The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) assesses an individual’s behavior in conflict situations—that is, situations in which the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible. In conflict situations, we can describe a person’s behavior along two basic dimensions*: (1) assertiveness, the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns, and (2) cooperativeness, the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy the other person’s concerns. These two dimensions of behavior can be used to define five methods of dealing with conflict that are shown below:

tki modes

Individual TKI Profiles

The profile of TKI scores shown below indicates the repertoire of conflict-handling modes a sample person uses in the kinds of conflicts he/she faces.The scores are arranged in descending order by percentile, with the highest score indicating the most frequently used conflict mode.

  • The TKI has been the worldwide leader in assessing conflict-handling behavior for almost forty years. More than 7,000,000 copies of the TKI have been purchased since 1974. When you take the TKI, therefore, you can be confident that you're using an assessment tool that has withstood the rugged test of time.
  • The TKI is a self-report assessment that allows you to discover whether you might be overusing (a high score) or underusing (a low score) one or more of these five conflict-handling modes: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating. 
  • To determine which of your TKI mode scores are high or low, your results are compared to a.U.S. research sample of 8,000 men and women who were drawn from a pool of 59,000 TKI respondents in order to mirror the demographic distribution of the U.S. population. A subsequent cross-cultural research sample of 6,000 men and women from 16 different countries revealed only minor variations from the U.S. norms. These rather surprising results demonstrate that the TKI is measuring an aspect of conflict-handling behavior that is fairly consistent across different countries and cultures.
  • One reason that TKI results have such cross-cultural consistency is because the assessment was purposely designed to minimize the "social desirability response bias" (which is the natural tendency for people in all societies to respond to test items in order to look good to themselves or to others). Consequently, TKI results provide an accurate picture—across the globe—of how people actually behave in conflict situations. 
  • The online version of the TKI assessment only takes 15 minutes to complete.


The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Tool (TKI) is a trademark of Kilmann Diagnostics. Graphics, text descriptions, and specific models are ©copyright of Kilmann Diagnostics and are used here with permission.