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Needs Assessment Tool #5: Conflict Management Inventory

What Questions May Be Addressed by This Measure?

The instrument provided here is an edited version of Susan Goldstein’s Conflict Management Inventory (see LeBaron and Grundison, 1993).  This 75-item standardized measure was designed to discover the different styles and feelings about conflict that individuals have when handling conflict.  It contains five subscales (15 questions in each) exploring, all within the context of conflict, the respondents’: (1) feelings and beliefs regarding confrontation; (2) emotional expression; (3) public/private behavior (4) conflict avoidance; and, (5) self-disclosure.

How Do I Use This Measure?

This tool has been developed as a standardized personality instrument, and therefore it is recommended that you not adapt it for your own purposes, but rather distribute it as is.  Participants are asked to rate the degree to which a statement reflects their approach to conflict resolution, using a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).  To control for something known as response bias, items for each subscale (i.e., the themes identified by each of the five subscales outlined above) were balanced: for half the questions a rating of ‘1’ reflects a “higher” score on the subscale while for the other half a higher score is associated with a rating of  ‘7’.  Thus, when analyzing the questionnaire data, half of the response ratings to each subscale must be reversed so that all scores end up going in the same direction (i.e., so that a rating of ‘7’ has a parallel meaning for all subscale questions).  This is a fairly common practice in survey design and analysis.  There are likely individuals on campus who can provide help if you need it.

For scoring  purposes the questions fall into the following subscales, the * denotes reverse scoring:

Confrontation Subscale: 1, 8*, 12*, 20*, 22*, 25*, 29*, 31*, 38*, 43, 48, 53, 57*, 61*, 67*

Public/Private Behavior Subscale: 2*, 11*, 16, 21, 24, 26*, 30*, 35*, 45, 49, 51*, 59, 63, 70, 74  

Emotional Expression Subscale: 5*, 9*, 14*, 19*, 27*, 37*, 42*, 47, 50*, 54, 58, 62, 64*, 68, 72

Conflict Approach/Avoidance Subscale: 4*, 6*, 15*, 18, 23*, 33, 40, 46, 52, 55, 66, 69, 71, 73*, 75*

Self-Disclosure Subscale: 3*, 7*, 10*, 13*, 17*, 28*, 32*, 34, 36, 39, 41, 44, 56*, 60

To make sense out of the information you get back, you will want to ask for some basic demographic information on the people responding to the questionnaire (e.g., age, department or major, ethnicity, role on campus – undergraduate, graduate student, faculty, staff).  It is important to make sure that the survey is sent to (and received back from) people from all facets of the campus target population: students, staff, faculty, and administrators.  You may also ask clubs and organizations to distribute it.  Be advised that in most college settings, collecting information such as this from human participants requires that you submit the survey, your purpose for using it, as well as a description of what you plan to do with the data, to an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to get ethical clearance.  Check your university’s IRB policies before beginning to distribute this survey.

There are several important issues about using surveys: selection procedures, confidentiality of responses, response rates, and data analysis.  It is strongly recommended that a trained researcher who is aware of these issues take responsibility for disseminating and analyzing data from this tool.  Trained researchers may include faculty or graduate students from social science or business departments, or senior undergraduates who have been trained in survey research methods.

What Information Will the Results Give Me?

The results will suggest the variety of styles with which people on your campus approach conflict situations.  If you discover that a great number of them are, for example, conflict avoiders, this information may assist you in planning your mediation service.  This scale may also be used as a pre-test/post-test measure, used among the campus at large (or among potential mediators) both before, and again after, a conflict resolution service has been established.  A pre-test/post-test allows a researcher trained in hypothesis-testing methods of research to compare whether, and how, conflict styles change over time.


Conflict Management Inventory

Please indicate how much you agree with each of the following statements.  Use the scale located to the right. 

(All answers are anonymous)

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Disagree Somewhat

4 = Neutral

5 = Agree Somewhat

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly Agree

1)   I feel more comfortable having an argument over the phone than in person.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

2)   I would be embarrassed if neighbors heard me argue with a family member.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

3)   In a dispute, I try not to let the other person know what I am thinking.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

4)   I wait to see if a dispute will resolve itself before taking action.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

5)   It is a waste of time to involve emotions in a dispute.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

6)   I hate arguments.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

7)   There are not many people with whom I feel comfortable expressing disagreement.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

8)  When arguing with someone I feel more comfortable sitting side-by-side than face-to-face.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

9)   Getting emotional only makes conflicts worse.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

10)  In an argument, I try to reveal as little as possible about my point of view.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

11)  I feel uncomfortable seeing others argue in public.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

12)  If my neighbor were having a party that made too much noise I would rather call the police than speak with the neighbor myself.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

13)  I feel annoyed when someone I am arguing with pressures me to talk about my thoughts or beliefs.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

14)  If I become angry it is because I have lost control.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

15)  I rarely have arguments with my friends.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Survey continues on next page

Conflict Management Inventory Cont.

