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Dealing with conflict

The final conflict management style, collaboration, is an integrative approach that reflects a desire to meet the interests of everyone involved in the situation.  The premise is that all needs are important and should be acknowledged, and when people work together, they generate solutions that address each person’s concerns.  

Collaboration involves exploring differences from all viewpoints, learning from one another’s perceptions, communicating to find creative solutions to a problem, and resolving a situation that would otherwise have people competing for scarce resources. 

A collaborative style is beneficial when the issues are too important to be compromised and when perspectives and commitments from stakeholders are needed. However, it is not appropriate if the conflict is superficial or if a quick decision is necessary. In those cases, compromising or accommodating may be better conflict management techniques.  

Finally, collaboration takes time and energy, and problem-solvers need strong interpersonal and communication skills.  In addition, mutual respect, trust, and commitment are imperative for successful resolutions. When conditions warrant and the parties are skilled, collaboration has the potential to produce win/win outcomes for individuals and organizations.