A strategic plan is, in essence, a company's game plan. Just as a football team needs a good game plan to have a chance for success, a company must have a good strategic plan to be able to compete successfully. Profit margins among firms in most industries have been so reduced that there is littlie room for error in the overall strategic plan. A strategic plan results from tough managerial choices among numerous good alternatives, and signals commitment to specific markets, policies, procedures, and operations in lieu of other, “less desirable” courses of action.

Formulating CPM:

‘The CPM identifies a firm's major competitors and their particular strengths and weaknesses in relation to a sample firm's strategic position'.

There is some important differences between the EFE and CPM, first, the critical success factors in a cpm are border. These factors are also not grouped into opportunities and threats as in the EFE. In a cpm, the ratings and weighted scores can be compared to rival firms.

One of the best tools you can use to define new opportunities for growth is the Competitive profile Matrix Analysis. Using it will help you find opportunities to innovate with new or improved products, services and marketing strategies.

A competitive matrix is used to critically profile and compare your company against your known competitors. It is an analytical tool that helps you establish your company's competitive advantage in an easy to use and read format. At one glance you should be able to see your company's competitive landscape, your position in a given market and possible opportunities to differentiate your company's products and Services from the competition.

CPM includes both internal and external factors to evaluate overall position of the firm with respective to Their Major competitors.

Management, Marketing, finance/accounting, production/operations, research and development, and management information systems represent the core operations of most business. A strategic -management audit of a firm's internal operations is vital to organizational health. Many companies still prefer to be judged solely on their bottom- line performance. However, an increasing number of successful organizations are using the internal audit to gain competitive advantages over rival firms.

The IFE matrix, CPM, EFE matrix, and clear statements of vision and mission provide the basic information needed to formulate competitive strategies successfully. The process of performing an internal adjusts represents an opportunity for managers and employees.

What is IFE? (Internal factor Evolution)

Internal factors are extracted after deep internal analysis of the company. Obviously every company have some weak point and strong point that's the reasons internal factors are divided into two categories namely strengths and weakness.


Strengths are the strong areas or attribute of the company, which are used to overcome weakness and capitalize to take advantage of the external opportunities available in the industry.


Weakness are painful for the company means these are the weak factors which needs to be improve in future otherwise if they exposed to the competitors they can take the advantage of it.

Examples of Internal Factors:

There are few examples of internal factors of the company.


  • Strong marketing and promotion
  • Best product quality
  • Strong Financial condition
  • High Market Share
  • High value assets


  • High cost operations
  • Manufacturing cost is high
  • High employee turnover rate
  • Expensive products
  • Loss in joint venture

What is EFE (External factor evolution?

Externalfactors are extracted after deep analysis of external environment. Obviously there are some good and some bad for the company in the external environment. That's the reason external factors are divided into two categories opportunities and threats.


Opportunities are the chances exist in the external environment, it depends firm whether the firm is willing to exploit the opportunities or may be they ignore the opportunities due to lack of resources.


Threats are always evil for the firm, minimum no of threats in the external environment open many doors for the firm. Maximum number of threats for the firm reduces their power in the industry.

How to Build a Competitive Profile Matrix:

This matrix can be just a simple chart or table and typically starts with evaluation factors that are pertinent to your company's industry and that will help you begin to differentiate your products and services from your competitors. You can also include features and benefits in these factors. For features, answer simply Yes or No, and for benefits go deeper and assign a ranking versus your competitors of 1 - 5, with 1 being low and 5 being high. Ultimately, you will want to define those features that deliver significant benefits to your customers when compared to the competition.

There are five steps required in developing a CPM. , First, strategists need to identify key success factors in the industry by studying the particular industry and, through negotiation, reaching a consensus on the factors most critical to success. Of course, these key factors can vary over time and by industry. Cpm should comprise five to fifteen keys success factors.

The second step is to assign a weight to each key success factor to indicate its relative importance regarding success in the industry. Appropriate weights can be determined by comparing successful competitors with unsuccessful competitors.

Third, strategies should assign a rating to each competitor to indicate their perception of the firm's strength or weakness in returns of each key success factor.

The forth step, the weight assigned to each key success factor is then multiplied by the corresponding rating for each competitor to determine a weighted score for each firm. The weighted score indicates the relative strength or weakness of each competitor on each key success factor.

The final step developing the cpm is to sum the weighted score column for each competitor. This results in a total weighted score for ech firm, which reveals the relative over all strength of the sample firm compared to each major competitor. The highest total weighted score indicates the stronger competitor, while the lowest total weighted score reveals perhaps the weakest first.

