Constructive and destructive consequences of conflicts

The difference between constructive conflict and destructive conflict

(as well as negative)
of conflict, with a certain degree of convention and for the sake of convenience of presentation of the material, can be divided into: general functions of conflict that take place at various levels of the social system; functions of conflict at the personal level, which relate to the impact of conflict directly on the individual.

Conflict is a form of resolving contradictions.

It reveals the gaps, miscalculations and shortcomings that arise in society and because of which the conflict itself flares up.

Conflict also relieves social tension

and eliminates the situation of stress, helps to “let off steam”, defuse the situation and relieve accumulated tension.

Conflict resolution leads to system stabilization

, while eliminating sources and sources of dissatisfaction. The parties involved in the conflict, taught by “bitter experience”, will in the future be more inclined towards mutual understanding than towards conflict. In addition, resolving a conflict situation can help prevent more serious, significant conflicts that could have occurred if the conflict had not arisen.

Conflict stimulates group creativity

it brings together the energy of the participants, which is necessary in solving a given problem. When people are looking for ways to resolve a conflict, a process of analyzing difficult situations occurs, during which new original ideas arise, the latest information technologies are developed, and the necessary ways to solve a particular problem arise.

Conflict can become a means of clarifying the balance of power

public organizations or communities and can protect against subsequent more destructive conflicts.

Conflict can serve as a link for the emergence of new norms of communication

between people or help fill old norms with new content.

The impact of conflict extends to individual

personality characteristics.

Conflict can contribute to adequate self-esteem and self-knowledge
of the individual.
This is a situation in which you need to really assess your abilities, identify new opportunities, and the best previously unknown qualities. This is character building, self-esteem and pride.

Conflict can help eradicate

undesirable qualities of human character, for example, feelings of inferiority, humility, servility, etc.

The situation of conflict helps to adapt

of a person in a group, since it is in conflict that one reveals oneself and returns to square one. Then the person is either rejected by society or joins the team and is accepted by the group members. In the case when a person is rejected by society, no adaptation occurs.

Destructive functions of conflict

Conflict may involve violent methods

its resolution, which could ultimately lead to human casualties and material losses. In addition to the parties involved, for example, in a military conflict, completely innocent people may suffer.

A state of conflict can also slow down the pace of a country's development. Conflict may precede disintegration

society, the destruction of social communications and the cultural alienation of social societies within the social system.

A state of conflict leads to the destruction of morals, the decline of social life and, often, an increase in pessimistic mood.

What can conflict leave behind? – decline in the system of the entire organization, decrease in efficiency and discipline. You may also feel stressed, overwhelmed, or depressed.

In addition, each participant in the conflict may be disappointed by its consequences, and there will remain a feeling of disappointment in their abilities, capabilities, and potentials.

Conflict can cause feelings of
loss of previous motivation and destruction of existing value orientations and patterns of behavior. In the worst case, the conflict may result in disappointment and loss of faith in previous ideals. Faith in yesterday's friends, in work colleagues, in business partners can be undermined overnight, and distrust in loved ones and relatives can arise.

However, it is appropriate to recall a well-known position: there is no abstract truth, truth is always concrete. If one of the participants wins, then the other loses



The functions are to bring its participants closer together, to relieve tension that could accumulate for a long time. Defuse the situation and provide complete information about the opposite party, the absence of which destroyed both the relationship and the work process. This type of debate helps to clarify the shortcomings of the entire system in which people exist. Stabilize it and eliminate shortcomings.

If we look at the example of a family, have you noticed how much closer the partners became after a quarrel, instead of completely quarreling? How did the communication process improve, the level of satisfaction increase, and mutual understanding emerge? In addition, when a dispute is handled constructively, there is a huge chance of preventing very serious and protracted disagreements. Sometimes they have such destructive consequences that they can lead to the death of one of the opponents if the tension has reached such a level that a person becomes unable to control.

It also has the function of uniting the parties to the dispute. Then they may well group together and direct all their energy to creativity, that is, a creative and developing innovative way to solve a problem that previously seemed overwhelming. Thanks to constructivism, character is strengthened and it becomes possible to gain recognition. What increases self-esteem and self-respect.

New styles of behavior and values ​​emerge when an entire system of people understands that old methods and attitudes do not work and it is time to creatively adapt and develop new ones. After all, society is developing rapidly, and it is always necessary to adapt and be “on the wave” of change.

Basic rules and features of constructive dispute management


The very first thing that distinguishes a developmental conflict from a destructive one is clarity. When both sides are ready to hear each other’s opinion, even if they categorically disagree with it, this is, as they say, “half the battle.” With clarity, the opponent becomes understandable, it is quite possible to ask him clarifying and clarifying questions, to give “feedback” to his words. With this type of communication, a person is heard and maintains a sense of self-worth.


