Resolving Conflicts

Understanding each team member's conflict resolution style to develop effective strategies to resolve differences of opinion or approach among members of a team.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Understanding the five conflict resolution styles - competing, collaborating, compromising, accommodating, and avoiding and their corresponding levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness helps teams more deeply understand and communicate with each other and better resolve conflicts and reach improved collaborative results.

Method Components

As students undertake an activity, the educator helps them identify the five conflict resolution styles and strategies to help them resolve conflicts more effectively. This can be done in small groups or in whole-group instruction.

Five conflict resolution styles

Knowing the conflict resolution styles of all team members is helpful in strategizing and negotiating a resolution to conflicts that arise among team members.

General approaches that support healthy conflict resolution include:

  • Open and frequent communication, where it is safe and encouraged to voice disagreement
  • Respect for different opinions and how they can enhance the creativity and expand the range of innovative solutions possible
  • Creative searches for mutually satisfying, collaborative, win-win resolutions to conflicting positions

More specifically, cooperative negotiation towards a creative solution to conflict involves:

  • Differentiating between productive conflicts over issues, ideas, and tasks and unproductive conflicts over emotions and personalities; it is important to separate the people from the problem.
  • Focusing on shared interests of all parties as a common ground for building creative resolutions.
  • Setting expectations that managing conflicts is more important than fully settling every conflict.
  • Demonstrating that a creative, collaborative, negotiated resolution to a conflict can be an everyday part of the work of a team. For example, team agreements in which everyone agrees to follow this norm from the beginning of a project, can be essential to productive teamwork (see the Productive Teamwork micro-credential).

Suggested preparation

  • Students discuss the kinds of conflicts they have experienced in working together on teams and how they did or didn’t resolve their differences; they list positive and negative strategies for resolving conflicts and share them with each other.

Suggested review

  • Students discuss the results of their efforts to resolve conflicts creatively in their work together and reflect on how team collaboration can be further improved from the lessons learned.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Turning natural differences and conflicts of opinion and approach into a force for positive collaboration and creative solutions involves a variety of strategies and practices based on years of research into negotiation, mediation, and positive resolution among team members with different styles of dealing with conflict.


  • Conflict Management Toolkit, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies,

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn the micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient at resolving conflicts? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the resolving conflicts activity and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, media) that demonstrate progress toward the resolving conflicts competency, including examples of the strategies students used to resolve differences, learn from each other, and use conflict as a tool to increase creativity and team innovation.

Part 3. Student reflection

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the teamwork activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did using some of the conflict resolution understandings and guidelines help your team be more effective?
  • How did this learning activity change your view of what it takes to have effective and creative teamwork?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the resolving conflicts activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Resolving Conflicts
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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