Please indicate how much you agree with each of the following statements.  Use the scale located to the right. 

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Disagree Somewhat

4 = Neutral

5 = Agree Somewhat

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly Agree

16)  It would not bother me to have an argument in a restaurant.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

17)  In a dispute there are many things about myself that I will not discuss.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

18)  Arguments can be fun.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

19)  Showing your feelings in a dispute is a sign of weakness.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

20)  I prefer to express points of disagreement with others by writing them notes rather than speaking with them directly.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

21)  I do not mind being involved in an argument in a public place.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

22)  If a friend owed me money I would hint about it before asking directly to be paid.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

23)  I avoid arguments.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

24)  When I am having a dispute with someone, I do not pay

attention to whether others are around.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

25)  I dislike when others have eye contact with me during an argument.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

26)  I feel uncomfortable when others argue in my presence.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

27) It makes me uncomfortable when other people express their emotions.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

28)  I feel uncomfortable when others reveal personal thoughts or beliefs during  a dispute.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

29)  If I were upset with a friend I would discuss it with someone else rather with than the friend who upset me.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

30)  I do not want anyone besides those involved to know about an argument I have had.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Survey continues on next page

Conflict Management Inventory Cont.

Please indicate how much you agree with each of the following statements.  Use the scale located to the right. 

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Disagree Somewhat

4 = Neutral

5 = Agree Somewhat

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly Agree

31)  I prefer to guess what someone is upset about rather than ask about it.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

32)  I rarely state my point of view unless I am asked.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

33)  I am drawn to conflict situations.            

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

34)  During a dispute I state my opinions openly.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

35)  I avoid arguing in public.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

36)  In an argument, I feel comfortable expressing my needs and concerns.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

37)  I hide my emotions in a dispute.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

38)  If I am upset about something a friend has done I wait as long as possible before discussing the issue.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

39)  In a dispute, I want to know all about the other person’s thoughts and beliefs.    

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

40)  I do not mind when others start arguments with me.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

41)  In a dispute, I am glad when the other person asks me about my thoughts or opinions. 

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

42)  I feel like running away when people start showing their emotions during an argument.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

43)  When I have a conflict with someone I try to resolve it by being extra nice to him or her.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

44)  In a conflict situation I feel comfortable expressing my thoughts no matter who the others involved are.         

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

45)  It does not bother me to be in a situation where others are arguing.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Survey continues on next page

Conflict Management Inventory Cont.

Please indicate how much you agree with each of the following statements.  Use the scale located to the right. 

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Disagree Somewhat

4 = Neutral

5 = Agree Somewhat

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly Agree

46)  I enjoy challenging the opinions of others.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

47)  For me, expressing emotions is an important part of settling disputes.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

48)  I prefer to solve disputes through face-to-face discussion.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

49)  I am annoyed when someone refuses to discuss a disagreement with me because there are others around.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

50)  I avoid people who express their emotions easily.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

51)  I would feel uncomfortable arguing with one friend in the presence of other friends.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

52)  I often start arguments.  

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

53)  If a co-worker were interfering with my performance on the job I would rather speak to him or her directly than to tell the boss.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

54)  In a dispute, I express my emotions openly.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

55)  I find conflicts exciting.   

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

56)  I do not like when people ask me to discuss my emotions in a dispute.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

57)  I expect a family member to know what is on my mind without my telling him or her.     

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

58)  Everything should be out in the open in an argument, including emotions.        

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

59)  I am just as comfortable having an argument in a public place as in a private place.     

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

60)  It annoys me when I know someone is upset with me but he or she will not discuss it.     

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Survey continues on next page

Conflict Management Inventory Cont.

Please indicate how much you agree with each of the following statements.  Use the scale located to the right. 

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Disagree Somewhat

4 = Neutral

5 = Agree Somewhat

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly Agree

61)  When something I have purchased is found to be defective, I keep it anyway.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

62)  It shows strength to express emotions openly. 

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

63)  I would not mind if a friend told others about an argument that we had.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

64)  I feel frustrated when others discourage my emotional expression.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

65)  When involved in a dispute I often become silent.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

66)  Arguments do not bother me.     

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

67)  After a dispute with a neighbor, I would feel uncomfortable seeing him or her again even if the conflict had been resolved.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

68)  An argument can be resolved more easily when people express their emotions.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

69)  Conflicts make relationships interesting.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

70)  I do not mind strangers arguing in my presence.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

71)  I like when other people challenge my opinions.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

72)  I feel comfortable when other people express their emotions during a dispute.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

73)  I avoid conflict.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

74)  I argue in public.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

75)  I feel upset after an argument.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Please add any comments and thank you.



* Developed by Susan Goldstein, in 1990. See "Construction and Validation of a Conflict Communication Scale" in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1999, 29, 9, pp 1803-1832 for a full explanation of the scale and its scoring