Very often, managers arrange for employees to brainstorm, during which subordinates must share their ideas on how to resolve some difficulty. This is done in order to hear completely opposing points of view, and at the same time employees feel that their opinion is worthy of attention and valuable, even if it is very different from others. This motivates and improves the microclimate in the team. You can read about brainstorming here.


Both sides discuss directly the specific subject of the dispute. They do not get into each other’s personalities and do not remember past incidents, even if they are somewhat similar to the one that arose at the moment.


Inclusion in the dialogue, interest and wasted energy are the same, the participants alternately both deliver and receive “blows”. If there is no dialogue and the attack is one-sided, we can talk about the so-called triangle of violence, from which it is very difficult to escape. Its essence lies in the fact that someone necessarily plays the role of victim, tyrant and savior, and, moreover, replacing each other.


The use of manipulation and “dirty methods” is not practiced when they try to offend and injure using information that is a weak point for a person. Although aggression arises, there is mutual respect and a desire to maintain contact.


No one leaves prematurely, and no matter how difficult it may be to clarify some points and listen to feedback, people remain in contact. Since they are interested in finding a way out and ending the quarrel peacefully, and not showing their weaknesses by not being able to withstand the tension. Because they understand that then they will have to continue to live with him, feeling discomfort and anxiety, and it is better to make an effort now, and still breathe a sigh of relief, having come to a compromise.

Well, for example, has it ever happened that, having quarreled with someone, you don’t say hello when you meet and try to ignore him, believing that this person is a scoundrel and is not worthy of putting up with him, punishing him in this way?

The main techniques are argumentation and counterargumentation

When arguing, they usually use the method of positive answers and present facts that prove the accuracy and truth of the opinion. When counterargumentating, one finds a fact that refutes the opponent’s opinion and arguments. I recommend reading the article, in which you can find information on how to effectively negotiate a dispute, you will find in this article.


The very concept of “destruction” suggests that these are destructive situations that are not beneficial, but threaten both relationships, health, and sometimes even a person’s life. With this type of disagreement, innocent people who are not involved at all and have become victims of circumstances may well suffer. Victims become when both parties have lost control and “lost their temper,” wanting to destroy each other, both physically and mentally.

If it occurs in the workplace, it leads to a decrease in motivation, to the point where the entire organizational system suffers. It causes depression and a lack of desire to be active, to participate in public life, and also leads to a decrease in self-esteem. A person who is “wounded” in a verbal battle may well experience shame. It can lead to neurosis, which causes panic attacks in stressful situations and a reluctance to leave the house so as not to intersect with other people.

The consequences are so terrifying that they can provoke a suicide attempt if you do not receive support from loved ones in time and do not find the resources to move on. In the best case, there remains tension and disappointment, not only from yourself, but also from people with whom you were in friendly, partner and other relationships. By the way, this disappointment may, over time, lead to excessive distrust, even towards close people. Which will alienate you from everyone, again causing symptoms of neurosis, and in extreme cases leading to personality degradation.

You can read about degradation in the blog article at this link.

Features and styles of conducting

  • Generalization . Sometimes completely illogical arguments and facts aggravate the communication process, delaying time and making it impossible to understand the problem. This is the simplest example, when sellers and clients quarrel at the market. There is even a phrase that characterizes the personality of the participants, namely “bazaar woman.” That is, it begins with a certain subject, over which a dispute arose, and ends with insults and mutual wishes for the worst.
  • "Dropping out" from the process. When one of the parties ceases to take part in the discussion and leaves it without the consent of the opponent. Sometimes “playing on feelings”, showing how offended and hurt she is in order to induce guilt and immediately smooth out the consequences of the disagreement with the help of apologies and other things.
  • Communication is broken. Because it becomes impossible to clearly argue one’s opinion for various reasons, and one can see not only a lack of understanding of the other’s arguments, but sometimes one’s own position as well.
  • Words are chosen that are sure to hurt and disarm. At a critical moment, when there are no arguments at all, threats and devaluation of authority and personality may begin to pour in.
  • Depreciation . It often happens that attempts to clarify the points due to which misunderstandings arose are associated with the “bad” character of the party that took the initiative. For example, a subordinate says that the boss is unfair, who in turn simply calls him quarrelsome or sleep-deprived.
  • Flattery is also a method that does not dot the i's, but, on the contrary, aggravates the situation. Due to the fact that it causes a lot of anger, which becomes difficult to bring against the defendant. The reasons for its use are simple - manipulation. And if a participant in a dispute decides to show anger, then for those around him he will be a negative character, because they communicated with him in a good way, and he allows himself to do this.

