What is Conflict Resolution? Definition, Techniques, and Benefits

What is Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution is the process of addressing and managing disagreements in a constructive manner. It involves identifying the underlying issues, facilitating open communication, and working collaboratively to find mutually acceptable solutions.

Effective conflict resolution seeks to resolve disputes while maintaining or improving relationships, ensuring that all parties feel heard and respected. Strategies for conflict resolution include avoiding, competing, accommodating, compromising, and collaborating, each appropriate for different situations.

By fostering a culture of open dialogue and fairness, conflict resolution can enhance workplace harmony, boost morale, increase productivity, and reduce stress, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more cooperative work environment.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

Let’s understand the five main techniques of conflict resolution by exemplifying each:


Avoiding is a conflict resolution strategy where individuals ignore or sidestep the conflict, hoping it will resolve itself or diminish over time. This approach is characterized by low assertiveness and low cooperativeness, as the person does not address their concerns or those of others involved.

When to Use: Avoiding can be appropriate when the issue is trivial, when emotions are high and a cooling-off period is needed, or when the potential damage of confrontation outweighs the benefits of resolution.

Example: A team member notices a minor mistake in a project report but decides not to address it immediately, believing it will not significantly impact the overall outcome. They choose to wait until the next review meeting to bring it up, hoping the context will be clearer and less charged.


Competing is a conflict resolution strategy that involves assertively pursuing one’s interests at the expense of others. This approach is high in assertiveness and low in cooperativeness, often resulting in a win-lose outcome.

When to Use: This strategy is suitable in situations where quick, decisive action is needed, such as in emergencies, or when enforcing unpopular but necessary rules. It’s also useful when the issue at hand is more critical than maintaining the relationship.

Example: In a safety-critical environment, a manager may decide to override team consensus to implement a strict new protocol that ensures compliance with legal safety standards, despite opposition from some team members who prefer less stringent measures.

Read More: 10 Causes of Conflict in the Workplace


Accommodating involves one party giving in to the wishes or demands of another. It is characterized by low assertiveness and high cooperativeness, as the accommodating party prioritizes the relationship over their concerns.

When to Use: This strategy is useful when the issue is more important to the other party, when maintaining harmony and avoiding disruption is crucial, or when one party realizes they are wrong.

Example: During a meeting, an employee realizes their proposal for a new marketing strategy is less viable than a colleague’s. They decide to withdraw their suggestion and support their colleague’s idea to ensure the team remains united and progresses efficiently.


Compromising involves both parties making concessions to reach a mutually acceptable solution. This strategy balances assertiveness and cooperativeness, often resulting in a lose-lose outcome where neither party fully achieves their desires but both gain some level of satisfaction.

When to Use: Compromise is effective when both parties have equally important goals, time is limited, and a temporary solution is needed, or when collaboration and competition are not feasible.

Example: Two department heads want to allocate the same budget for different projects. They agree to each take half the amount they originally requested, allowing both projects to proceed, albeit with reduced scope.

Read More: 10 Objectives of Group Formation


Collaborating is a strategy where all parties work together to find a solution that fully satisfies everyone’s concerns. It is high in both assertiveness and cooperativeness, aiming for a win-win outcome.

When to Use: This approach is ideal when the issue is too important to be compromised, when a long-term relationship is at stake, or when the objective is to merge insights from different perspectives to develop a creative solution.

Example: In a product development team, there is a disagreement over the design features of a new product. Instead of compromising, the team holds a series of workshops to integrate the best ideas from all team members, resulting in a superior product that benefits from diverse inputs and enhances team cohesion.

Benefits of Conflict Resolution

There are numerous benefits that conflict resolution can bring to the workplace. Here are seven to mention:

Improves Relationships

Effective conflict resolution fosters better communication and understanding among team members, strengthening relationships and building trust. When conflicts are resolved amicably, employees feel respected and valued, enhancing teamwork and collaboration.

Read More: The 5 Steps in the Controlling Process

Increases Productivity

Resolving conflicts quickly prevents disruptions and allows employees to focus on their tasks. A harmonious work environment reduces stress and distractions, leading to higher productivity and efficiency.

Enhances Problem-Solving

Addressing conflicts encourages open dialogue and the sharing of diverse perspectives. This collaborative approach often leads to innovative solutions and improved decision-making, as employees combine their insights to overcome challenges.

Read More: Controlling in Management

Boosts Employee Morale

When conflicts are handled constructively, it creates a positive work culture where employees feel safe to express their concerns. High morale and job satisfaction result from knowing that issues will be addressed fairly and respectfully.

Reduces Absenteeism and Turnover

A workplace that effectively manages conflicts is more likely to retain its employees. When conflicts are unresolved, they can lead to dissatisfaction, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. Effective conflict resolution helps in retaining valuable talent.

Promotes a Positive Work Environment

Resolving conflicts contributes to a supportive and positive work environment. Employees are more likely to engage, collaborate, and contribute to a constructive atmosphere where they feel their voices are heard and respected.

Strengthens Leadership

Leaders who handle conflicts effectively demonstrate strong management skills, earning the respect and trust of their team. Effective conflict resolution enhances a leader’s reputation, showcasing their ability to manage difficult situations and maintain a cohesive team.

Read Next: Directing in Management

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