Conflict Style Associations with Cooperativeness, Directness, and Relational Satisfaction: A Case for a Six-Style Typology

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Abstract

Past research has been inconsistent in identifying the number and type of conflict styles individuals perceive themselves to use. Many typologies of conflict styles are built on the premise that level of cooperation versus competition, as well as directness versus indirectness, underlie various conflict styles. Grounded in a communication perspective, the present study uses dyadic data from 256 romantic couples to examine how self-reported tendencies to use each of six conflict styles—collaborating, compromising, competitive fighting, yielding, avoiding, and indirect fighting—associate with how (un)cooperative and (in)direct partners generally perceive actors to be during conflict, as well as how relationally satisfied both members of the dyad are. The associations that emerged suggest each of the six styles has a unique profile, that a comprehensive typology of conflict styles should include indirect fighting as well as a more neutral avoiding style, and that compromising is a weak form of collaborating that is lower in cooperativeness and directness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • conflict
  • conflict style
  • interpersonal communication
  • interpersonal conflict
  • relational satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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