The Model

The Conflict LensTM was designed to identify the differing behaviors that an individual exhibits in conflict situations. Unlike many other conflict instruments, the Conflict Lens does not describe a personal style, which usually implies intent (win/win vs. win/lose); rather it depicts behaviors in a particular conflict situation that the participant chooses to examine and describes how the conflict led to either a constructive or destructive outcome.

While some of these behaviors are almost always constructive (e.g. empathy), others are almost always destructive (e.g. alienate). The Conflict Lens is based on the premise that dealing with conflict is a very complex process and cannot be reduced to simple style descriptions. For instance, it might not be wise to trust someone you are in conflict with because they only have their self-interest in mind and are using a destructive strategy with you. Other factors that can change conflict strategies include who you are in conflict with (e.g. a boss vs. a peer or subordinate); how important the conflict is to you; your previous experience with the individual; and your own available energy. Conflict in a business setting can also require different behaviors than in a personal setting.

The Conflict Lens Model is constructed with 11 outcome scales (behavior A vs. B):

Affiliate -- interested in maintaining relationships
Alienate -- focuses only on the issue at hand

Analyze -- collects all the facts before addressing an issue
Intuit -- gets the issue on the table first then does research

Compromise -- open to alternative solutions
Stand Firm -- insists on getting their way

Control -- enjoys taking charge
Comply -- willing to let others have their way

Empathize -- sees the problem from another’s point of view
Egoize -- only interested in serving own interests

Engage -- openly acknowledges a problem exists and commits to solving it
Avoid -- keeps their feelings and viewpoints hidden

Own -- examines their own behaviors and the impact they have on others
Blame -- decides that it is the other person’s fault

Seek Support -- shares concerns with others not directly involved in conflict
Go Solo -- handles the problem alone

Self-Restraint -- keeps control of their emotions
Emote -- displays very emotional behavior in conflict situations

Trust -- has a general regard and confidence in the other person
Distrust -- believes the other person only has his/her own interests in mind

Constructive Outcomes -- Are defined as when employees find they: have greater confidence that the people involved can resolve conflicts in the future; share responsibility for the problem; find a better solution than they originally had; develop a closer relationship; and find solutions for the benefit of the organization.

Destructive Outcomes -- Are defined as: damaged relationships; wounded egos; more conflict; a waste of money; a waste of time; and simply giving up.

Through the use of the Conflict Lens, organizations can identify where conflicts occur and create a strategy on how to deal with them.

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 .

When conflict results in destructive outcomes, contracts don't get signed, orders do not get filled, quality suffers, and employees leave. Poorly managed conflicts result in damaged relationship between employees; a waste of time and money; and often, even more conflict.  In contrast, if conflict can be resolved in a constructive manner, employees find they can share responsibility for problems; find more creative solutions than were originally apparent; search for solutions that go beyond win-win to solutions that benefit the entire company; and build confidence that future problems can be effectively dealt with.

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.