Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Gender Differences in Conflict Resolution Styles (CRS) in Different Roles: A Systematic Review

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Gender Differences in Conflict Resolution Styles (CRS) in Different Roles: A Systematic Review

Article excerpt

Conflict is unavoidable phenomenon in the form of disagreements, dislikes, and arguments that prevails at all levels of human interactions: personal, professional, family, and social relationships. Conflicts occur at homes, public places and workplaces; between family member, spouses, coworkers, and peers and even between nations (Straus, 1980). Conflict is referred to as a state of opposition between two or more individuals and can be a difference over objectives, expectations or goals between persons or groups (Rahim, 2003). Conflicts at the work place decreases productivity as well as personal relationship quality associated with distress (Gauhar & Amjad, 2004). Conflict is an independent variable of organizational behavior and a significant determinant of productivity, efficiency, performance and job satisfaction (Turkalj, Fosic, & Dujak, 2008). Every organization goes through many conflicts between various employees on daily basis. Even though conflicts cannot be avoided, it can be managed timely. Conflict management means to design effective strategies to minimize the dysfunctions and enhance the constructive functions of organizational conflicts in order to increase performance of organization and its members (Rahim, 2002).

Diverse models of handling interpersonal conflict have been proposed in literature. Deutsch (1949) first suggested the two factors cooperative- competitive model of conflict management. Putnam and Wilson (1982) identified three styles of conflict resolution i.e., non-confrontation, solution-orientation, and control. Lawrence and Lorsch (1967) suggested different styles i.e., confrontation, forcing and smoothing to manage conflict. Rahim evaluated these models and identified limitations regarding clarity of methods and analyses.

Three category conflict styles are not reliably and comprehensively investigated. Pruitt (1983) suggested a four style model of handling conflict based on the dual concern model for self (high or low) and for others (high or low), resulting in the following styles: yielding, problem solving, inaction, and contending. Blake and Mouton (1964) proposed five types of CRS which were forcing, withdrawing, smoothing, compromising, and problem solving. Thomas and Kilmann (1976) identified five main styles of dealing with conflict that vary in their degrees of cooperativeness and assertiveness. These include competitive, avoiding, collaborative, compromising, and accommodating (Enact: Life Long Learning Programme, n.d.).

Similarly, Rahim (2002) put forward conflict management styles i.e., domination, avoiding, integrating, obliging, and compromising. Competitive style (Dominating/Disregarding: I win, you lose) is forcing one's will over the other to achieve one's objective, ignoring the needs of other party. It shows high self-concern (Rahim, 2002). Avoiding style (I lose, you lose) refers to withdrawal from the issue and suppress it. This is considered as a weak and ineffective style (Lim, 2000). It involves least concern for self and others normally termed as withdrawal or sidestepping (Rahim, 2002). Collaborative style (integrating /problem-solving style: win-win situation) is achieved through cooperation between parties which reflect high concern for both self and others and leads to problem solving and creative solutions which are efficient and wise (Fisher & Ury, 1991). Compromising style (I win some, you win some) reflects moderate concern for both ends and it is based on sharing as well as give and take to reach at mutually acceptable solution. Both the parties lose some of their interest and seek middle ground position to achieve their goal. Accommodating style (Obliging/Yielding: You win, I lose) is nonassertive style where individuals disregards one's own needs and accedes to other individual/partner's desires. It is self-sacrifice style which reflects selfless generosity obedience to another person. It is a style involving low concern for self and high concern for others. …

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