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Dean Tjosvold, Alfred Wong, Nancy Yifeng Chen and Wendong Li

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Dean Tjosvold, Alfred Wong and Nancy Yi-Feng Chen

The theory of cooperation and competition, supported by considerable research, proposes that protagonists have the choice to manage conflict cooperatively or competitively and this choice very much affects conflict’s dynamics and outcomes. Emphasizing cooperative goals in conflict by demonstrating a commitment to pursue mutual beneficial solutions promotes high-quality resolutions and relationships. Leaders have been found to be effective by helping teams manage their conflicts cooperatively. Studies show that the cooperative and competitive framework applies in non-Western settings and that Chinese values can be applied in ways that promote cooperative conflict management. Individuals, teams and organizations are facing increasing pressure to collaborate with each other by relying on each other’s resources, resulting in increasingly complex conflicts that can spread across organizational and national boundaries. Teammates and other partners can use cooperative conflict-management knowledge to develop a common platform so that they can discuss their conflicts open-mindedly and constructively. Training studies suggest that learning cooperative conflict management is a practical investment that can pay off both for employees and organizations.