Conflict Management and Its Types


Conflict results from the breakdown of effective communication in an organization, or between different parties. It can be defined as either perceived or real differences that result from mutually exclusive goals, ideas, values, feelings, actions or expectations (Yoder-Wise, 2011). If not well managed, conflicts can be escalated and result in stressful situations. According to Yoder-Wise (2011), there are five conflict management styles including confrontation, accommodation, collaboration, compromising, and avoiding. Confrontation is whereby the conflict is resolved directly and aggressively without fear of the consequences. Compromise is whereby the conflicting parties negotiate and resolve their issues unanimously. It involves moderate emotional levels, win-win attitudes, and moderate fears for reprisals. Thirdly, collaboration concerns working together to arrive at a win-win situation. It involves clarity of goals, win-win attitudes, low concern for formalities, and high self-esteem (Yoder-Wise 2011). On the other hand, accommodation involves acceptance of the situation without resistance. Lastly, avoidance is whereby the conflicting parties fail to resolve their issues, which in most cases occur because of high emotions, fear of the consequences, and failure to comply with rules and formalities. Conflict management is a collective responsibility for all parties in an organization. Conflict in organizations is unavoidable since different parties exhibit different viewpoints regarding different issues. As such, good communication skills are very vital when resolving conflicts. All parties in an organization are therefore entitled to participate in discussions to tackle conflicts. This essay discusses different types of conflicts found in places of work.

Types of conflicts

Interpersonal conflict

This is whereby a person disagrees with another person because of some issues. This conflict can affect nurses as well as patients, especially when they fail to agree on certain recommendations or assessments (Roussel & Swansburg, 2009). Further, interpersonal conflict can at times cause verbal exchanges, thus damaging the organization’s reputation.

Organizational conflict

Organizational conflict is whereby different sections in the same organization fail to agree, especially when sharing common and limited resources. Organizational conflict can be very harmful to an organization since it can cause stress, which eventually leads to poor services (Kantek & Gezer, 2009).

Intrapersonal conflict

Intrapersonal conflict results from the pressure to strike a balance between workplace responsibilities on one hand and personal life and values, on the other hand. Notably, ethical dilemmas that are common at many workplaces are sources of intrapersonal conflict (Kantek & Gezer, 2009).

Inter-sender conflict

Nurses face inter-sender conflict when presented with instructions from different sources. Most medical facilities try very hard to maintain consistency, through exercising scalar of control, which ensures that nurses receive instructions from their supervisors only (Roussel & Swansburg, 2009).


Conflicts at places of work are mostly caused by communication failures. There are different forms of conflicts common at places of work. Also, there are various strategies for conflict resolution and management. Nurses can embrace various strategies to minimize the occurrence of conflicts, and also solve any conflicts that may be prevailing in an organization. The management should always ensure that effective communication prevails in an organization since many types of research from different experts have proved that the collapse of communication has been a major source of conflicts in many organizations (Roussel & Swansburg, 2009).


Kantek, F., & Gezer, N. (2009). Conflict in schools: Student nurses’ conflict management styles. Education Today, 29 (1), 100–107.

Roussel, L., & Swansburg, R.C. (2009). Management and Leadership for Nurse Administrators. Boston: Jones and Bartlett publishers.

Yoder-Wise, P. S. (2011). Leading and managing in nursing. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

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