Constructive and destructive conflict - difficulties of assessment

It is worth noting that the confrontation between individuals or their groups is quite difficult to assess. It is not always possible to determine the variety due to the following objective factors:

There are no clear criteria according to which constructive and destructive conflict are distinguished. Most often, this can only be done after the confrontation is over, when the consequences can be assessed (and even then the answer may not be clear-cut). Most conflicts, regardless of the environment in which they arise, are characterized by both constructive and destructive functions simultaneously. The characteristics of the confrontation can vary significantly depending on what stage it is at. A constructive conflict can become such only after an acute phase or, conversely, move into the realm of destruction. When assessing a conflict, it is always worth considering the subjective side. So, one side may consider it constructive, but for the other it will be destructive.

In addition, it is important to take into account the interests of third parties who may initiate the confrontation.

Development of a destructive conflict situation: stages

For both sides, the development of a destructive conflict is undesirable. Therefore, we will find out the mechanism of its development so that everyone knows how to avoid such incidents.

How does such a conflict develop? There are several stages, smoothly transitioning into one another, by which we can characterize the degree of neglect of the collision.

  1. The emergence of a situation where the interests of the parties are in opposition to each other.
  2. Awareness of conflict.
  3. Development. At this stage, hidden confrontation can turn into open. Supporters may also be involved.
  4. Expansion of the conflict. Increase in negative statements addressed to the other party.
  5. Ending a conflict situation.

The mechanism for the development of constructive conflict is similar. Only in it the parties always come to mutual agreement as a result of a dispute. At the same time, both opponents change their attitudes and values.

A positive conflict occurs without an expansion stage. In most cases, it is resolved through calm negotiations.

But in the event of a destructive conflict, one of the parties ends up defeated and can accumulate strength for further confrontation in the name of “revenge.”

Is it good or bad

Most people believe that only evil can come from conflicts, and any aggravation of relations should be avoided. Who needs screams, reproaches, tears, constant clarification of who is wrong and who is right? In fact, without contradictions, people would not be able to grow, develop, acquire new knowledge, teach and learn, or build relationships with colleagues and family members. Any step forward is the result of overcoming efforts, and fighting with oneself is a real conflict.

Conflicts occur in the lives of each of us. In the first case, there is a break in relations and hostility, in the second, all participants not only benefit, but also receive a bonus (a creative idea, strengthening of friendly ties, increased production volumes, etc.). The same conflict can be both constructive and destructive, depending on the circumstances of its occurrence, the view of the situation of the participants in the confrontation and the consequences.

How to resolve a long-term conflict?

Prolonged intense confrontations between groups completely destroy relationships. All members of the other group are considered enemies. This was confirmed by an experiment conducted in the early 1950s by a group of sociologists led by M. Sherif. The artificially created conflict situation between two camps of boys aged 9–12 years continued even after emotional release (they were allowed to swear). The only way to reconcile the guys was general occupational therapy. Common activity is the only method that experts have tested that has helped restore friendly relations between groups.

Social conflicts - constructive and destructive - are equally resolved by restoring mutual respect and trust. And this is possible precisely in work activity.

Constructive and destructive conflicts: characteristics

A conflict resolved in a timely manner significantly improves mutual understanding, and it is called constructive. And a long-term, ever-growing confrontation, which threatens to break all forms of communication, is precisely a negative phenomenon. Such situations should not be allowed either in the family or in the work team. But how to do that?

In many ways, conflict situations improve relationships in a group and strengthen relationships. From time to time, a “debriefing” is even necessary in any team. Especially if this is a company where, in order to achieve a common result, the motives and goals of disparate departments must be taken into account.

A qualified manager knows how to manage conflicts; without control and proper leadership, no company will achieve either success or a strong position in the market.

A destructive conflict occurs when one of the participants crosses the social boundaries of what is permitted or deliberately aggravates an already acute situation.

The characteristics of destructive conflict are:

  • all participants have mutually exclusive goals, finding a common denominator is extremely difficult;
  • the parties make efforts to incite contradictions, and not to resolve them;
  • there is no regulation, no one is puzzled by the search for regulating principles of behavior in this situation.

These are the main signs by which a constructive dispute is distinguished from a destructive one. The third point is considered the most important. Because in a constructive situation there is always a third party - arbitration, which is designed to improve relations.

So, what are the positive functions of mismatch situations identified in industrial conflictology?

  • Team building. Having learned to value their work team, people are in no hurry to find another place. There is no staff turnover in production.
  • Each participant begins to better understand the motives of the other and in the future learns to be guided not only by their own, but also by common goals. This means that the staff solves all problems more efficiently.
  • Relieving tension. In a tense team, none of the participants enjoy their work.
  • Incentive for development. Each team member learns, in the process of resolving a conflict, to find a balance between personal and social interests, which will undoubtedly be useful in later life.
  • Subordinates get rid of the so-called obedience syndrome. It is easier for them to express their opinions, and people do not feel like “pawns”.

