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Conflict management - essential to organizational performance

Organizations are made up of employees who differ in personal characteristics and experience. To be effective as an organization, those members must reach agreements on goals, make good decisions about how to achieve those goals, and help each other accomplish their activities – despite their differences. Being able to reconcile differences and to handle conflict constructively is a key determinant of organizational performance.

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI®) is the leading measure of conflict-handling modes. One of the reasons for the Thomas-Kilmann’s popularity is that it shows how each conflict mode can be useful for dealing with conflict in certain situations. The TKI® allows people to appreciate the value of their own conflict styles and also learn the value of other styles as well. Using the Thomas-Kilmann assessment allows people to focus and build on their strengths.

The TKI® has proven to be extremely helpful in team building

The Thomans-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is widely used for helping both new and established teams at all organizational levels – from front line staff to senior management teams. It is also used across a wide variety of private and public sector organizations.

Using the TKI® assessment with new teams helps members get acquainted with each other’s conflict styles, identify potential challenges, and set goals for how they should handle conflict as a group.

With established teams, the Thomas-Kilmann helps team members make sense of the different conflict behaviors that have been occurring within the team, identify the team’s challenges in managing conflict, and find constructive ways to handle those challenges.

What are the Conflict-Handling Modes assessed by the TKI® tool?

The Thomas-Kilmann describes five different conflict modes and places them on two dimensions:

  • Assertiveness – the degree to which a person tries to satisfy their own concerns
  • Cooperativeness – the degree to which a person tries to satisfy other people’s concerns.

The FIVE Modes:


Assertive and uncooperative

You try to satisfy your own concerns at your teammate’s expense.


Assertive and cooperative

You try to find a win-win solution that completely satisfies both your concerns and your teammate’s concerns.


Intermediate in both assertiveness and cooperativeness

You try to find an acceptable settlement that only partially satisfies your concerns and those of your teammate.


Unassertive and uncooperative

You sidestep the conflict without trying to satisfy your concerns or those of your teammate.


Unassertive and cooperative

You attempt to satisfy your teammate’s concerns at the expense of your own.

Why do so many organizations use the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument?

The tki®:

  • Is easy to complete, the short 30 item questionnaire takes only a few minutes and can be administered online before your workshop or in paper booklet onsite
  • Delivers a pragmatic, situational approach to conflict resolution, change management, leadership development, communication, employee retention, and more
  • Enables your organization to open productive dialogue about conflict
  • Can be used as a stand-alone tool by individuals, in a group learning process, as part of a structured training program workshop
  • Has an available Facilitator’s Guide that will ensure your workshop is a success with three different workshop formats including: group activities, presentation ideas PowerPoint slides.

Get Started with the TKI

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument® is a level A instrument, which means there are no restrictions to access and administer this assessment. Individuals administrating the assessment do not require to be a trained and certified practitioner or hold a degree in psychology or a related discipline.

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument® is available to level A qualified Canadians only. 

The TKI® assessment is available in the languages of French and English and contains 30 items that approximately will take 15 minutes to complete. Scoring can be completed on CareerID (online) or self-scorable (paper/pencil).




TKI Assessment Reports

TKI® Online Interpretive Report


TKI® Self-Scorable

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Shop Practitioner Resources

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Results with TKI


Earls stays competitive by using the TKI® tool in its leadership development program.

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Kwantlen Polytechnic University

University works with industry reps to develop a unique program to get HR students CPHR ready.

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