Fight or Collaborate? 5 Interpersonal Conflict Types




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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Fight or Collaborate? 5 Interpersonal Conflict Types

🔥NEW I just read an interesting article about personal relationship management. Peterson and Behfar argue you can and should broadly distinguish a conflict/collaboration continuum of 5 categories of interpersonal work relationships, depending on the extent to which the interests of 2 colleagues, people, or parties clash or are aligned (from most negative to most positive):
  1. CONFLICT (Enemies) - Trying to defeat or deny another's interest. Playing a zero-sum game confronting the other. Make sure you understand the other's strengths and weaknesses. Look for alles to help you win.
  2. COMPETITION (Rivals) - Working to deter another in order to protect or advance self-interests. Look for the common ground and analyze what really drives the rivalry.
  3. INDEPENDENCE (Neighbors) - Acting to neutralize the impact of others on self-interests. Reduce your dependency of the other.
  4. COOPERATION (Friends) - Maintaining self-interests while also advancing joint interests. Be careful as situations might change.
  5. COLLABORATION (Allies) - Merging self-interests with the interests of others. When parties have important shared key interests and will benefit from a strong long-term relationship.
No single strategy is always best; smart people know when and how to apply a particular type, possibly adjusting their own style to the other's, balancing their own interests with the other's, carefully considering the risks and trade-offs, properly deciding how much to invest in each person, and when it's better to postpone taking action or to walk away.

❗Tip: The main starting point is to understand in each situation you have (at least 5) options and so do your colleagues. Their style/preference (for this situation) might well be different from yours…

Source: Peterson R.S. and Behfar K.J., "When to Cooperate with Colleagues and when to Compete", HBR Mar-Apr 2022, pp. 143-147.
 

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3
Anonymous
 

Competitive Team Member

One of the members of my project team works, let's call him Mark, works hard and often late into the...

 
6
Johan Roels
Consultant, Belgium
 

Fight or Collaborate... The Old 1+1 Story...

In my book 'Cruciale dialogen' I called this some ten years ago the one plus one game. 1+1=0 is wha...

 
1
SWAMINATHAN MURALI
India
 

Interpersonal Undercurrents

While I agree with the presentation of Mr Peiterson et al there is still one more factor, I believe,...

 
2
Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

Communication in Interpersonal Competitive Relations

@Johan Roels: Your 1+1 categories are very interesting and seem to focus on how various communicatio...

 
2
Dainy Arroyo
Manager, Mexico
 

Not Collaborating Co-worker

@Anonymous: I would recommend making Mark realize how important is that he collaborates with the tea...

 
4
Michelle P. Tinio
Business Consultant, Philippines
 

Success is not a One man Event

@Anonymous: If success is very important for him, then play on that. Let him understand that he is p...

 
2
Maria Elena Hoffmann
Management Consultant, Venezuela
 

Really Interesting!

I liked this article. I would like to know more about Murali's input. It sounds interesting to explo...

 
1
Afiong
Student (Other), Nigeria
 

An Aggressive-Competitive and Non-Productive Team Member

I have a member in my department that would not response to some piece of information but was pickin...

 
3
Johan Roels
Consultant, Belgium
 

1+1 Categories

@Jaap de Jonge: You have appreciately understood 'my' 1+1 communication categories. Communication IS...

 
4
Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

Interpersonal Communication and Relations

@Johan Roels: Thank you for elaborating. Agreed, interpersonal communication is crucial in interpers...

 
2
Johan Roels
Consultant, Belgium
 

My Take on 'a Conflict Model'

@Jaap de Jonge: Indeed, not alone for a tango you have to be two who are willing to give and to take...

 
2
Molokanova
Professor, Ukraine
 

Fight or Collaborate? 5 Interpersonal Conflict Types

I like this Five Interpersonal Conflict Types classification. Note however that one does not always...

 
2
Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom
 

Feeding Back on Mark's Behaviour

@Afiong and @ Anonymous : This seems to be a situation requiring an immediate appraisal of performan...

 
1
Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

7 Ways to Counter Interpersonal Conflicts

Regarding interpersonal conflicts, to work more effectively with "difficult" colleagues like microma...

   

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