Blogs By
Ralph H. Kilmann

Addressing the four timeless topics: conflict,
change, consciousness, and transformation

Instead of asking members to respond to the thirty items in general terms, I provide these modified instructions: “IN THIS ORGANIZATION, when you find your wishes differing from those of another person, how do you usually respond?” As a second TKI assessment, I ask the same people to respond to these different instructions: “OUTSIDE THIS ORGANIZATION, when you find your wishes differing from those of another person, how do you usually respond?”...

There are test-retest guidelines when validating any assessment tool: Given the nature of the theory behind the construct, do you expect the construct to be rather stable over time (such as an enduring personality trait) or do you expect it to change in the short run (such as a behavioral choice in a conflict situation)? In terms of the TKI, since this assessment claims to measure behavioral choices (whether conscious or not), test-retest correlations are not expected to be stable in the long run, especially when people are subjected to conflict awareness training and other educational experiences that expose them...

Competing, accommodating, and compromising all fall on the distributive dimension -- on the diagonal from the upper-left mode to the lower-right mode on the TKI conflict model. The common feature with these three modes is their zero-sum, win/lose nature: The more you get, the less I get (and vice versa), since the size of the pie is fixed. Essentially, we slide up and down the seesaw on the distributive dimension, deciding how to distribute the available pieces of that fixed pie....

Even if you choose to avoid for the right reasons, does it make a difference what you actually say to people just before you withdraw from the situation? One person might avoid a conflict by expressing himself this way: “I’ve had enough of this nonsense! I’m not going to waste any more of my time. I’m out of here.” Another person may take this approach: “I’ve just realized that I need more time to think about this topic and to discuss these issues with my colleagues. It’s starting to overwhelm me.  Let’s set up another meeting for next week. By...

There are two kinds of “avoiding” to keep in mind: good avoiding and bad avoiding. Good avoiding is when you purposely leave a conflict situation in order to collect more information, wait for tempers to calm down, or because you’ve concluded that what you first thought was a vital issue isn’t that important after all. Bad avoiding, however, is when the topic is very important to both persons (and to the organization), but you aren’t comfortable with confronting other people: Instead, you’re inclined to sacrifice your needs for others—which undermines your self-esteem and leaves you perpetually dissatisfied. ...

by Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

In my work and in my published workbooks, I refer to the “three-day washout effect:” Three days after the workshop (regardless of the topic), it's as if the workshop never took place, since it's back to business as usual. In most cases, even with the best of intentions, people so easily fall back on their old (conditioned) habits, which are usually supported by a dysfunctional culture and a silent (or politicized) reward system....

by Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

That question comes up from time to time, especially during group training and classroom discussions. Here is my response (which may or may not surprise you):

Technically speaking, the TKI cannot answer this question, even though people often try to extract inferences from various statistical tables (incorrectly). The fact is that the TKI does not measure absolute frequencies that can then be summed or averaged in any meaningful way across individuals. ...

by Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

During the past few years, I’ve posted several discussions on self-awareness, mindfulness, consciousness, subtle energy, and mind/body/spirit modalities. For this blog, I’d like to share with you how I use the TKI Conflict Model to help people resolve their four foundational—inner—conflicts, which directly pertain to such timeless subjects. ...

by Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

In previous blogs, I've examined such inner reflections as who determines your self-worth (you or others) and how you resolve the conflict between your ego and your soul. Using one or more of the five conflict modes, each of us develops some answers to these questions—or we avoid the topic altogether and thus let the “answers” be driven by our conditioned habits and unconscious cultural expectations....

by Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

Recently, I’ve been having more discussions on the core topic of self-worth: Am I a good or bad person? Am I valuable? Am I loveable? Do I deserve to be happy? And, most importantly, who chooses the answers to these profound questions: You or other people?...