Conflict Management Survey & Appraisal

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Appropriate For Existing Employees
Comprehensiveness Intermediate
Administration Time - 30 min
Format pencil icon
Scoring Options hand icon
Language English
French
Spanish
Other
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The Conflict Management Survey (CMS) assesses the manner in which individuals interpret the meaning of conflict and, consequently, the manner in which they handle it. Used in labor-management sessions, community relations laboratories, and programs on the dynamics of conflict to identify constructive strategies for resolving conflict. It can be used in conjunction with the Conflict Management Appraisal. The CMA, completed by an associate of the person using the CMS, provides information about how conflict is being managed. This extremely valuable feedback either reinforces a person's behavior or it calls attention to areas where positive change can lead to greater creativity.

The Conflict Management Survey (CMS) is designed to provide you with information about your approach to managing conflict. Such information may reinforce your existing preferences, or it may call attention to areas where change is needed. In either case, the data from the survey should help you understand more about yourself and your behaviors in conflict situations.

Since the 1960s, the positive potential of conflict has been emphasized by behavioral theorists. The manner in which group members interpret the meaning of conflict and the way they handle it distinguishes the effective from the ineffective group.

Employing a grid format, the Conflict Management Survey (CMS) addresses interpersonal, group, and inter-group conflicts and provides a five-fold conflict management profile. When used in labor-management sessions, community relations laboratories, and programs on the dynamics of conflict, the CMS is an effective tool for identifying constructive outcomes to conflict.

The Conflict Management Appraisal

The Conflict Management Appraisal (CMA) provides associates with information about how you believe he or she manages conflict. Designed to call attention to areas where change may be needed. It contains 60 items and is a paper/pencil inventory, employing a 10-point Williams-Hall equal-interval scale, for assessing associates perceptions of managers' practices in managing conflict.

The Conflict Management Appraisal (CMA) is designed to provide your associate with information about how you believe he or she manages conflict. Such information may reinforce that person's behavior or it may call attention to areas where change is needed. In either case, the data from this survey should be extremely valuable. Note: In this material, the term "associate" always refers to the person about whom you are answering the questions -- whether that person is a co-worker, a personal or social acquaintance, or a family member.

The Conflict Management Appraisal is a companion instrument to the Conflict Management Survey (CMS). It is designed to be completed by an associate of the person using the CMS and provides that individual with assessment of his or her conflict behavior as seen by another person. Like other companion instruments, the CMA is structured to allow for direct comparisons between its assessments and the personal data resulting from the CMS. These comparisons form the basis for "back-home" discussions essential to real understanding and lasting change.

Companion Piece - The Change Agent Questionnaire (CAQ) evaluates attitudes and assumptions about effecting change, and consequent change agent practices in terms of style. Used in programs on the dynamics of change with teachers, trainers, managers, members of the clergy, politicians, probation officers, counselors, and social workers -individuals whose role is to bring about positive changes in organizations, institutions, or individuals. It is a 45 item, paper/pencil, self-test, employing a 10-point Williams-Hall equal-interval scale, for assessing an individual's approaches to the effecting of change in others. Includes, in addition to total styles, component profiles for philosophy, strategy, and evaluation.

The Change Agent Questionnaire (CAQ) is designed to help you clarify your strategies for bringing about changes in the behavior of others. It recognizes that your strategies for change are related to your basic philosophy of change. The CAQ, therefore, addresses the relationship between your strategies and your philosophy of change.

For many -- teachers, trainers, managers, members of the clergy, politicians, probation officers, counselors, and social workers, to name a few -- work implies bringing about change in organizations, institutions, or individuals. And "change agents" are those individuals whose role is that of bringing about constructive change.

The Change Agent Questionnaire (CAQ), by adapting the work of Herbert Kelman to a grid format, assesses the individual's philosophy of, strategy for, and evaluative approach to change. Yielding five scores, the CAQ prompts evaluation of basic assumptions about the process and duration of change, and provides meaningful information about change agents per se. The Change Grid concept is especially relevant to programs on the dynamics of change and is profitable to all who seek to influence the thoughts and behaviors of others.