The destructive functions of conflict are as follows:

  • Decreased motivation to work. Excessive and prolonged emotional stress of participants, which can lead to neuroticism of workers.
  • Decreased discipline. When the showdown drags on, the work process stops.
  • Deterioration of the emotional climate. It is very difficult to re-establish normal working relationships.
  • One or more employees may quit.

It is difficult to single out only positive aspects in a tense confrontation. Usually one conflict has both positive and negative meanings for its participants. After all, they both have to compromise and lose something in the process of building relationships.

Destructive behavior of teenagers

The problem of adolescent self-destruction is quite relevant, since it gives rise to teenage drug addiction, suicide attempts, and alcoholism. The number of child suicides is growing over the years. Cases of youth drug addiction and alcoholism have long ceased to surprise anyone. Moreover, the problems described are not only observed in families in distress. Statistical observations say that approximately 37% of children registered in a drug treatment facility come from quite prosperous families.

The behavioral model is laid down from childhood and it is based, first of all, on the parental example. By the age of five, the baby already has a certain amount of knowledge that will guide the child in later life.

Destructive activity is characterized by two vectors of direction: self-destruction, that is, a focus on oneself, expressed in addiction to psychoactive substances, alcohol-containing substances, narcotic drugs, suicidal actions, and external manifestations, including vandalism, terrorist attacks, cruelty to living beings.

The modern progressive development of society, in addition to positive trends, carries with it negative factors that do not have the best effect on the fragile minds of young people. Progress, unfortunately, has brought with it the degradation of culture, the rapid pace of life, permissiveness, easy accessibility (of information, prohibited substances), an increase in the number of dysfunctional families, and an increase in violence.

Also, the negative transformations of modern society have given rise to serious transformations in the growing generation. For example, one can state a deformation of moral and value orientation. Teenagers experience turning points more acutely, which is reflected in their destructive acts and destructive behavior.

Puberty is a stage of self-standardization, the introduction of one’s own “I” into certain roles, which gives rise to an increased need for a sense of identity, as a result of which a minor often solves this problem through destructive acts.

Socially destructive behavior among young people is most often caused by the desire of adolescents to assert themselves or express themselves through “negative” behavioral patterns. Teenagers are characterized by increased emotional sensitivity, which leaves an imprint on their actions. The picture of the world of yesterday's children has not yet been fully formed, however, the increasingly progressive process of life generates additional psychological stress, which not every minor youth can withstand.

The first signs of a teenager’s tendency towards destructive actions are unsociability and aloofness. Then, increased excitability gradually manifests itself, developing into outright aggression towards the social environment, which can be observed both in the school environment and in family and everyday relationships.

Often teenagers strive to assert themselves, defending their own opinions in various ways. At the same time, the inability to fully demonstrate one’s own self, the lack or absence of support from the close environment, significant adults, is the reason for the teenager’s desire to realize himself in a “street” environment and, more often than not, an unfavorable one.

Analyzing the causes of destructive behavior, Vygotsky revealed that the basis of most deviations is the psychological confrontation between the minor and the environment, or between individual aspects of the teenager’s personality. Ipatov, in turn, put forward the assumption that the destruction of a teenager is a manifestation of the distortion of his socialization, which is revealed in actions that contradict social norms.

Aggression, cruelty, alcoholism, smoking, suicidal actions, a desire to modify one’s own body (tattooing, scarring, piercing), foul language - all these are examples of destructive behavior characteristic of both minors and adults.

Types of conflicts depending on violated needs

Depending on the violated needs, conflicts of interest and cognitive conflicts are distinguished.

Conflicts of interest are confrontations based on the clash of interests of the subjects of the conflict, which can be individuals, groups of people, organizations, etc.

EXAMPLE: Examples of conflicts of interest can be found even in everyday life - two children cannot share the toy they like; a husband and wife, having one TV between them, want to watch different TV programs at the same time, etc.

Cognitive conflicts are conflicts of knowledge, points of view, views. As a rule, the goal of each subject of a cognitive conflict is to convince the opposite side that his position, opinion or point of view is correct.

EXAMPLE: Examples of cognitive conflict can also be found quite often - these are discussions of various problems, disputes, debates, disputes, during which participants express different points of view and provide all sorts of arguments to prove that they are right.

Summarizing the conversation about the types and types of conflicts, it should be noted that the distribution of conflicts by type is in fact very arbitrary due to the fact that there is no clearly defined boundary between them, and in practice, i.e. in real life, various complex types of conflicts can arise, some conflicts can transform into others, etc.

Destructive consequences of conflict

An unmanaged conflict threatens both parties with a negative scenario for the development of relations in the future. If this is a conflict between 2 individuals, for example between a husband and wife, then over time it leads to a depressed state and disorganized behavior of each of them. A depressed person gets tired faster and copes worse with everyday responsibilities, which leads to an escalation of conflict and then the cessation of any relationship.

