4 R's Method of Conflict

by Art Daniel
Conflict among team members needs to be resolved. The 4 R's method may help.

Conflict among team members needs to be resolved. The 4 R's method may help.

Face to face image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com

Conflict and disagreement within members of an organizational team may arise due to work pressures, stringent deadlines, incompatible values and expectations, personality clashes and miscommunication, among other reasons. Often organizations do not train employees to effectively manage conflicts or are themselves unaware of the strategies to do so. Dr. Isa Engleberg of Prince George’s Community College in Maryland has proposed the 4 R's method for conflict management. The 4 R's are reasons, reactions, results and resolution.



Explore the reasons and causes for the conflict. While doing so, each team member should be open and yet respectful of each other.



Encourage team members to examine their reactions to the conflict to identify destructive reactions that they should correct and constructive reactions that they should foster. This will help team members recommit to the success of the team.



Identify what might happen if the conflict is unresolved and how team members can constructively work together to resolve it so the team can move on.



Have the team decide upon the approach that will most effectively resolve the conflict, given that the team members have been unable to do so.


Practice effective management with the 4 R's, and other methods as well, so a conflict can be viewed as positive and productive instead of negative and hostile. Leaving conflicts unresolved can hinder a team’s progress and hurt the organization.

References (1)

  • "Working in Groups: Communication Principles and Strategies"; Isa N. Engleberg, Dianna R. Wynn; 2003

About the Author

Art Daniel has been writing business and technology related articles since 1996. His articles have appeared in publications such as the West Michigan Business Review and Advanced Management Journal, among others. He holds a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Purdue University. Daniel is passionate about learning and has traveled extensively around the world.

Photo Credits

  • Face to face image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com
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