Here's an example of a Competitive Profile Matrix :

As the result show Harley Davidson is dominating on critical success factors because the total weighted score is high compare to Yamaha and Honda

Analysis of the example:

Identify all of the key features or benefits that are important to your existing and potential customers and then rank how your company compares with your competitors.

Analyze what it means to your company's Profitable Growth strategy.

Here are a few things the CPM may reveal:

  • Improve your service function to help customers use your products more effectively
  • Develop a customer training function that trains the people who will use your products how to use them in the safest and most effective way
  • Develop new ways to easily customize your products to meet the differing needs of customers and will differentiate your products from the competition
  • Develop a new marketing campaign linked to a revised sales plan to communicate your message of cost effective benefits more clearly to potential customers.
  • If you find an opportunity to develop a new product that will further differentiate your company, form an internal team, set a time line and find available and affordable resources to help you get this done as quickly as possible
  • Use this competitive matrix as an internal sales training tool to help your sales staff and outside reps communicate your company's competitive advantage more clearly to customers
  • Use the matrix to find ways to improve your products or services when compared to your competitors.


Rating in CPM represents the response of firm toward the critical success factors.

Highest the rating better the response of the firm towards the critical success factor.


Weight attribute in CPM indicates the relative importance of factor to being successful in the firm's industry.

The weight range from 0.0 means not important and 1.0 means important, sum of all assigned weight to factors must be equal to 1.0 otherwise the calculation would not be consider correct.

Weighted Score:

Weighted score value is the result achieved after multiplying each factor rating with the weight.

Total Weighted Score:

The sum of all weighted score is equal to the total weighted score.

Final value of total weighted score should be between ranges 1.0 (low) to 4.0(high).

The average weighted score for CPM matrix is 2.5 any company total weighted score fall below 2.5 consider as weak.

The company total weighted score higher than 2.5 is consider as strong in position.

The other dimension of CPM is the firm with higher total weighted score considered as the winner among the competitors

What is critical success factors?

Critical success factors (CSFs) have been used significantly to present or identify a few key factors that organizations should focus on to be successful. As a definition, critical success factors refer to "the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, or organization” .

Identifying CSFs is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSFs, or even allow firms to decide if they have the capability to build the requirements necessary to meet critical success factors (CSFs).

Success factors were already being used as a term in management when Rockart and Bullen reintroduced the concept to provide greater understanding of the concept and, at the same time, give greater clarity of how CSFs can be identified.


CSFs are tailored to a firm's or managers particular situation as different situations (e.g. industry, division, individual) lead to different critical success factors. Rockart and Bullen presented five key sources of CSFs: the industry, competitive strategy and industry position, environmental factors, temporal factors, and managerial position (if considered from an individual's point of view).

Each of these factors is explained in greater detail below.

The Industry

An industry's set of characteristics define its own CSFs. Different industries will thus have different CSFs, for example research into the CSFs for the business services, health care and education sectors showed each to be different after starting with a hypothesis of all sectors having their CSFs as market orientation, learning orientation, entrepreneurial management style and organizational flexibility .

An example of industry and company CSFs was presented by Rockart and Bullen (1981) in their research paper and is included here to illustrate their ideas (see figure 1). Further details on company CSFs are discussed in the next point.

Figure 1: Industry and company CSFs (source: )

The example presented by Rockart and Bullen was meant to illustrate that companies would have different CSFs and would not be completely similar. It can be seen though that many aspects of the CSFs could end up being similar for organizations in an industry.

Competitive Strategy and Industry Position

Not all firms in an industry will have the same CSFs in a particular industry. A firm's current position in the industry (where it is relative to other competitors in the industry and also the market leader), its strategy, and its resources and capabilities will define its CSFs. For example, in 2005 Caterpillar defined a new strategy to aggressively grow revenues over the long term. As part of that new strategy, Caterpillar defined several CSFs specific to the firm which were .

Organizational culture: "creating a culture that engaged employees, while focusing on safety and diversity"

Quality control: "accelerating the pace of quality improvement for its products, while focusing on improving new product introduction and continuous product improvement processes"

Cost focus: "implementing processes to become the highest-quality, lowest cost producer of our high-volume products in each hemispheric currency zone"

Other firms in Caterpillar's industry may or may not have the same CSFs, and are unlikely to have the same complete set.

Environmental Factors:

These relate to environmental factors that are not in

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