If we talk about the enterprise, there are several other extremely negative consequences. This is the loss of interest of employees in the direct production process, the inability to cooperate and dismissal.

Ways to become a winner

In order for the quarrel not to be in vain, and, moreover, not destructive, it is necessary to transform it into constructive. Then it will be possible to hear each other and come to a mutually beneficial agreement or understanding.

1.Learn to separate the flies from the cutlets

That is, if a problem arises, do not associate it with the character of another person. At the moment of contention, this will not be your argument, no matter how much you would like, but will only distance you from your partner. And besides, it won’t help fix the situation in any way. Even children are told that it is not they who are bad, but sometimes their behavior. For example, if a woman tells her man that he is a terrible husband, then, in addition to the fact that this will cause a lot of negative feelings, it will not help him find a solution, because the only thing is to replace him with a good husband.

But if you explain what exactly in his behavior and actions makes his wife unhappy, then there is a chance to move forward in the relationship and change it a little.

2. Resolving disagreement begins with determining the overall complexity

After all, even if you are on different sides of the barricades, something unites you. Without this, there will be no motivation to withstand tension and look for solutions, which threatens to fall into destructive communication. Therefore, no matter what feelings you have for each other, discuss how this misunderstanding is bothering both of you.

3.Now each of you must propose solutions

Gain the strength to listen and hear; by showing respect, you increase your chance of being heard in return. If an option doesn’t suit you, don’t devalue it or criticize it, but simply explain what exactly you don’t like about it.

5.The last stage is making a decision that you mutually approve

It happens that it is not always possible to discover ways to solve the complexity, then it is quite normal if you come to a mutual agreement not to do anything for now and watch how events develop further. The level of tension will subside, you will already have experience in conducting a conversation with each other, which means that over time everything will definitely fall into place.


What if it happens that you simply have a tangle of claims against each other? Be sure to use the method of dissection and specification, otherwise you will not come to any mutually beneficial agreement if you talk about everything at once. If you have identified one problem, solve it, and only then move on to the next one.

7.Special phrases

In your speech, use phrases such as “I understood you”, “I heard you”, “Do you mean that...?”, “Did I understand you correctly?” And so on. This will endear you to you and will not provoke you into a militant position.

Types of behavior in conflict

What models of behavior in conflict exist? There is a constructive model, a destructive and conformist one.

Destructive behavior in conflict is noted

  • the desire to expand the conflict and involve new participants;
  • humiliation of the personality of another (as a method of influence);
  • violation of communication ethics;
  • intimidation of an opponent;
  • focusing on one’s own position and authority;
  • using flattery and ingratiation.

The latter always shows passivity in a dispute and agrees with all demands, even contrary to her own values. This model is also not considered constructive, because when a person refuses his own position, responsibility for himself, he unintentionally becomes the cause of conflict.

Question _____. The concept of conflict. Object, subject and subject of the conflict

Differences in people's views, discrepancies in perceptions and assessments of certain events quite often lead to a controversial situation. If the current situation poses a threat to the achievement of the set goal by at least one of the participants in the interaction, then a conflict situation arises.

Thus, the conflict situation

- these are contradictory positions of the parties on any issue, the desire for opposite goals, the use of different means to achieve them, divergence of interests, desires, etc.

Conflict situation

is a condition for conflict to arise. For such a situation to develop into a conflict, into dynamics, an external influence, push or incident is necessary.

What is conflict?


There are different definitions of conflict

, but they all emphasize the presence of contradiction, which takes the form of disagreement when it comes to the interaction of people.
Conflicts can be hidden or overt, but they are always based on a lack of agreement

The word “conflict” itself contains the answer. It has a Latin root and literally means “collision.” If the “clash” affects the sphere of ideas, then we have a situation that is familiar to everyone.

Therefore, we define conflict as a process of interaction between subjects individuals or groups regarding the differences in their interests.

Lack of agreement is due to the presence of diverse opinions, views, ideas, interests, points of view, etc. However, it is not always expressed in the form of a clear clash. This happens only when existing contradictions and disagreements disrupt the normal interaction of people and prevent the achievement of their goals. In this case, people are simply forced to somehow overcome differences and enter into open conflict interaction. In the process of conflict interaction, its participants have the opportunity to express different opinions and identify more alternatives when making decisions; this is precisely the important positive meaning of the conflict.

An object -

Subject -

Subject of the conflict

- this is the main contradiction, because of which and for the sake of the resolution of which the parties enter into a struggle.

Every conflict goes through several stages in its development. …..

Definition of concepts

A conflict is a certain contradiction or opposition that arises due to the incompatibility of the interests of the parties. It can arise between individuals or their groups in the process of life.

In accordance with the nature of the consequences, psychologists distinguish between destructive and constructive conflicts. In the first case, there will be nothing but quarrels, negativity and strained relationships. Sometimes destructive conflicts can progress to the stage of physical violence. They often arise on the basis of personal hostility, bias, and the desire to make a profit.

