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Constructive and Destructive Approaches to Conflict

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Area of Concern

Constructive Approach

Destructive Approach

Issues

Raises & clarifies issues

Brings up old issues

Feelings

Expresses both positive & negative feelings

Expresses only negative feelings

Information

Complete and honest information

Selective information

Focus

Conflict focuses on issue

Conflict focuses on person

Blame

Accepts mutual blame

Blames other person(s) for problem

Perception

Focuses on similarities

Focuses on differences

Change

Facilitates change to prevent stagnation

Minimizes change, increasing conflict

Outcome

Both win

One wins, one loses; or both lose

Intimacy

Resolving conflict increases intimacy

Escalating conflict decreases intimacy