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Conflict Styles: Competing

Conflict Styles: Competing

Author: Sophia Tutorial
Description:

Identify examples of the competing conflict style.

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Tutorial
what's covered
There are five different conflict styles. This lesson will discuss one of these styles, and how it presents itself in various situations.

The areas of focus include:

  1. Competing as a conflict style
  2. Positive/negative outcomes of competing


1. COMPETING AS A CONFLICT STYLE

Recall that there are five different conflict styles. Competing is a conflict resolution style in which one party prioritizes his/her needs over others.

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

As a style, competing is:

  • High in assertiveness
  • Low in cooperativeness

image of conflict styles relative to their levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness.

terms to know
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.

As the concept of competing is based on the idea of clear winners and losers, it’s easy to see why this style favors a high amount of assertiveness and a low amount of cooperativeness.

Let's look at some examples of competing as a conflict style.

EXAMPLE

War stands out as an example since it almost always involves a clear winner and loser.

EXAMPLE

Think about a boycott or other form of nonviolent resistance. You could be boycotting regulations that you don’t think are good for a particular group of people and you're trying to protect that group’s civil rights. In this sense, you are competing against the powers that are trying to put regulations in place because you don't agree with them.


2. POSITIVE/NEGATIVE OUTCOMES OF COMPETING

This particular style of conflict has, as all styles do, both positive and negative outcomes.

A positive outcome is a resolution to a conflict that a party perceives as meeting his or her needs and/or reducing the likelihood of further conflict.

A negative outcome is a resolution that the party perceives as not meeting his or her needs and/or increasing the likelihood of further conflict.

term to know
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).

EXAMPLE

Return to the example of war.

  • Negative outcome: Violence is obviously a large negative result.
  • Positive outcome: Freedom can sometimes be a positive result. For example, the American Revolution led to freedom of the United States.

EXAMPLE

Consider the scenario of nonviolent resistance.

  • Positive outcome: You preserve the rights of a particular group of people.
  • Negative outcome: Perhaps you don’t see any if you win this. You feel that this was a moral endeavor, and winning is positive. You don’t consider there to be any negative outcomes here, and some cases, there really might not be.

think about it
Do you tend towards the competing style as your preferred style? Can you think of a time when you responded to a conflict with this style? What was a positive and negative outcome of that conflict?

big idea
It’s important to remember that while competing might be the style that you tend towards and feel most comfortable with (your preferred style), that doesn't mean it's the only way that you can respond in a conflict. There are other conflict styles, and you, as well as anyone, can respond in any number of ways to a particular conflict.


summary
In this lesson, you learned about competing as a style of conflict, and what the positive and negative outcomes of using this style can be. You now understand that even though competing may be your preferred style, you always have the ability to respond to conflict in a different way.

Good luck!
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.

competing

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

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).