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How would I describe my conflict behavior?
Preston Mills
COMM 1500 MWF 9:00AM
University of Georgia

The table above shows Preston Mills’ score on the workbook conflict survey

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The word “conflict” at first appearance has a sinister tone because we conceive conflict as fighting, quarrel, etc. Conflict in fact, is merely a disagreement but can end up escalating to extremes if not handled properly. Everyone who has lived and breathed has experienced some form of conflict. In example, let’s say you and your family are driving to a baseball game and your favorite team is playing against their rival. On the way to the game you happen to notice that in the backseat, Junior is complaining that the seatbelt is too tight and he’s insisting on unbuckling the seatbelt. You explain to Junior that he needs to keep his seat belt on for safety. Although it seemed like a normal conversation, without realizing, you and Junior were just involved in a conflict. Fast forwarding to the baseball game, you and your family are finding your seats and unfortunately someone is sitting in the seat you have purchased. You politely tell the individual that they are sitting in your seat but the individual refuses to move. Once again, you are involved in a conflict. There are many ways to deal with this conflict. You could physically move the individual out of the seat (competing), help the individual find a new seat (collaborating), offer to give your popcorn to the individual if they moved (compromising), find a new seat (avoiding), or explain to the individual that you purchased the seat but will let the individual continue to sit there as long as your family has a place to sit (accommodating). Nevertheless, there are many options that you can use while experiencing conflict, but the purpose of this essay is the elaborate on how I would describe my conflict behavior in situations. Throughout the essay, I will elaborate my primary and secondary conflict styles as well as my conflict tactics while also tackling the attributes that are due for some needed improvement.

According to the University of Wisconsin, Conflict styles are personalized ways that individuals cope with conflict. Usually, individuals rely on one or more conflict styles that are often determined by emphasis on the concerns for the self or the concern for others*. Basically, determining on the type of personality we carry, the ways we deal with conflict are segmented into 5 categories; Competing, Collaborating, Compromising, Avoiding, and Accommodating. The conflict style that we rely on the most is considered the Primary Conflict Style. Statistically, my primary conflict style is a tie between avoiding and accommodating with a 9 but I feel like rely on the accommodating style more often. Accommodating is sacrificing what might be beneficial to you to solve conflict with another individual. For example, my girlfriend called me and explained that she is upset about the fact that I couldn’t go to her sorority date night because I had to work. My first instinct is to make her feel better by explaining that I will take off work to go to the rest of her date nights. Therefore, I sacrificed my work schedule to accommodate for her date nights. I like using the accommodating conflict style because I strive to be a nice person even if it means I am on the short end of the stick. If I experience a conflict, I automatically try and accommodate for the other person because I care more about their feelings rather than my own. I know that makes me sound like a loser, but I feel like that’s the best way to quickly resolve a conflict. Another example of me using the Accommodating Style is when I am at work. Where I work, I deal with customers who are having vehicle problems so 90% of the time, the customer is upset that they are going to spending money on their vehicle. When the customer is explaining what is wrong with their vehicle, I ask them if the vehicle is close by to see if I can fix the issue free of charge when in most cases my coworkers would charge money. I do this because if I feel like if I can sacrifice my time and end up fixing the problem, I can resolve the conflict. I use this style because I like showing people that I am selfless in hopes that they will help someone in need down the line. Although some may disagree with Accommodation being effective in certain situations, I have found that it has helped me out more than anything.

Conflict tactics are personalized methods of handling conflict. During conflict, I primarily like to take a more diplomatic approach because I feel like if I can resolve conflict without causing more trouble, I feel like I can successful resolve the conflict. For example, I went home for the weekend, and my mother and I were going grocery shopping. She is a lady that likes to plan for everything and I am the type of person that is unprepared and rushing all the time. When it comes down to scheduling, my mother and I are two different people. I explain to my mom that we need to hurry up and go to the grocery store, so we can get back home to watch the Georgia game. She explains that she has a problem with me rushing everything and goes into detail that I need to stop rushing. We were in an argument that got heated and I suddenly remember the Jefferson Strategy that I learned in my Communications Class. I politely tell her that it is in our best interest that we can reconvene in 20 minutes, that way we can have adequate amount of time to calm down. We finally cool off and come to an agreement that we will leave in 10 minutes. According to Joyce Hocker and William Wilmot’s article, Conflict Tactics, “Collaborative, or integrative, tactics are aimed at finding a mutually favorable solution, and securing both parties’ agreement.” * While I was experiencing conflict, I used a more diplomatic tactic because it provided a better outcome than starting a fight. As the saying goes, “your get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

Conflict Styles. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Hocker, Joyce, and William Wilmot. “Conflict Tactics”, Chapter Five in Interpersonal Conflict, 2nd ed. rev. (Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1985), pp. 107-126.

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