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Needs Assessment Tool #3: Conflict Typology Matrix

What Questions May Be Addressed by This Measure?


This matrix offers you the opportunity to creatively gather information about the types of conflict that are being experienced on campus.  You may gain an understanding of who is in conflict with whom, what the conflicts are about, and the frequency and severity of these conflicts.


How Do I Use This Measure?


Like the HotSpot map, which identifies locations of conflict, this matrix is intended to give you a quick visual and qualitative representation of conflict on your campus.  It may be used either with individuals or with groups.  It may be performed as an exercise for small groups in a classroom or workshop, mailed to a representative sample of campus community members to gather anonymous data, or it may be posted on a large wall chart in a heavy-traffic area of campus.  There are likely to be few, if any, issues of confidentiality around using this tool, although it is wise to indicate answers will be anonymous.


Your respondents will be given a quantity of colored stickers to paste on the chart.  Red stickers represent very serious conflicts (high intensity); yellow stickers represent moderate-intensity conflicts; and green stickers represent low-level, ongoing conflicts.  Your participants are simply asked to distribute their stickers on the matrix according to the number and level of conflicts that they are personally aware of. 


For example: a staff member who deals mainly with faculty and administrators is mostly aware of low-level conflicts over working conditions and financial issues.  She places green stickers next to the â??working conditionsâ? and â??financial compensationâ? boxes under â??Nature of Conflict,â? and chooses both â??Co-Workersâ? and â??Employees-Bossesâ? as â??Disputantsâ? for both of these types of conflicts.


What Information Will the Results Give Me?


You should be able to discern by looking at a number of different matrices what peoplesâ?? concerns are about conflict on campus.  You will be able to get a visual sense of the intensity of conflict, the disputants involved, and common reasons that disputes arise.  Every campus is different; this matrix will help you to identify the key issues on your campus that need to be addressed by a conflict mediation service.





What types of conflict are you most aware of that occur on this campus? 


Instructions:  Affix your stickers in the boxes that represent the types of conflicts that you are most aware of.  Going across on the matrix, decide WHO is involved in conflicts.  Then, going down the matrix, decide WHAT TYPE of conflict is usually experienced. 




  • RED stickers for serious conflicts;
  • YELLOW stickers for moderate conflicts; and,
  • GREEN stickers for low-level, or ongoing conflicts. 


All responses are anonymous.  Use as many stickers as you like to create a picture of conflict on your campus!


WHO is Involved