Constructive conflicts have absolutely the opposite meaning. They help resolve obvious and hidden problems, relieve tension in the team, and strengthen friendly relations. When it comes to enterprises, managers sometimes deliberately provoke conflicts in order to defuse tense situations.

Classification of conflicts according to the specifics of the opposing parties and the conditions for the development of the conflict

According to the specifics of the opposing sides and the conditions of development, conflicts can be internal, external and antagonistic.

Internal conflicts are characterized by the interaction of two or more opposing entities within a community or group of people.

EXAMPLE: An excellent example of internal conflict is intra-class struggle, for example the struggle for leadership.

External conflicts - represent the interaction of opposites that relate to different objects (groups, classes, etc.).

EXAMPLE: An example of an external conflict is the confrontation between man and natural elements or the struggle of the body with the external environment.

Antagonistic conflicts are one of the most acute conflicts, because are interactions between social groups that are irreconcilably opposed to each other. What is unique is that the very concept of “antagonism” is very common in medicine and biology - antagonism of teeth, muscles, microbes, drugs, poisons, etc. can occur. In addition, in mathematical science, antagonism is considered as an opposition of interests. In its pure form, antagonism is presented in social processes.

EXAMPLE: A striking example of an antagonistic conflict is war, market competition, revolution, sports competition, etc.

In addition to all of the above, a correct understanding and interpretation of conflicts, as well as their functions, features, essence and consequences, is impossible without typology, i.e. without identifying the basic types of conflicts based on identifying their similarities and differences and ways of identifying them with the commonality of the main differences and characteristics.

To make it possible to choose an adequate method of influencing and managing a conflict (which you will learn about in our next lessons), it is necessary to classify conflicts according to their main characteristics: methods of resolution, areas of manifestation, direction of influence, degree of expression, number of participants and violated needs.

It is on the basis of typology that both types and varieties of conflicts are determined. The type of conflict as a variation of conflict interaction is distinguished according to certain characteristics.

How to behave in different situations

In a conflict situation, you should avoid excessive emotionality - this can complicate it. It is necessary to remain calm and restrained, to maintain respect for the opponent. Mutual negativity will make it impossible to resolve controversial issues.

Types of thinking in psychology, their characteristics and examples

There are certain strategies for human behavior in a conflict situation:

  1. Rivalry. A tough strategy when you need to win by any means in an open struggle for your interests. There is a dangerous “who will win” principle at work here.
  2. Cooperation. Joint decision making that satisfies both parties.
  3. Compromise. Between the parties to the conflict, in the form of a discussion, a compromise solution is sought by analyzing disagreements and mutual concessions.
  4. Avoidance. Participants in the conflict ignore its danger, do not want to take responsibility for making decisions, and want to quietly get out of the situation. With this strategy, the solution to the problem can be postponed to another time.
  5. Device. This is a method of smoothing out disagreements by neglecting one’s own interests and completely accepting all the demands of the opposite side.

Each confrontation has its own characteristics, and there are no identical ways out of it. To avoid stress, you need to adhere to certain rules of behavior and response. Psychologists give the following recommendations to simplify the resolution of all types of conflicts:

  1. Behave with restraint, watch your movements, speech and facial expressions, avoid closed poses.
  2. You cannot immediately and sharply deny someone else’s opinion, interrupt, or raise your voice.
  3. Listen carefully and tolerantly to the interlocutor, repeat his words to confirm that he has been heard.
  4. After listening to the opposite side, present your arguments in a soft, friendly manner. This will disarm a negative opponent.
  5. You should not take verbal abuse seriously and take it personally.
  6. During a developing conflict, restrain the response, be sure that you have understood your opponent correctly.
  7. It is necessary to beware of entering into disagreements with individuals who have mental disabilities or a low level of intelligence. A reasonable ending is excluded in this case.

Additional Information. Distracting your opponent with questions on other topics will help buy time to think about further behavior.

Table with main types

Main classificationTypes of conflictsa brief description of
By number of participantsIntrapersonalLack of self-confidence, dissatisfaction with work and life due to a discrepancy between personal needs and outside demands. Accompanied by irritability, split personality, and great mental stress. They are difficult to resolve on your own.
InterpersonalThey can be considered the most common in all areas of human relationships. The clash of individuals with different characters and beliefs, candidates for the same position, managers over resources.
Between the individual and the groupWhen an individual does not accept the established positions and norms of behavior of the group.
IntergroupThey are characterized by a variety of forms of manifestation. This is the production sector, strikes, rallies.

Since the classification of conflicts into types is rather arbitrary, without clear boundaries, other types periodically arise against the background of complex social relationships. Unsatisfied human needs make life unthinkable without disagreements and contradictions. The ability to resolve conflict situations makes life easier in many ways.

