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Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

Conflict Management for Leaders

Conflict can negatively affect productivity, decision making and retention. By resolving conflicts more effectively, you can strengthen your organisation and improve results. By making conflict management a core competency, you can create a satisfying and productive work environment throughout your enterprise.


What is the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument?

Successfully used by businesses, educators and organisational development professionals for 40 years, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI ®) is the world’s best-selling instrument for understanding how different conflict-handling styles affect interpersonal and group dynamics and for giving individuals the power to choose the appropriate style for any situation.

Please take a moment to view the following video on the five conflict-handling styles.


    • The TKI ® has been valuable in supporting our facilitators and participants to engage in meaningful discussion about differences when it comes to understanding and responding to conflict. Our Conflict Resolution program is more robust as a result of utilising TKI ®.

      Tania Horozides, General Manager, The Maura Fay Group


How can you use the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument?

Your organisation can use the TKI ® as the foundation for conflict literacy - for developing a common language that helps people think and communicate clearly about conflict and how to manage it through the opportunities provided for accepting differing viewpoints, enhancing communication and improving productivity, team cohesion and retention.

The TKI ® assesses an individual’s behaviour in conflict situations and describes it along two dimensions: assertiveness and cooperativeness. The instrument provides detailed information about how that individual can use the five different modes, or styles - competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and accommodating - effectively. The TKI ® model demonstrates that these different behaviours are neither good nor bad but simply different ways of dealing with conflict. This research-backed instrument offers a practical way to initiate safe and calm, yet purposeful dialogue, to resolve or manage conflict.

In 2014, the TKI ® celebrated its 40th Anniversary . Please click here to find out more.


Explore the Model

Below you can explore the 5 conflict-handling styles of the TKI ®.



Explore the TKI Model

Hover over the graphics below that explain the five conflict-handling styles.




Certification in the TKI ® Instrument

The TKI ® instrument is an unrestricted instrument and requires no special training to administer it and access the reports.


Key Benefits

  • Offers five practical, situation-specific styles for dealing with conflict effectively
  • Demonstrates how and when to use each conflict-handling style
  • Improves organisational productivity by helping people gain insight into their own and others’ behaviour - which, in turn, helps them make better choices about outcomes
  • Helps trainers, managers and other professionals open one-on-one or group discussions around conflict
  • Reflects today’s gender, racial, ethnic, age and job-level diversity in the workplace, based on an updated normative sample
  • The TKI ® is unrestricted and requires no special training to administer or interpret


Instrument Features

  • Includes just 30 items, so it is easy to administer and understand
  • Is available both online and in self-scorable, pencil-and-paper format
  • Identifies the five conflict-handling modes
  • Provides personalised presentation and analysis of an individual’s TKI scores via the TKI Profile and Interpretative Report



  • Conflict Management
  • Team Development
  • Leadership Development
  • Performance Improvement
  • Change management
  • Communication
  • Talent Retention
  • Stress Reduction


Other Resources

Relationships & Conflict eBook

The Relationships & Conflict eBook deep dives into the essentials of personal and professional relationships and conflict management. It illustrates how tools such as the MBTI ®, FIRO ® and TKI ® instruments can help us better understand and improve those relationships between colleagues, friends, managers and employees and families.

Please click here to download the eBook.


The TKI Tool eBook

The TKI ® Tool: More Than Conflict Management eBook demonstrates the TKI ® can be used for so much more than resolving conflict. For example, this powerful tool helps organisations address challenges such as:

  • Improving communication
  • Boosting influence and persuasion capabilities
  • Increasing engagement
  • Retaining employees
  • Reducing overall costs of increasing team efficiency

The TKI ® Tool ebook contains many examples of how organisations today are making use of the TKI ® tool to improve performance. We hope that you find it a valuable resource.

Please click here to download the eBook.


Please note that translations are available for selected TKI ® products in the following languages:

Chinese - Simplified, Chinese - Traditional, Danish, Dutch (Netherlands), French, French (Canadian), Portuguese, Portuguese - Brazilian, Spanish (options available), Swedish

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