An Introduction to The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument™ (TKI™ Assessment)

In Blogs, Resources, Team Culture, TKI by Geeta Aneja

Successful Conflict Management

We all have different behavioral tendencies and there are bound to be times when our individualities may clash. This conflict does not have to be considered in a negative light and can be used as a means for organizational improvement and personal development. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument™ was designed to identify one’s preferred conflict resolution style and to introduce individuals to alternate methods of handling conflict for use in a multitude of scenarios. This tool allows you to consider how your preferred means of dealing with encounters of disagreement may not always be appropriate for the situation at hand. In order to fully understand when to use each style of conflict resolution, you must gain the awareness of your behavioral preferences. This assessment categorizes five methods of conflict management, classified as how assertive or cooperative you may be, displayed as combination “modes”. Each mode can be valuable if appropriately utilized in the proper circumstance.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument Profile and Interpretive Report

The TKI™ is a powerful tool for reviewing your preference of the five modes of conflict management.

Conflict Handling Modes of the TKI™

The five TKI™ conflict management modes are described as Competing, Collaborating, Compromising, Avoiding, and Accommodating. Understanding and using each mode can improve team settings, build effective communication between two or more individuals, increase efficiency in the workplace, create a positive company culture, and develop established relationships. Misusing or overusing one mode can be detrimental to the outcome of a conflict. There are known benefits and costs to using each mode of conflict resolution and having the ability to maximize on benefits for all parties involved can sometimes be a process that requires cautious perception of the circumstances.

  • Competing – declaring your stance as authoritative
  • Collaborating – spending extra time and care to find a win-win outcome
  • Compromising – giving in a little to another’s wants or needs as long as some of your wants and needs are filled as well
  • Avoiding – tabling the conflict for a later time or possibly altogether
  • Accommodating – giving the conflicting party their preferences over yours

(Thomas, 2002, CPP Inc.)

How Can The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument™ (TKI) Profile & Interpretive Report Help You?

Reading your report is quite simple. After explaining terms relating to each mode, this report displays both your raw score (how many times you choose a statement correlating to each mode) and your percentile score (based on a sample of employed adults who have already taken the TKI). This assessment has been developed for validity and reliability for over 60 years. (Thomas, 2002, CPP Inc.) Following a graph depicting these scores, the report explains each mode‘s proper method for use and introduces interactive questions to ask yourself to determine if you may be using the mode properly. Your conflict resolution mode with the highest percentile score will also include information for how others who assess similarly to you regularly behave and how their actions often enrich their situations, so as to learn and grow from other’s behaviors.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument Profile and Interpretive Report

The TKI™ is a powerful tool for reviewing your preference of the five modes of conflict management.

This tool can be used in a wide variety of scenarios including those for:

  • Team Building
  • Negotiations
  • Management Training
  • Family Counseling
  • Behavior Modification
  • Mediation
  • Personal Development

One of the great benefits of the TKI™ is the knowledge you can gain for handling customer complaints. Most often when customers have a conflict with a business, or a particular person within a business, they will want their dissatisfaction heard and handled with care. Understanding each situation to warrant a particular style of resolution can help you prepare for a multitude of circumstances. Also, understanding your customer’s often opposite conflict management style will help you to find a resolution with a low impact to the company’s overall bottom line.


Introduction to Conflict Management (Kenneth W. Thomas, 2002, CPP Inc.)