What else you need to know about conflicts

The history of humanity, its morality, culture, and intellect is an ongoing struggle of ideas, aspirations, competition of forces and interests, rivalry. Throughout his life, every person systematically faces conflicts of all kinds. When a person wants to achieve something, the goal may be difficult to achieve. When he experiences failure, he may blame the people around him for the fact that it was because of them that he could not get what he wanted.

Those around him, in turn, no matter whether they are relatives, classmates, friends or work colleagues, may believe that he himself is to blame for his problems and failures. The form can be completely different, but almost always it can lead to misunderstanding, which can develop into discontent and even confrontation, thereby creating tension and causing a conflict situation

Every person has life contradictions. It is common for people to be dissatisfied with something, to perceive something with hostility, and not to agree with everything. And all this is natural, because such is human nature. However, these and other similar internal properties can become harmful if a person is not able to resolve his own conflicts with the people around him; if he is unable to give it a constructive form; if he cannot adhere to adequate principles in his contradictions.

It is quite reasonable to conclude that conflicts are inevitable. But, in reality, everything is somewhat different. And not all conflict situations that arise from time to time between people end in conflict.

You should not treat conflict as something dangerous and negative if it is a stimulus for personal development, pushes a person to work on himself, strengthens him morally and psychologically, and promotes unity with other people. But you should try to avoid those conflicts that have destructive potential, destroy relationships, create a state of psychological discomfort, and increase a person’s isolation

It is precisely the poem that is very important to be able to recognize any preconditions for conflicts and to be able to prevent the occurrence of unwanted conflict situations

Being able to recognize and prevent conflicts means mastering the culture of communication, being able to control oneself, showing respect for the personality of other people, and using various methods of influencing them. Nothing can contribute as strongly to the elimination of various kinds of misunderstandings as competent, civilized communication, which includes knowledge of basic etiquette skills and the ability to master them, as well as the ability to establish and maintain effective contact, develop your own style of communication and interaction with others people.

If you find yourself in a difficult, contradictory situation, the most important thing is to control your behavior and behave socially competently. If a conflict situation is based on experiences and emotions, then the unpleasant sensations from it can remain for a very, very long time. For this reason, you need to learn to manage your emotional states, control your behavior and reactions. You should always be tuned to the stability and balance of your nervous system.

EXERCISE: One of the most effective methods of working with your psyche is to set yourself in a state of calm. It’s not at all difficult to implement: sit in a comfortable chair, relax, close your eyes and try not to think about anything for a while. Then clearly and slowly say to yourself a few phrases that will set you up for self-control, endurance, and a state of calm. Strive to feel a sense of balance take over you, you become more cheerful, feel a surge of strength and good mood; you feel great physically, mentally and psychologically. Regularly performing this exercise will allow you to become more resistant to emotional stress of any intensity.

Let us remind you that the presented lesson is more theoretical than practical, because Our task was to introduce you to what a conflict is in general and to present a classification of conflicts. From the following lessons of our training on conflict management, you can learn not only a lot of theoretical information, but also learn a lot of practical tips that you can immediately put into practice.

Conflict and its destructive functions

The main negative point in all conflicts is the negative emotions received by its participants. Frequent stressful situations have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and mood. In addition, conflicts can be accompanied by violence, both psychological and physical.

Very often such phenomena end in a complete breakdown of relations between opponents. Examples of this are divorces of spouses, dismissals of employees, termination of friendly relations. People fail to agree and find a compromise, so this outcome is the only possible way out for them.

The destructive functions of conflict are also manifested in the underestimation of the self-esteem of the losing participant. A person may become depressed and doubt the correctness of his ideals and values.

In addition, conflict situations create an image of an enemy in people. Anyone with whom contradictions have once arisen will no longer be able to earn trust. Subsequently, the slightest misunderstanding can lead to the outbreak of a new conflict.

Classification of conflicts by impact on the activities of a group or organization

In terms of their impact on the activities of a group or organization, conflicts can be constructive or destructive.

Constructive (functional) conflicts are conflicts that lead to the adoption of informed decisions and contribute to the development of relations between the subjects of the conflict. As a rule, the following several functional consequences of conflicts are identified:

  • The conflict is resolved in a way that suits all parties to the conflict; each party feels involved in resolving the problem;
  • A decision made jointly is implemented as quickly and easily as possible;
  • The parties involved in the conflict master the skill of effective cooperation when resolving problematic issues;
  • If a conflict has arisen between subordinates and managers, then the practice of conflict resolution makes it possible to destroy the “submission syndrome”, when a person occupying a lower position has a fear of expressing his point of view if it differs from that of people with a higher status;
  • Relationships between people become better;
  • Participants in the conflict no longer view disagreements as something negative and leading to negative consequences.

