Sample Research Paper on Constructive Conflict

 competition and conflicts

Conflicts are often regarded as destructive and negative to personal and social changes. They however lead to problems being aired to be utilized in formulating solutions. Thus, conflicts can lead to positive functions and outcomes. A constructive conflict refers to a situation through which knowledge is developed enabling cooperative and competitive parties to be amicable. It also encourages development of distinctive processes leading to integrative and distributive bargaining to deal with differing conflicts. Differing attitudes and interests forming the collective human experiences therefore lead to constructive conflicts (Colette, 2015).

I have experienced constructive conflict on various occasions. For example, I was involved in a competition with my siblings in attempts to gain favor from our parents. The situation was extremely competitive, as we had to achieve higher grades and engage in various errands around the house while maintaining a social life. The situation escalated to use of stiff and unfair competitive measures such as interrupting study sessions or hiding reading materials. As the last born, I was disadvantaged as my elder siblings resulted in bullying. My self-esteem suffered and I became withdrawn from social activities coupled with poor grades. My parents were concerned after witnessing the problematic changes. As a result, they had to apply leadership skills to provide some insight with regards to my mental, physical, and psychological changes. They were therefore able to identify the problem and suggest a solution to amend the conflict between siblings. They had to assure us that, we are loved and appreciated equally. They emphasized putting each other down was neither acceptable nor ethical. We all apologized and started providing assistance in our academic pursuits.

Based on this personal experience, my parents’ role affirmed a leader ought to undertake various steps to encourage or foster constructive conflict to increase organizational functionality, performance and teamwork (Cynthia, Megan & Lynne, 2003). The first step involves domination while ensuring the leader is neither biased nor pre-disposed. This step is considered the easiest to deal with a conflict, as it is short term. It however lacks a long term appeal. As a result, a leader ought to undertake the second step, which involves compromise and understanding. It is important for both parties to provide insights with regards to the situation. The leader should therefore ensure parties speak clearly and accurately without interruptions in attempts to understand activities leading to the conflict. The last step involves integrating an identified and accepted solution. Conflicting parties can either agree or disagree to sacrifice. They should however agree to progress from the conflictive situation. Ultimately, these steps guide parties in a conflict to acknowledge they can be selfless, unbiased, inventive, and ready to integrate advantageous approaches avoiding competition and conflicts (Carr & Fulmer, 2004).

A leader’s diligence in managing conflict is therefore important as dialogue is encouraged and managed. Consequently, they are accountable and rewarded for diffusing a conflict successfully. There is however a likelihood of a constructive conflict or debate devolving to a destructive one. A leader should therefore follow the following steps to deescalate the situation (Bayer & Schernick, 2012). Foremost, the leader should block criticism and convince parties involved to calm down. The leader should also involve a mediator as an affirmation to the parties that, their views will be handled in equal measure before a decision is imposed. In case the conflict is violent, the leader should adjudicate or apply litigation to dominate, impose, and force a decision aimed at diffusing the situation. As a result, the parties involved can control and manage their emotions, behaviors, attitudes, and anger leading to an understanding (Craig & Tim, 2008).


Bayer, H., & Schernick, T. (2012). FES Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP): Conflict Management, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Organization.

Carr, C., & Fulmer, C. (2004). Educational Leadership: Knowing the Way, Going the Way, Showing the Way, Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education.

Colette, L. M. (2015). Differences between Destructive and Constructive Conflict, Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Craig, E. R., & Tim, A. F. (2008). Conflict Competent Leadership, Leader to Leader Executive Forum Report.

Cynthia, L. U., Megan, T. M., & Lynne, P. (2003). Constructive Conflict: How Controversy can Contribute to School Improvement, Colombia University Teachers College Record, 105(5): 782-816.