Research Finds Link Between Personality Traits and their Impact on Addressing Conflict

Summary of:

Tehrani, H. D., & Yamini, S. (2019). Personality traits and conflict resolution styles: A meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 157, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.109794

Background & Theory

This article performs a meta-analysis to evaluate how personality traits and conflict resolution styles are connected. Clashes in personalities can create conflict, so it makes sense that personality traits could also impact how someone addresses conflict. 

Research Questions

Tehrani and Yamini in Personality traits and conflict resolution styles: A meta-analysis (2019), address the following questions:

  1. Do personality traits influence conflict handling styles?
  2. Do any specific conditions affect those connections?

Methods

To conduct their research, Tehrani and Yamini use the “Five-Factor Model” to evaluate personality traits, which include neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. These personality traits were measured against the main five categories of conflict resolution styles: avoiding, compromising, dominating, obliging, and integrating. Specific criteria were set, searches were done to gather as many studies as possible, and then a meta-analysis of all relevant data was conducted.

Results

The data shows that there are certainly some connections between personality traits and conflict resolution styles. An avoiding style of conflict resolution is positively correlated to agreeableness and neuroticism. A compromising style of resolving conflict is positively related to agreeableness, extroversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. Extroversion positively affects the dominating style of conflict resolution, while the trait of agreeableness was found to have a negative relationship with it. Agreeableness positively affects obliging style. Agreeableness, extroversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness positively impact integrating style, while neuroticism is the only trait to negatively impact it. 

One important aspect to note is that the correlations between personality traits and conflict resolution styles varied when analyzed in a work vs. an academic setting. Certain limitations do exist in this study in regards to cultural norms, and thus it worth further study that involves Eastern influence and not strictly Western influence.

What This Means

  • Understanding one’s personality traits and their likelihood to address conflict in a certain way can be very beneficial in resolving conflict, especially if this is taken into account for all parties involved in the conflict.
  • It’s critical to take into account the environment and specific factors surrounding the conflict, since there is a distinct difference in the connections between personality traits and conflict handling styles based upon the setting.

Final Takeaway

For consultants: When possible, think about how your clients’ and your own personality traits may influence the conflict resolution process. This may help in finding an appropriate and smooth approach to the conflict at hand.

For everyone: Learning not only to evaluate your own personality and how you’re likely to handle conflict, but also that of your family, friends, and coworkers can help resolve conflict more easily.

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