EXAMPLE: An excellent example of constructive conflict is a common work situation: a manager and a subordinate cannot come to an agreement on any issue regarding their joint activities. After a conversation and each participant expressing their opinion, a compromise is found, and the manager and subordinate find a common language, and their relationship acquires a positive tone.

Destructive (dysfunctional) conflicts are conflicts that impede the making of competent decisions and effective interaction between the subjects of the conflict. The dysfunctional consequences of conflicts are the following:

  • Competitive, adversarial relationships between people;
  • Lack of desire for positive relationships and cooperation;
  • Perception of the opponent as an enemy, his position - exclusively as incorrect, and one’s own - exclusively as correct;
  • The desire to reduce and even completely stop any interaction with the opponent’s side;
  • The belief that winning a conflict is more important than finding a common solution;
  • Bad mood, negative emotions, feeling of dissatisfaction.

EXAMPLE: Examples of unconstructive conflict include war, any manifestations of physical violence, family quarrels, etc.


Let's start with the definition

Conflict is the emergence and collision of contradictions, that is, when opposite parties have completely different views on circumstances, values ​​and information, as a result of which there is no agreement between them.

The outcome of such disagreements can sometimes be predicted, but most often it is unforeseen. It depends not only on the subject of the dispute, but also on the personalities who participate in it, their motivation, as well as the setting and background in which it arose. Usually people have a negative attitude towards quarrels and disputes, preferring to avoid them.

Sometimes one’s needs are ignored out of fear and unwillingness to compete, to clarify something and to declare oneself and one’s point of view, which may be different from others. But modern psychology provides a lot of arguments, based on which, clarification of disagreements is considered not only useful, but generally necessary. And not only for a person with the goal of improving his quality of life, but also for an entire organization, which stops developing if employees “escape” tense moments in every possible way.

Therefore, the task of managers and executives in large corporations and successful companies is to artificially create creative, stimulating circumstances.

Models of conflict behavior

Three main models of conflict behavior can be distinguished, namely:

Destructive is characterized by a desire to escalate confrontation and increase tension. A person may try to involve even more participants in the conflict, expanding its scope. This model is characterized by the following: neglect of the partner in order to reduce his role in resolving the dispute; personal insult and negative performance assessments; open expression of mistrust and doubt; deviation from moral and ethical standards of communication.

Constructive behavior in a conflict is aimed at “extinguishing” the confrontation as soon as possible and solving the problem diplomatically. If one of the participants is aimed at reconciliation, then he will show restraint and self-control, regardless of the opponent’s behavior

It is important to behave openly and kindly, while maintaining few words.

A compromise model of behavior is aimed at finding an alternative solution; it is characteristic of insecure individuals. They act rather passively and avoid direct answers to questions.

Participants do not insist on respecting their interests and willingly make concessions.

Types of conflicting personalities

A constructive solution to a conflict is not always possible due to the individual characteristics of its participants. Psychologists identify six personality types that most often come into conflict with others:

  • demonstrative - they like to be in the center of events, they are quite emotional, and therefore are often the initiators of disputes and confrontations;
  • rigid - due to high self-esteem and resentment, they often neglect the opinions and interests of others, which leads to serious conflict situations;
  • uncontrollable - characterized by excessive impulsiveness and lack of self-control skills;
  • hyper-precise - too demanding of themselves and others, picky about little things, distrustful;
  • conflict - they purposefully enter into confrontation with others, considering such behavior as a way of manipulating and achieving their goals;
  • conflict-free - they are afraid of any disputes and confrontations, as a result of which they can provoke aggression and irritation of others, which leads to the opposite effect.

Conflict management

Managing constructive conflicts includes the following basic techniques:

A clear distinction between the subject of the conflict and its participants. It is unacceptable to criticize personal qualities or interests

Thus, all attention is focused directly on the problem. Development of options that satisfy both parties. To come to a common decision, the parties to the conflict must direct all their efforts not to personal confrontation, but concentrate them on finding alternatives

It is worth uniting against the problem, and not opposing each other. The brainstorming method works well here, and you can also involve third parties. The use of objective criteria implies an objective view of the problem, regardless of the interests of the parties to the conflict. In this case, a decision can be made that will be stable and neutral. Elimination of the influence of principled positions. First of all, each side must decide what its rational interest is in this or that development of events. It is quite possible that the conflicting parties will have them in common, or at least will not be mutually exclusive.


Despite the fact that most people consider conflict to be a purely negative phenomenon, this is not entirely fair. It may well be constructive in nature. Moreover, in some cases it is simply necessary. For example, the leaders of some organizations deliberately provoke constructive conflicts in work collectives. This helps to identify existing problems, relieve emotional stress and create a healthy work environment. It is also worth remembering that with a competent approach to conflict management, even destructive confrontation can have a constructive conclusion.

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