Sunday, May 19, 2013

Doubt in Conflict Resolution Techniques

I got the following question from one of the candidates in my PMP training programme. The question relates to "Conflict Resolution Techniques" from Project Human Resources Management. Let us see the question below & our conversation/ discussion regarding the answer:

The Question

Choose from the following combinations, the combination that shows the most preferred and the least preferred conflict resolution techniqes:

(A) Smoothing, Withdrawal
(B) Problem Solving, Withdrawal
(C) Confrontation, Forcing
(D) Compromising, Forcing

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Discussion on the Answer

PMP Aspirant: "Manick, I chose answer (C). But, the correct choice seems to be (B). As per PMI, least preferred is forcing right? I don't understand. Can you please explain?"

Manick: "The answer is (B). The most preferred conflict resolution technique is problem solving/ confrontation; the least preferred technique is withdrawal.

In withdrawal, there is no resolution. You are running away from the solution. Whereas, in Forcing, you have a resolution arbitrarily; through force and power. But, the point is, in Forcing, at least you have some solution whereas in withdrawal the conflict still remains."

PMP Aspirant: "Ya I agree ..but during our class I remember u saying generally withdrawal is least preferred but as per PMI forcing is the last the confusion:("

Manick: "As per PMI, forcing should be the last resort if other conflict resolution techniques like Confrontation could not work. What it means is, you can use forcing if everything else fails; but, withdrawal should not be used at all. So, in the hierarchy of preference, forcing comes before withdrawal."

Is that clear to you? Are you with me? You can share your opinion or comments for further discussion on this issue.


  1. This is right approach in practical. But when the same question appear in PMP exam I would go with Problem Solving - Forcing. PMP Exam demand the answers by PMI :)

    1. Thanks Vikash for your opinion. I would go with "B"; PMBOK does not rank the alternatives. Its up to us to rank them based on the explanations given.