Conflict Resolution Questionnaire Analysis


This questionnaire was designed to systematically assess the approach you use to manage conflict when working with others.

What do your answers mean?

Based on the responses you gave, it appears that your style of conflict resolution tends to be best described as:

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Personal Conflict Management Styles

When two people are attempting to resolve a conflict, their individual behaviors can be described in terms of the levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness they express. Assertiveness measures the degree to which they attempt to satisfy their own concerns. It describes how they value the task and how they work to make their point clear. Cooperativeness describes the level to which they attempt to satisfy the other’s concerns. It measures how they value their relationships with each other. Plotting each person’s relative levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness on a coordinate system identifies five regions1 with the personal characteristics shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Conflict management styles

These conflict management styles are described as.

Competing - “I value the point being made more than our relationship.” “It's them or me.” “I've got to win this one!” “I'm sure they will see it my way if they just think about it.” “I know I'm right.” This is the “I win, you lose” position. A person whose actions are expressed this way is sometimes symbolized as a shark.

Avoiding - “I will be quiet and listen.” “It's not that big a deal.” “I'd rather just forget it.” “It's not worth the trouble.” “What difference could I make anyway?” “I lose, you lose.” A turtle.

Accommodating - “I value our relationship more than this point.” “Let's just get this over with so we can get on to other things.” “This tension is very uncomfortable. I'll just do what they want.” “Fine I give in, have it your way.” “I lose, you win.” A teddy bear.

Collaborating - “I'm sure if we work together we can come up with a better answer than either of us individually.” “I'm not giving in yet, but I am willing to hear your opinion, and give you mine.” “I win, you win.” An owl.

Compromising - “This isn't important enough to fight over.” “I don't want to be unreasonable.” “If I give her this, maybe she'll give me that.” “We could both live with that.” A fox.

People tend to use one of the first four conflict styles. The fifth style, compromising, describes a state that can be used temporarily to get someone to move from one of the other styles. For example, if the person is acting like a shark you can help him/her to become less assertive and more cooperative. If he/she is acting like a teddy bear you can help him/her to become more assertive and a little less cooperative. Some people make careers around their abilities to help people move from a preferred corner of Figure 1 to some other position in the figure.

This simple model represents choices people or teams make when they resolve conflicts. Depending on the situation, each can prove to be valuable. They need not be fixed reflections of personalities, education, or position in the organization. Every step of the way the people involved have choices about how they act.


1. Thomas, K.W. and R.H. Kilmann, 1974, The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Tuxedo, NY: XICOM, Inc.


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