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Compromising

Compromising

Author: Marlene Johnson
Description:

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

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Tutorial

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You have two parties in conflict, both feel strongly about their particular viewpoint, but neither one really wants to budge. Compromising might be one way to approach the problem.

I'm Marlene, and today I'd like to talk about compromising as one of the conflict styles. So let's step back and define compromising as a conflict style. Compromising is a conflict resolution style in which parties agree to sacrifice some of their needs in exchange for having others met. Let's take a moment and see where compromising falls here on this graph.

The graph has an axis with assertiveness on one end and cooperativeness here on the bottom. And you'll notice that compromising lands right in the middle. We have high end here for assertiveness and low down here, and cooperativeness is moderately-- or rather compromising is moderately assertive.

Compromising is also moderately cooperative. So let's look at a little bit more specifically what we mean by cooperative and assertiveness.

So assertiveness. That is behavior in which a person confidently makes a statement without need of proof, affirming his or her rights without attacking another's. So stand up for yourself or don't make fun of the other person or put them down. That's assertiveness.

Cooperativeness is behavior in which two parties work in concert to achieve their mutual and respective individual goals. So compromising behavior falls right in the middle. Let's look at a couple of examples here.

One example or context that comes to mind, of course, is politics, where we, as the public of course, hope for compromise so that we can get some legislation. But you have Republicans on one side. You have Democrats on the other. And they feel strongly about particular positions that they have. Maybe something that they promise their constituents.

And many times they might come to a stalemate. We've seen this happen in Congress. And when they could reach a compromise, perhaps on taxes and spending, they can pass some legislation. So we'll compromise. We'll give a little bit on taxes, you give a little bit on spending, and we'll legislate.

Or, you might find a compromising conflict style works well at home, perhaps over the holidays. You and your spouse have been arguing about, where do we spend the holidays? With my side of the family? With your side of the family?

We seem to always go to your side of the family. We never go to my side of the family. Both involve travel. So you compromise. You decide that every other year you'll spend Thanksgiving with his family and then with your family. So you make that compromise in terms of dividing things equally. You give up a little bit of the holidays on your side. He does the same on his side. So those are two examples.

Now, this style of compromising can have both positive or negative outcomes. Let's take a moment and look at that. So positive and negative outcomes. They are resolutions to a conflict that a party perceives as meeting his or her needs and/or reducing the likelihood of further conflict. That would be positive. Or, not meeting his or her needs and/or increasing likelihood of further conflict. That would be negative.

So in the two examples I gave, let's go back to Congress. The positive, of course, outcome here of compromise is that legislation gets passed. We avoid a stalemate.

Negative could be that your particular constituents may think you've given too much on spending or you've given too much on taxes. And there might be some repercussions to pay when you go back to your district. So that's an example in that arena.

How about the holiday dinners?

Well, the positive is you get to see both sides of the family. And everybody is going to be included here. Negative is-- oh, this is the year that we're supposed to go see my partner's family, but this is going to be a special year in our family. I'm going to have to miss that.

Or, I feel really bad that I have to wait every other year. I really wish I could come to my family every year. You might feel like you've given up a bit too much here. So those are a couple of examples of both positive or negative outcomes of a particular compromise solution.

Now, it's important to remember that compromising is one way to respond to conflict. It might be your preferred way. Maybe you tend towards compromising. But it's not the only way you can respond to a conflict.

Anybody's capable of a number of different ways of responding to conflict. And there are five different conflict styles. But compromising might be the one that you tend towards if you do what would be called your preferred style. Everybody has their own preferred style.

So in closing, I want to thank you for being part of this tutorial, and I look forward to seeing you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Compromising

    A conflict resolution style in which parties agree to sacrifice some of their needs in exchange for having others met.

  • 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).

  • Cooperativeness

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

  • Assertiveness

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