Sample Question

Instructions: Read all five alternatives. Since your purpose in completing this survey is to gain worthwhile information about yourself, you should select the response that is most characteristic of your practices. Depending on your feelings about how characteristic of you that answer actually is, place the letter (A., B., C., D., or E.) for that alternative somewhere toward the "Completely Characteristic" end on the scale provided. Place the remaining alternatives along the scale with the least characteristic alternative somewhere near the "Completely Uncharacteristic" end of the scale.

1. Assuming that a process as natural and universally present as conflict must serve some purpose in human affairs, what good would you most expect to come from conflict?

a. It should serve to clear the air and enhance commitment and, when resolved effectively, it should result in increased creativity.

b. It should result in canceling out the extremes of thinking so that a strong middle ground can be reached.

c. It should force people to face the fact that one answer is always better than others and that, once everything is out in the open, right will prevail.

d. It should demonstrate the folly of pettiness and self-centeredness and draw people together in a common pledge not to let differences come between them again.

e. It should at least strip away the social props people hide behind and, when really entered into, it should result in less complacency and the placing of blame where it really belongs.

The CMS is a self-scored, 12-item, paper/pencil, self-testing inventory employing a 10-point Williams-Hall equal-interval scale, for assessing an individual's reaction to and handling of interpersonal, group, and inter-group conflicts.

Available in English, Spanish, Swedish, German, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Dutch.

CMS norms provide a reference point in the form of T-scores, so that a respondent can compare his or her conflict management behaviors with those of others, as well as with feedback from co-workers. The normalized-standard scores are based on the data from 1,308 individuals. While the greatest proportion of responses are from persons in management positions with large organizations, data from ministers, trainers, law enforcement personnel, and labor contract negotiators are also represented in the sample.

Should conflict be eliminated from the workplace? What do we mean by the term conflict? Holding different values, being motivated by different objectives, differing ideological, philosophical, or strategic orientations; all of these create the potential for conflict.

Stated simply, "Conflict is a differing of ideas"; people see things differently. Conflict exists in all aspects of human behaviour and is a natural part of the human condition. Research shows it is from the sharing of differing viewpoints (conflict) that creativity unfolds.

The question is this: "How should one view conflict and how should one deal with it?" For the manner in which one responds to and manages the dynamics of conflict determines the success of the enterprise.

Relationships and Personal Goals
Two basic considerations generally determine which action alternatives we use in a given conflict situation:

1. The degree to which one is concerned about the preservation of one's personal relationships.

2. The degree the issues involved might collide with one's personal goals or viewpoints.
These are the determining factors of our individual style when it comes to dealing with conflict and are the two basic dimensions of the conflict management model. And the degree of concern we have for one or the other, or both, will determine the actions we see as appropriate for dealing with conflict.

A Model of Conflict Management
Our two-dimensional approach to conflict management is potrayed graphically in the figure above. As indicated, concern for the relationship is represented along the vertical axis of the model, while concern for personal goals is depicted along the horizontal axis.

Example:
A conflict management style based on maximum concern for personal goals coupled with minimum concern for the relationship would be shown as a 9/1 style. By pairing the two concerns and their value combinations, we can identify five "pure" styles, each of which reflects a different system of values. More importantly, each results in different consequences in terms of conflict dynamics.

Backup Styles and Research
The fact that a person prefers a given style does not mean he or she will not use other styles. Indeed, our model assumes that everyone uses each of the styles at one time or another. Moreover, we usually have a preferred order in which we resort to other styles but will naturally use our most preferred style first.

Research in the social sciences has revealed that the five different approaches to conflict management have different long-range consequences. Without dwelling on the research, we can say that the findings suggest an ideal ordering of style preferences which is the 9/9 synergistic style being the most productive conflict management style and the 1/1 being the least productive style. In-depth discussion of all styles can be found the Conflict Management Survey.

The Conflict Management Survey and Conflict Management Appraisal

The Conflict Management Survey is a self-survey that can be used to identify one's preferred conflict management style as well as the back-up styles one tends to use in conflict situations. It also includes an in-depth explanation of how these styles tend to either be productive or unproductive and ideas on how to make positive changes in the way we handle conflict.

Feedback from coworkers can be invaluable in determining one's style. The Conflict Management Appraisal is the feedback companion instrument to the CMS and is useful in understanding how others perceive one's conflict management style.

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