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Conflict Resolution

High Conflict Personalities

Some people are attracted to or create conflict as if they had a 'need' for it.

In High Conflict Personalities: Understanding and Resolving Their Costly Disputes, William A. Eddy observes that: "Perhaps half of all legal cases which go to trial today involve one or more parties with a high conflict personality - driven more by internal distress than external events."

On the basis of involvement in over 1000 legal cases, Eddy notes the following patterns:

  • Personalities drive conflict - level and costs of conflict are not dependent on the value or type of issues involved
  • High Conflict Personalities have an enduring and life-long pattern in which they deny responsibility and blame others for events.
  • Personality Disorders - many people with high conflict personalities meet the criteria in the standard American diagnostic handbook (DSM-IV) for 'Cluster B Personality Disorders'.
  • Legal Action - people with high conflict personalities are more likely then the average to be involved in court action (as plaintiffs or defendants) over the conflicts in which they are involved.
  • Escalation - such cases appear to be generally mishandled or misunderstood, leading to escalating financial and emotional costs

Articles about Conflict at Work on HRM Guide

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