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Competing

Competing

Author: Marlene Johnson
Description:

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand how the competing conflict style presents itself in various situations

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Tutorial

Video Transcription

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Winner take all. Loser's left with the spoils. I think quite often, we frame conflict that way, in terms of winners and losers. I'm Marlene. And today, I'd like to look at competing as a style of conflict that really is based on this idea of winners and losers-- competition.

So let's step back and define the competing conflict style. Competing is a conflict-resolution style in which one party seeks to meet his or her own needs at the expense of another party's needs. So you'll notice that competing fits here along these two axes as high in assertiveness. We have assertiveness along this axes, competing as high here. And along the bottom axis of cooperativeness, competing comes in very low.

Let's pause and take a moment to look at assertiveness and cooperativeness. So assertiveness-- assertiveness is behavior in which a person confidently makes a statement without need of proof, affirming his or her rights without attacking another's. And cooperativeness is behavior in which two parties work in concert to achieve their mutual and respective individual goals. So I think we can see why competing here is high in assertiveness but low in cooperativeness.

Let's look at a couple of examples. I think war is an example, certainly, that stands out, where there are winners and there are losers. And we know that war, of course, has a lot of violence in it. And there could be negative outcomes.

There could be, maybe perhaps, a positive outcome. The American Revolution led to the freedom in this country. So there can be both positive or negative outcomes.

Let's look at another example here. Perhaps it's a nonviolent resistance or a boycott. You're boycotting regulations that you think are not good for a particular group of people. You're trying to protect the civil rights of a group of people.

So you're involved here, competing against the powers that are trying to put regulations in place that you don't agree with. So there could be positive or negative conclusions here, as well. Let's take a moment and look at the positive and negative outcome.

OK. Positive and negative outcomes are resolutions to a conflict that a party perceives as meeting his or her needs and/or reducing likelihood of further conflict. That would be positive. Or not meeting his or her needs and/or increasing likelihood of further conflict. So as we have said here, obviously, within war, with the violence, we know that there are negative outcomes here. There could also be the positive outcome of freedom.

Nonviolent resistance-- there is the positive outcome that you have preserved the rights of a particular group of people. And perhaps the negative outcomes-- you don't quite see any if you win this. You feel that this was a moral endeavor. This was a moral cause.

And winning it is positive. You don't see that there are negatives here. And in some cases, maybe there are not.

So it's important to remember that all conflict styles are styles that we are all capable of responding to. And competing might be one that you tend towards. People have their preferred style.

Even if competing is the one that you tend toward-- you want to go all out and win when you're in a conflict-- it doesn't mean that you are incapable of using other conflict styles. It just means that that's the one that you are most comfortable with. So thank you for being part of this tutorial. And I look forward to seeing you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Assertiveness

    Behavior in which a person confidently makes a statement without need of proof, affirming his/her rights without attacking another's.

  • Cooperativeness

    Behavior in which two parties work in concert to achieve their mutual and respective individual goals.

  • Positive/Negative Outcomes

    Resolutions to a conflict that a party perceives as meeting his/her needs and/or reducing likelihood of further conflict (positive) or not meeting his/her needs and/or increasing likelihood of further conflict(negative).

  • Competing

    A conflict resolution style in which one party seeks to meet his/her own needs at the expense of another party's needs.