Communication and Problem Solving – Part Two


Conflicts have always been there in the history of mankind. These conflicts need to be resolved as quickly as possible for life to continue normally. Families, organizations and the society in general experience conflicts at some point (Mind Tools Limited, 2011). A conflict can turn out to be positive when viewed from the right perspective. When conflicts occur, they bring out some problems which could not be noticed before. When conflict resolution occurs successfully, the problems brought to the surface are also solved along leading to many unexpected benefits (Mind Tools Limited, 2011). This paper is going to highlight two conflict resolution styles developed by Thomas and Killman. These two sociology scholars developed five styles of conflict resolution but this paper is going to discuss the competitive and collaborative styles (Mind Tools Limited, 2011).

The Competitive Style

This is one of the five styles of conflict resolution developed by Thomas and Killman. In this model, those people aligned to the competitive style always declare firm positions with a clear knowledge of what they want (Carney, 2008). Those making decisions operate from a position of power and influence. This model is very useful in cases of an emergency when decisions need to be made as fast as possible (Mind Tools Limited, 2011). This style is also very useful when wrong decisions have been made and the people are facing exploitation. It is important to note that this style can only be applied when quick decisions are needed (Carney, 2008).

In this style, a leader is expected to come up with a firm decision regardless of whether the decision pleases everyone or not. There are always no negotiations and consultations in this model of conflict resolution.

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The Collaborative Style

Those people with an aim of meeting all the needs of stakeholders prefer using the collaborative style. Compared to the competitive style, the people using the collaborative style acknowledge the importance of everyone in the group and cooperate with everyone. This does not take away the fact that they can also be very assertive at times (Mind Tools Limited, 2011).

When bringing together a variety of divergent opinions in order to come up with the best solution to a problem, the collaborative style is normally very useful. This method is very important especially when there have been previous conflicts in the group. When important decisions need to be made, wider consultations and collaborations are always needed.

The collaborative style gives room for consultation which is vital in making quality and satisfying decisions (Carney, 2008).


Conflict resolution styles normally vary according the situation at hand and its context. According to the two styles highlighted above, it is evidently clear that the collaborative style is the one suitable for team environments. Groups are always prone to conflicts because they comprise of different individuals with divergent personalities and interests. To bring these people together, a conflict resolution style that acknowledges the views of everyone in the group is needed. In a team environment, it is important that the decisions made do not leave some members unsatisfied.


Carney, S. (2008). Conflict resolution styles. Retrieved on 2011-03-25 from < http://www.suite101.

com/content/conflict-resolution-styles-a44628> Mind Tools Limited. (2011). Conflict resolution. Retrieved on 2011-03-25 from <>


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