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Why is Some Conflict Healthy While Other Disagreements Escalate Out of Control?

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Discord at the Office
Why is Some Conflict Healthy While Other Disagreements Escalate Out of Control?

A recent paper in the Academy of Management Review says it’s not just the nature of a disagreement, but the way it is expressd that leads to a positive or negative result in the workplace. The authors identified four types of conflict expression. Can you guess which conflict style which is healthiest?

A. High directness/high intensity

B. High directness/low intensity

C. Low directness/high intensity

D. Low directness/low intensity

The answer is B. When we use this style, our communication is unambiguous. However, it also invites deliberation instead of eye rolling or shouting (A), ambiguousness or mean-spirited teasing, (C) or  avoidance and passive-agressiveness (D).

How Civil is Your Work Environment?

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