The Conflict Resolution Model


Psychologists agree that conflicts have to be dealt with in order ot prevent deadlock and recrimination and restore stability and communication. The question is, how? In Principle there are six different ways of dealing with a conflict situation: escape, fight. Give up. Evade responsibility, compromise or reach a consensus.

  1. Flight: Escaping is the same as avoiding. The conflict is not dealt with, and the situation remains the same. It can be assumed that neither side will gain anything. This is a lose-lose situation.
  2. Fight: Those who deal with conflict aggressively have only one aim: to win. But winning alone is not enough, as somebody also has to lose. This approach is about conquering the opponent, and asserting one ‘s own position in the face of resistance from others. The result is a win-lose situation.
  3. Give Up: Those who give up their own position in a conflict solve it by retreating, i.e. they lose. The result is a lose-win situation.
  4. Evade responsibility: Those who feel overwhelmed by a conflict often delegate the decision — and thus also the confrontation — to another authority, usually a higher one. This authority solves the conflict for them, but not necessarily wisely, and not necessary in delegator’s interest. There is a risk that the parties on both sides of the conflict will lose (lose-lose situation).
  5. Compromise: Depending on how it is perceived, a compromise is a solution acceptable to both parties. It is often felt that although the solution isn’t ideal, it is reasonable in the circumstances (win-lose/ win-lose).
  6. Reach a consensus: A consensus is based on a new solution that has been developed by both parties. In contrast to a compromise, it is win-win situation for both parties, because nobody has to back down. Instead, both parties develop a ‘third way’ together.

Our failures are due not to the defeats we suffer but to the conflicts we don’t participate in.