Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Interpersonal Conflict Handling Styles: A Survey of Chinese College Students1/STYLES DE REGLEMENT DU CONFLIT INTERPERSONNEL : UNE ENQUETE SUR LES ETUDIANTS CHINOIS

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Interpersonal Conflict Handling Styles: A Survey of Chinese College Students1/STYLES DE REGLEMENT DU CONFLIT INTERPERSONNEL : UNE ENQUETE SUR LES ETUDIANTS CHINOIS

Article excerpt


Thomas-Klimann Conflict Mode Instrument is a basic model for understanding and comparing interpersonal conflict handling styles. Individuals handle interpersonal conflict in various strategies, and may have a natural tendency toward one or two of these strategies. This research based on Thomas-Klimann Conflict Mode Instrument, investigated college students' preference and use of these styles in interpersonal conflict, and analyzed it with MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance). The results showed that* *1* *college students' preference and use of interpersonal conflict handling styles in order from high to low is compromising * * collaborating* *competing* *accommodating* *avoiding;* *2* there were significant differences between males and females on competing style.

Key words: college students, interpersonal conflict, styles

Résumé: L'Instrument du mode de conflit Thomas-Klimann est un model de base pour comprendre et comparer les styles de règlement du conflit interpersonnel. Les individus résoudent les conflits interpersonnels avec des stratégies variantes, mais ils ont une tendance naturelle à une ou deux d'entre elles. Cet essai, basé sur l'Instrument du mode de conflit Thomas-Klimann, étudie la préférence et l'utilisation de ces styles dans les conflits interpersonnels et les analyse avec MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance). Les résultats montrent que : premièrment, l'ordre du haut en bas de la préférence et l'utilisation des styles de règlement du conflit interpersonnel des étudants est : compromis- collaboration- compétition- accomodement- évitement ; deuxièment, il y a des différences signifiantes entre les hommes et les femmes sur le style de compétion.

Mots-Clés: étudiants, conflit interpersonnel, styles


What is conflict? Thomas defined it as a "process which begins when one party perceives that another has frustrated, or is about to frustrate, some concern of his" (Thomas, 1992). Interpersonal conflict is a pervasive psychological phenomenon. It exists almost everywhere.

There are three views about conflict: positive, negative and balance. The positive view claims that the organization of the conflict can be a positive force. Conflict resolution process can stimulate the enthusiasm generated within an organization, this process may not only lead to a revolution and change, but also more likely to make changes to be accepted. The negative view insists that conflict could have serious negative effects for making efforts deviate from goal, and depleting resources, especially time and money. If serious, the conflict of thoughts, ideas and beliefs may lead to anger, tension and anxiety. The balanced view, which synthesizes the above two arguments, deems that the conflict may sometimes be what we hope, and at other times could be destructive. Although some conflicts can be avoided and reduced, others must be solved and managed properly. Thus it can be seen that, the conflict itself does not inevitably harm relations, the key lies in the strategy for dealing with conflict.

About the strategy, there is no best or worst conflict handling style. In such circumstance considered to be the best style may be ineffective in other cases, in that case the worst style is probably suitable under other circumstances. In other words, conflict dealing styles are situation-specific. However, the conflict preferences and behaviors of individuals for one or several styles are relatively steady. Therefore, it is worthwhile and meaningful to know one's own preference and then learn which style is most effective in a given situation.

As just described, interpersonal conflict is a universal phenomenon in human relations, it is inevitable in organizations. College students, a special social group, also face various interpersonal conflicts. If not handled properly, conflict will affect learning environment, efficiency, and even normal life. …

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