We start with the premise that conflict is normal and natural, wherever people are working and living together. It often happens that our behavior or response to conflict may cause us to regard it as a negative experience, perhaps even dangerous. But conflict itself is simply a condition in which peoples’ needs, wishes, and perceptions appear to be in opposition. Conflict can be an opportunity for growth, change, and improvement. However, our behavior during conflict is key. And our behavior is based on deeply ingrained experiences, drawn from cultural teachings and fears. Our responses may be more automatic than we realize. We may proceed down one path of behavior, unaware that we might have other choices.
We each have a personal typical style of responding in a conflict. Whole Quaker meetings do, too.
We each have a personal typical style of responding in a conflict. Whole Quaker meetings do, too. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a helpful tool for analyzing dynamics in a conflict situation. Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann designed the tool in the early 70s, based on earlier work by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton, who analyzed ways managers work with conflict in the business setting. Friends who are interested can take an online survey (www.takethetki.com) to help identify their own personal conflict styles.
The chart shown here expresses the essence of the Thomas-Kilmann Inventory. Vertically, we see conflict styles that range from low to high in terms of seeking to meet one’s own needs during conflict (assertiveness). Horizontally, we see conflict styles that range from low to high in terms of seeking to meet the other person’s needs during conflict (cooperation).The chart defines five positions that express different balances between meeting one’s own needs and the needs of the other person.Quakers and Conflict | Western Friend
Any conflict, disagreement or war can be resolved peacefully via peaceful conflict resolution methods, including but not limited to the Ukraine war.