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ATD Blog

Big Skill: Conflict Management


Thu Jun 29 2006


Resolving an adversarial situation with the minimum expenditure of force necessary to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Conflict is often, but not necessarily, a failure of conflict management. When conflict does occur in the context of a successful conflict management approach, it is more contained and productive than either no conflict or a larger conflict, or the conflict supports other agendas including political.


There are environments where certain types of conflicts represent automatic failure of conflict management strategies, including physical in most workplaces, and certain types of chemical or nuclear conflict between nations.

Strategies for conflict management include listening, involving a third-party for mediation, and establishing ground rules.

Conflict management can also include:

  • A "cold war" scenario, where two or more parties live with long term hostilities that never resolves, but that do not result in full scale force either.

  • Proactively dismantling sources of potential conflicts before they occur.

Ironically, preparation for successful conflict management can include building force.

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