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Exploring the Nature and Dynamics of Dealing with Conflict – Individual Assessment
Results and Discussion
Individuals have various ways of managing conflict. It has been and continuously measured by a number of different classifications and domains. Despite the wide array of conflict management strategies that one could utilize, by and large, most researches and theories merge on the Dual Concern Theory (Beersma, De Dreu, Evers, Kluwer, & Nauta, 2001, p. 646). It argues that two underlying dimensions are the basis on how we handle conflicts: cooperativeness or the extent to which one tries to do something for the benefit of another person’s concern, and assertiveness or the extent to which one only attempts to satisfy his/her personal concern. Five major styles of conflict management are identified, depending on which two-dimensional area in the plane they occupy. These styles are known as Forcing, Problem Solving, Avoiding, Yielding, and Compromising (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2016, p.314).
Furthermore, the conflict management styles in the Dual Concern Theory relates to the managerial grid of Blake and Mouton (1964), which purports that leading people and handling conflict are likewise a function of two dimensions – a high or low concern for people coupled with a high or low concern for production. These are the two grounds for the five leadership styles, represented by horizontal and vertical axes, and are used to illustrate them. Needless to say, each corresponds to one of the conflict management styles. For instance, Forcing is consistent with Authoritative management style, Problem solving is with Democratic, Avoiding is with Laissez Faire, Yielding is with Country Club, and Compromising is with Middle-of-the-Road (Van de Vliert & Kabanoff, 1990, p. 199).
The conflict management style questionnaires I answered yielded consistent results as shown above. These represent my preferences or inclinations in handling conflicts. Moreover, it demonstrates that my most preferred is Accommodating. From the Dual Concern Theory framework, it means that I am highly cooperative however unassertive (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2016, p.315; Kodikal, Rahman, & Pakeerrappa, 2014, p.3). My characteristics as an accommodator also include being selfless or being focused with satisfying and other party’s interest and cooperating to try to patch up conflicts (Barki & Hartwick, 1999; Dujak, Fosic, & Turkalj, 2008, p.510). Similarly, I prefer to be generous, kind, charitable, and nurturing through giving up my own interests or giving way to another person’s point of view to preserve or maintain the relationship I have with them. This is consistent with Country Club leadership style, which denotes a high concern for people and a low concern for production or task (Copley, 2008, p.7; Nikezic, Stojkovic, Djurovic, & Djordjevic, 2013, p.394; Koc, Kiliclar, & Yazicioglu, 2013, p.98). I mostly prefer to keep a harmonious atmosphere even if the task or productivity will be compromised. Nevertheless, it does not wholly mean that I do not perform. I also work hard as long as other people are both happy and secure.
My second highly preferred conflict management style is Avoiding, which is both low in cooperativeness and assertiveness dimensions (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2016, p.315; Kodikal, Rahman, & Pakeerrappa, 2014, p.3) and also known as “Withdrawing”. It means that I prefer to be indifferent to the interests of whichever parties and refuse to be part of any conflicts. However, it does not necessarily imply that I allow the other party to come to a decision on my behalf. Most of the time, I prefer to use delayed tactics, to change the subject or topic especially during confrontations, to sidestep to an issue, or to postpone any decision that may cause conflict (Elgoibar, Euwema, & Munduate, 2017; Stanley, 2004, p.27). In relation to the managerial grid, this conflict management strategy corresponds to Laissez Fair or often called as Impoverished leadership style. It has low in production orientation and relationship orientation (Copley, 2008, p.7; Nikezic, Stojkovic, Djurovic, & Djordjevic, 2013, p.394; Koc, Kiliclar, & Yazicioglu, 2013, p.98). In essence, I incline to be passive and prefer to exert minimal effort in the accomplishing the required task done or make delayed decisions. Moreover, according to Bass (2008) and Loi et al. (2009), as a leader, I prefer to not provide any motivation or satisfaction as regards to the demands of my subordinates. I choose to make them feel neglected or overlooked by leaving them and making them responsible in dealing with problems (as cited in Nguyen, Grover, & Nguyen, 2017).
Furthermore, based from the results, my mid score or third conflict management style preference is Collaborating also referred to as Problem Solving or Integrating. It signifies that I prefer to be highly cooperative and assertive (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2016, p.315; Kodikal, Rahman, & Pakeerrappa, 2014, p.3). As a collaborator, my characteristics include creative, innovative, and collective. I prefer to have equal interaction and involvement together with the other party and brainstorm to come up with new, unique ideas or solutions that will both satisfy our interests or concerns. It reflects to the Team or Democratic leadership style, which gives importance to both people and production needs (Copley, 2008, p.7; Nikezic, Stojkovic, Djurovic, & Djordjevic, 2013, p.394; Koc, Kiliclar, & Yazicioglu, 2013, p.98). Having mid-inclination to this style, I still prefer to be efficient and inclusive as a leader. I value teamwork, commitment, and ideas to carry out effective results and accomplishments of goals. In short, I prefer to achieve the team objectives efficiently and at the same time foster a strong bond with among the team members.
My next preference is the compromising conflict management style, which is also intermediate to the cooperativeness and assertiveness dimensions (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2016, p.315; Kodikal, Rahman, & Pakeerrappa, 2014, p.4). Having this as my fourth preference means that I would less prefer to engage in making deals or negotiation. Moreover, I also have less inclination to split the difference, to sacrifice something as long as the other party likewise give up something, or to arrive at solutions that only partially satisfy both party’s concerns or interests (Barki & Hartwick, 1999). In terms of the managerial grid, this strategy is related to Middle of the Road leadership style that in halfway in terms people and production orientations (Copley, 2008, p.7; Nikezic, Stojkovic, Djurovic, & Djordjevic, 2013, p.395; Koc, Kiliclar, & Yazicioglu, 2013, p.98). It denotes that I would less prefer to maintain a balance between the tasks that I need to get done as well as to my relationship with other people. I do not, however, prefer to totally uphold and commit to either of the two dimensions. With this leadership style, I have less preference to settle in suitable or average performance; because I do not exert substantial effort and only push my teammates moderately in achieving our goals. Hence, the needs of the people nor production are not totally met (Koc, Kiliclar, & Yazicioglu, 2013, p.98).
Lastly, my least preferred conflict management style is Forcing also called as Competing or Controlling, which is highly assertive but uncooperative (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2016, p.315; Kodikal, Rahman, & Pakeerrappa, 2014, p.4). The result means that I least prefer to be self-centered, aggressive, competitive, and overly confident. Also, I have least preference to a fight or to win while having no consideration to the other party’s concern. I least likely to incline on being fixed and firm on my point-of-views and to insist that they are always right. In relation, this conflict management strategy is reflective to Autocratic leadership style from the managerial grid. It is high in terms of concern for production however low in concern for people’s needs (Copley, 2008, p.7; Nikezic, Stojkovic, Djurovic, & Djordjevic, 2013, p.395; Koc, Kiliclar, & Yazicioglu, 2013, p.98). It means that I prefer least on focusing on the tasks or assignments and just view my teammates as vehicles to accomplish all of them.
In conclusion, undoubtedly, conflict management styles – forcing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating – are significant aspects of leadership styles – autocratic, democratic, middle-of-the-road, laissez faire, and country club – and, especially utile in characterization and distinction on the managerial grid. Conflict management styles from Dual Concern Theory are, indeed, compacted to the nature of Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid.
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