The Conflict LensTM had its beginnings in the same way that many creative endeavors come into being. A small group of motivated individuals took a break from the usual daily tasks and gave themselves a chance to create. We began this project in 1999 while sitting aboard a boat in a beautiful cove of a Colorado lake. We brought diverse skills (authors) to the task yet all had a common core of having interest in human behavior.

After much discussion, it was decided that while there was the well-known Thomas-Kilmann theory of conflict styles (e.g. win/win, win/lose, etc.), there was a need for new thought about conflict and a new instrument to help people develop conflict skills. It was time to “sail off the map” to look for new directions that would be useful and valuable for people dealing with conflict.

To support our premise we consulted the available literature to see what was out there. After reading the thoughts and research of numerous experts, we became even more excited about our basic premise: conflict management is a skill and by identifying which behaviors lead to more constructive resolutions, people can learn how to better manage the inevitable disagreements that occur in their lives.

We also decided that instead of asking people to think of how they typically deal with conflict or how they might handle a hypothetical situation, it would be best for people to reflect upon an actual conflict they experienced. We also believed that most people do not have one particular way or style of dealing with conflict but that one's behavior is significantly influenced by the situation such as who it is with, how important the issue is and many other variables.  After pilot testing early versions, we had a prototype instrument and a database of 160 beta-testers from which to run early analyses.

With these results we found that the data supported our views. We had developed a scientifically defensibly valid and reliable instrument to assess conflict. We have a data base of over 10,000 actual workplace conflicts that we continue to do research on.

If you are interested in learning more about the Conflict Lens, please contact Work Effects at 612-333-4272 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dealing with conflict....made easy.

The Conflict LensTM is an on-line instrument, a model and a process for helping people develop better communication strategies for managing conflict. Available in 19 languages it has been used in North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Middle East.