The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies

Paper Info
Page count 4
Word count 1132
Read time 5 min
Topic Sociology
Type Assessment
Language 🇺🇸 US

It is difficult to find two people with the same tastes, habits, or interests, so in any long-term relationship, sooner or later, there are disagreements, contradictions, conflict situations. Conflict can be defined as a dispute between people with contrasting necessities, resources, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. Analysts propose different definitions of conflict; for instance, Merriam-Webster (n.d.) dictionary provides the following description of conflict: “competitive or opposing action of incompatibles: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons)” (para. 6). Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.) highlights that conflict is “an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles” (para. 3). The personal viewpoint reflects the disagreement that conflict possesses; literature definitions emphasize incompatible actions and states of conflict.

On the one hand, conflict situations can harm existing relationships. Still, on the other hand, the divergence of views and the existence of several opinions can be a resource that enriches the connection and contributes to building trust and mutual understanding (Coleman et al., 2014). To skillfully overcome existing conflicts, it is necessary to use a method of behavior that is suitable for the situation.

Researchers identified the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” namely, four different communication behaviors that can lead to conflict. These behaviors are verbal and non-verbal, including criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling (Hocker & Wilmot, 2018). All types of communication behaviors might affect interpersonal relationships and cause conflict situations. Criticism is complaining and usually involves complaints focused on a person’s traits, rather than on a specific action, which triggers the aggressiveness and conflicts (Hocker & Wilmot, 2018). Contempt involved insulting and public ridicule to degrade the other individual that adversely affects communication and interaction.

Defensiveness is protecting yourself and denying responsibility for specific actions, including making excuses, whining, not accepting the concern, and changing the behavior. Defensiveness, when it happens fiercely without mutual communication, might lead to significant deterioration of relationships (Hocker & Wilmot, 2018). Stonewalling is withdrawing from the talk and not responding, which results in the impossibility to resolve any conflict since one of the parties stops engaging in the situation and communicating.

A form of verbal communication and associated behavior types can lead to conflicts when other people use verbal abuse, or there is a lack of communication that leads to misunderstanding and conflicts. Scholars not that verbal communication with difficult people might be challenging. Some people might refer to oral communication, such as yelling, which can lead to conflict situations and other party debilitation (Overton & Lowry, 2013). Non-verbal communication forms and behaviors might also lead to a conflict. For instance, eye contact is among the major issues that cause discomfort, misunderstanding, and conflict situations (Bonaccio et al., 2016).

Eye blocking, enhanced blinking, gaze aversion, or narrowing in different cultures might be associated with frustration, defensiveness, and negative emotions that can trigger other party’s disagreement and assertiveness. Researchers suggest that inappropriate non-verbal communication forms escalate conflicts at workplaces (Bonaccio et al., 2016).

Both verbal and non-verbal communication behaviors affect interpersonal relationships. For instance, non-verbal communication, such as gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions, might be misinterpreted by others, which can lead to a conflict situation. When, for example, someone crosses the hands, it might be a sign of disapproval for the speaking party; however, it might also indicate that the person feels cold (Sanders, 2018). On the other side, verbal communication behaviors might positively and negatively affect interpersonal relationships, depending on the words used in the communication and the strategy chosen. For instance, if someone criticizes another person and uses insulting comments, this behavior might cause conflict and aggressiveness (University of Minnesota, 2016).

The impact of conflict on relationship building in face-to-face, virtual, cyber, and group communication might be diverse. Analysts state that disputes that arise in different offline and online individuals can disrupt trustful relationships and agreement and challenge the existing contact (Committee on the Science of Team Science et al., 2015). Face-to-face communication is preferred when resolving contrasting matters, while virtual might not be that effective. In contrast, group communication, especially cyber group communication, is prone to conflicts because group members may have less power and influence in the situation and might not be heard, which causes disagreement (Committee on the Science of Team Science et al., 2015).

Individual differences can also contribute to the development of interpersonal conflicts. People might have significantly different personalities, values, expectations, upbringing, education, and occupation (Legg, 2020). Therefore, their attitudes towards conflicts and problem-solving can trigger interpersonal conflicts based on different communication methods, approaches to actions, and emotional and behavior differences (Legg, 2020).

All these peculiarities of personalities can clash on various issues and bring interpersonal conflicts that should be appropriately handled. Personality clashes, noted by analysts, contribute to understanding the concept of interpersonal conflicts and how they arise because they provide information about personal values and attitudes that people have and how contrasting views cause conflicts (Bazezew & Neka, 2017). It might also be an interesting observation the researchers note that homogeneous groups of people might have fewer conflicts or do not conflict on the individual differences, such as religion, ethnicity, political views (Bazezew & Neka, 2017).

There are numerous strategies proposed by researchers to resolve interpersonal conflicts. One way to manage interpersonal miscommunication is the mediation process, which involves a third party facilitating effective communication among people who should achieve a mutually acceptable agreement as an outcome. Mediation works well when people have equal power and want to resolve the conflict (Kressel, 2014). Conflict coaching is a new strategy of conflict resolution between parties, proposed by analysts. Parties invite a conflict coach to work on three main goals: understanding of the conflict, the definition of the most preferred method for problem-solving, and skills development to apply the preferred strategy (Brinkert, 2016). The conflict expert helps individuals to nurture conflict management skills that can help them to resolve miscommunication in the future.

Interpersonal conflicts might require tailor-made conflict strategies and solutions, depending on the individual characteristics of confronting parties. Researchers suggest treating others respectfully, set an appropriate tone for the conversation, and understand the value of relationships when it comes to interpersonal confrontation (Bao et al., 2016). Moreover, it is easier to resolve interpersonal conflicts when small, according to studies (Bao et al., 2016).

Individual differences include willingness to collaborate and compromise might also differ depending on gender and culture individuals have. Thus, such characteristics should be taken into account as noted by researchers and should be applied, depending on aspects of the place and society, where interpersonal conflicts occur as they might have a significant impact on the behavior and communication techniques used, such as conflict-handling and compromise (Lawless & Trif, 2016).

Overall, it should be noted that based on the nature of the conflict and differences in individuals, an appropriate strategy should be chosen.


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Cite this paper


NerdyHound. (2022, May 22). The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies. Retrieved from


NerdyHound. (2022, May 22). The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies.

Work Cited

"The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies." NerdyHound, 22 May 2022,


NerdyHound. (2022) 'The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies'. 22 May.


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1. NerdyHound. "The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies." May 22, 2022.


NerdyHound. "The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies." May 22, 2022.


NerdyHound. 2022. "The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies." May 22, 2022.

1. NerdyHound. "The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies." May 22, 2022.


NerdyHound. "The Research of Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies." May 22, 2022.