Five Methods for Managing Conflict

By Abdulafeez Olaitan, UNILAG

Conflict arise from different sources, be it home or workplace, etc. However, there are strategies that could help manage the effects of conflict encountered at various times and locations. Here are 5 conflict management strategies:


This is a lose/win situation in that, it involves one party giving in to the demands of another. However, it is less helpful when one party accommodates another merely to preserve harmony or to avoid disruption. It often results in unresolved issues because the problem is only solved from the surface, not from the root.



Compromise is a middle way between two extremes. The “split the difference” concept is that everyone gives up a little bit of what they want, and no one gets everything they want. Simply, it is the settlement of differences by consent reached by mutual concessions.

Compromise is perceived as being fair, even if no one is particularly happy with the final outcome. Everyone involved gains and loses through negotiation and flexibility.



Here, people just ignore or withdraw from the conflict. They aren’t really contributing anything of value to the conversation and may be withholding worthwhile ideas.

Folks choose this method when the discomfort of confrontation exceeds the potential reward of resolution of the conflict. It is worthy of note that when conflict is avoided, nothing is resolved.



This method is depicted by the assumption that one side wins and everyone else loses. Competing is used by people who go into a conflict planning to win. They’re assertive and not cooperative.

Competing might work in sports or war, but it is rarely a good strategy for group problem solving because it doesn’t allow room for diverse perspectives.



A great way to collaborate and overcome conflict is the act of reaching out. This method is employed when people are both assertive and cooperative. It helps to allow each participant to make a contribution with the possibility of co-creating a solution that everyone can support.

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