Responses to conflict

How people respond in conflict can depend on a range of factors. Let’s hear from some students about how they usually respond to conflict.

Most people respond to conflict out of habit or because they do what seems like the easiest thing to do at the time. There are five basic responses to conflict, and we all tend to prefer one of these to the others (although we can use all of them at different times and in different circumstances).

This Personal Conflict Style exercise will give you an indication of your preferred way of dealing with conflict.

  • 1. Look at the inventory
  • 2. Follow the instructions for answering the questions
  • 3. Add up your scores
  • 4. Find out more about each style

The different conflict styles are commonly referred to as:

  • Accommodation (Give in)
  • Avoiding
  • Competing (Confrontation)
  • Collaborating (Problem Solving)
  • Compromising
  • There is no ONE BEST STYLE for every conflict situation. Each style has different benefits depending on the situation. That said, in many conflict situations, trying to work it out together with the other people involved in the conflict (the collaborating/problem solving style) tends to lead to longer lasting and more satisfying solutions.